As a sign of difficult times brought about by the financial crisis, stores in America like K Mart, Marshalls, T J Maxx etc. are going back to the payment practice of layaway, a departure from the convenient credit card that modern-day Americans are used to. Lending institutions are tightening their borrower’s rules and store customers may use layaway to buy their favorite gifts for this coming Christmas.
“Layaway plans aren’t free — most stores charge a fee for setting aside the merchandise, and ask for a down payment. Kmart requires customers to pay a $5 service fee and a $10 cancellation fee upfront, or put down 10% of the item’s cost, whichever is greater. Customers must make biweekly payments over eight weeks to pay the balance. In case of default, the item goes back into stock and the customer receives a refund, minus the $15.” Wall Street; Yahoo Finance (10/22/08, Bustillo, M.)
Layaway was popular in the Great Depression when credit crunch drove Americans to pay installments for merchandise to buy. It is again an option now that affordability and money have suddenly become scarce. Certainly, USA isn’t as different as different as Philippines when economic bad times strike. (Photo Credits: Crocidillicus.com; USCredit)=0=