Hooray for Layaway

According to this MSNBC report, layaway is making a comeback. KMart was the only major retailer that never stopped offering layaway but now several other retailers are joining (or re-joining) KMart in offering customers a layaway program. Stores like TJ Maxx Corp., Goody’s Family Clothing Inc., Marshalls Inc. and Burlington Coat Factory Direct Corp are advertising layaway for holiday shopping.

I grew up in typical 1970’s middle class family – four kids, mom stayed home, dad worked a blue collar job with decent pay and benefits. My mom and my aunts often used layaway programs, especially just before Christmas. I remember standing with my mom in long lines for the layaway desk to make the weekly payment – but never the last payment, the one when you get to take the stuff home. Layaway was also a great way to hide Christmas gifts from the kids in a place they couldn’t possibly “accidentally” find them.

As a young adult working my first full-time job, I used layaway several times to get good deals on higher ticket items I couldn’t otherwise afford. I was sad to see so many stores stop their layaway programs in recent years. And even though I haven’t used layaway in a long time, it always made me happy in a nostalgic sort of way to see that KMart kept their program going.

Layaway was (and is) a great way to get the items you want when they are on sale even if you don’t have all the money to buy them on the day of the sale – without paying high credit card interest rates. It’s also a good option for anyone who has difficulty saving money until they have enough to buy a particular item. Once you’ve started making layaway payments you’re much more likely to keep making those payments to the end because if you stop you not only lose the things you put on layaway, you also forfeit most (if not all) of the money you paid to that point.

So hooray for layaway! I hope this is a growing trend and we start to see more and more stores with layaway programs again. As a nation we need to re-learn fiscal responsibility. Layaway is one small step in that direction.

Explore posts in the same categories: Economy, Other News

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