The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Drive-Thru Experience A Dark Tale Of Holiday Spending

On December 27th, 2011, posted in: Uncategorized by

Ho, Ho, Holy Cow!  What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on out there?  Has shopping become some sort of extreme sport?  Folks running over one another for a pair of retro Nike Jordans is crazy.  The madness must stop!

Madness is also defined as trying to buy White Castle “sliders” in the drive-thru with at least three different credit cards (all of which were denied).  What the heck!  Slow down, folks.  If you can’t find one piece of plastic in your entire repertoire of credit cards that can ring the register for a bag of “belly bombers,” you may have spent too much this holiday season.  December got you all riled up again, but January is right around the corner and the “holly-jolly” Christmas spirit will turn into the Grinch who stole Christmas come payment time in about 30 days.

Here’s the scoop.  I decided to have a few White Castle burgers one mid-afternoon just to hold me over until dinner.  It was a couple of days before Christmas and I had visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, but decided on something a little more toxic.  Two is my max.  Age works in an inverse relationship against consumption of the world famous “sliders.”  The older one gets, the fewer number of burgers one can tolerate.

I was second in line at the drive-thru as my order was placed.  Truly, this should have been a three-minute stop.  Unfortunately, the woman in front of me had a different idea. With a backseat full of packages and an appetite far from full, the mysterious woman in the lead car attempted to pay…again…and again…and one final time.  After 12 minutes of attempts to pay for said bag o’ burgers (yes, 12 minutes – I timed it), she pulled away hungry and, by my best guess, flat broke.

What happened wasn’t as big an issue for me as what was likely to happen come January and February.  Not being able to satisfy the hunger pains of that afternoon was the least of her problems.  She obviously was cashless, or driving off wouldn’t have been necessary.  And, because three credit cards were denied, we can pretty much guess what’s coming in a month or so – bills, bills, bills, and more bills.

Here’s the killer.  If all three cards are in the “max mode,” then minimum payments are probably in order.  That’s barely enough to dent the principal.  She’ll still owe for this Christmas three Christmases from now.

I’m a little late, but I thought the economic signs of our time would have slowed some of this hyper-spending.  More savings and less spending will make for healthier finances year round.  Well, apparently some folks can’t stop themselves.  In the case of the woman referred to in this blog, the damage is done.  Now what?  Don’t spend more than you have – especially in front of me in the drive-thru at White Castle.

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