What Did You Buy?

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December 11, 2014 by Jim C.

My question to you is: Do you own your “stuff” or does your “stuff” own you? Thanksgiving Day is over, as is Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and Christmas is on the not too distant horizon. TV ads for great deals on TV’s and almost everything else we Americans must have are bombarding us to hurry up and make a purchase. If the TV ads aren’t selling us more stuff they are selling us drugs that will fix all of our health related problems, which we can ignore as those drugs will give us relief so long as we keep taking them. So, get in your car and go buy a new car. Now is not the time to be analyzing whether you need this or that item when retailers are practically giving away their merchandise for such low prices. Bust that door down and get that door buster deal you are being told you can’t live without. If you have second thoughts about this “consumerism” maybe you should look for a drug to squelch those nasty thoughts.

Mostly, the “stuff” being hawked by retailers isn’t “stuff” that is important to our wellbeing, like food and shelter. Of course, you don’t see door busters for necessary items, like fresh fruit and vegetables or toilet paper. Would such “door buster” deals create the same buying frenzy on Black Friday as big screen TV’s? Would you stand in line to be the first to purchase a 5lb bag of grapefruit or any other fruit/veggie that may woo you into a spending frenzy while in the food store? Would a 12 roll of 4 ply at a ridiculously low price move you to head for the store? Maybe it would need to be made 8 ply to get your attention and provoke action. Doubtful, right?

Advertising is a powerful thing. They will sell you on screen size, megapixels, curved screen, flat screen, plasma, LED, LCD, etc. etc. Even I start thinking I really need that shiny new TV that’s 12 inches larger than the TV I have. It probably has more bells and whistles than my current TV, which of course I have no idea what bells and whistles I have currently. How many megapixels do I really need to watch Scandal, Revenge, and How To Get Away with Murder? Will I comprehend more or enjoy programs better on a curved or flat screen? I’m thinking curved since that is what I don’t have. My feeling is that if you didn’t need this stuff 60-90 days ago you probably don’t need it today, regardless of what the advertiser says. How can I as an American have such un-American thoughts? What would happen if we Americans took the time to think through our purchases instead of heading out to get that deal at midnight before we come to our senses and see we didn’t need it, nor could we afford it?
As is reported daily between Thanksgiving and New Years by media outlets, how little we are spending to keep our economy afloat. I think Black Friday was down 10% from a year ago, Ouch… If you and I don’t spend it before we earn it, we may not be able to earn it to spend! Think about it, jobs rely on purchases as those dollars fund the jobs. The classic “which came first, the chicken or the egg” theory, or here “which comes first, the purchase or the job”? This is a no-brainer, you need a job to have money to make the purchase, right? Not so fast with that answer kemosabe! No, you don’t need a job, you just need credit! Credit is as American as Apple Pie! Advertisers know money isn’t what is stopping anyone from making a purchase today…it’s the desire to have more “stuff.”

As Americans we are slaves to our “stuff.” Proof positive of this is the advent of Storage Units, and of course the TV program called “Storage Wars.” You will need that Big screen TV to watch it! When Storage Wars is over you can tune in and watch “Hoarders.” Again, you need that TV kemosabe! Without that big screen you won’t be able to find out what drugs you should be taking, what happens to your “stuff” in a storage unit when you can’t pay for it, or how the world sees you when you have too much “stuff” and don’t see it as a problem and keep adding without subtracting from your stuff.

You’re a slave if you have purchased your stuff on credit and now you must pay. Retailers don’t care what you owe and how long you will be in debt. If it’s a big ticket item the talk is about how low the payment will be each month, not how long you will have to make that low payment. The smart consumer will see that credit has a cost to it, so that door buster deal, if purchased on credit and paid over time will most likely not be a deal, but a bust. It is hard to resist advertising though…even the ones for bankruptcy. Talk about a Black Friday! Why not get relief now from your creditors who want to be paid? It’s not your fault! What’s more American than wiping the slate clean and starting over? Everyone deserves a second chance, right? Of course, you will not realize this unless you have a big screen TV from which this information is disseminated. Hi Ho Silver & Happy Holidays!

Jim Cox is vice president and co-owner of United Credit Service, Inc.

Founded in 1950, United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service, licensed revenue cycle management and debt collection agency in Wisconsin providing highly effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. We offer pre-service collection solutions as well as traditional back-end collections. Visit our website at http://www.unitedcreditservice.com or call 877-723-2902.

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