Fool of Credit Card Finance – Reader Report

April 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Fools of Finance

credit_foolI just have to pass on this “fools of finance” anecdote sent to me by observant reader Clifton:

I  saw something yesterday that you might find interesting.  My wife and I had taken a short mini vacation to visit some old friends in Las Vegas.  We went to a Wal-Mart there to buy some snacks and ice for a road trip, and wound up waiting in the checkout line behind a very interesting lady.  She was probably in her mid forties, and did not speak English very well.  She was purchasing about $90 worth of assorted household goods, including makeup, some shoes, shampoo and lotions.  What was interesting was how she paid for them.  She produced a total of 7 credit cards, of which 3 were apparently maxed out and cut off.  After many attempts by the checker to put amounts on each card, she finally managed to put the purchase on 4 of the cards.  What I wonder is how anyone would loan this woman a nickel, let alone $90.  I bet she couldn’t get a loan from a family member, but apparently there are 4 banks out there willing to loan her money.  Sad but true.

This “fact is stranger than fiction” report reminds me of the hotel check-in scene in the movie “Best in Show.”  (Hilarious movie BTW) The hotel had declined all of the credit cards that the couple checking-in tried to use. The wife insisted that she had a “good” credit card to present because her payment on that card was only one month overdue. How about that as the new test of credit-worthiness? Maybe the woman at Walmart is proud that, out of seven cards in her purse,  a majority still had some spending capacity available.

The woman in Clifton’s report and the foolish companies that issued her credit cards deserve each other. On the other hand, don’t you wish that the check-out person at Walmart had said something sensible, such as “Are you sure you need to be purchasing shoes and make-up right now?” Or, “May I take some of these cards to the shredder for you?”

Keep these stories coming, dear readers. We can all learn from the tragic yet humorous mistakes of others.

Image credit: The Truth About

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6 Responses to “Fool of Credit Card Finance – Reader Report”
  1. Gail says:

    I wonder what this woman’s reaction would be if she was forced to watch a video of this sad scene…would she be proud of herself for successfully pulling off the purchase? Ashamed? Humiliated? Would she have an epiphany and make a vow to clean up her finances? Hopefully the latter…but sadly, I suspect for someone like this it’s just a normal way of life and no big deal!

  2. It’s clear this woman didn’t know anything about credit cards – they’re not at all like checks in your checkbook – just because you still have cards in your wallet, that doesn’t mean you still have plenty of money to spend :-)

  3. kitty says:

    “She was probably in her mid forties, and did not speak English very well. ”
    Wow, and I’ve always thought we first generation immigrants are better with money… I guess there are stupid people everywhere.

    I read somewhere that credit card interest is the tax on stupidity. Except both her and the company that gave her credit do indeed deserve each other as TML correctly said. The interest though may be high enough that by the time she defaults she has paid enough. Depends on the rate and how quickly she defaults.

    “It’s clear this woman didn’t know anything about credit cards”
    Is it lack of knowledge of credit cards though or the failure to learn that if you borrow money you always have to pay it back? I cannot understand how anyone who learned this simple rule in childhood (that has nothing to do with financial education, only moral one) would not be able to understand the difference between credit and spending money.

  4. kitty says:

    Just remembered one other story. A cousin of mine when she just came to the US from the Soviet Union worked at a pharmacy for a period of time. She told about one customer who gave her card that didn’t go through. My cousin told this lady that she cannot put her expense on this card, and the woman got very angry, started shouting, got almost aggressive. My cousin thought it was a stolen card, but now I am wondering if it could have been just maxed out.

  5. katy says:

    LOL! I laugh at myself, too, because I was irresponsible in college. I felt like somebody when I got a new credit card – I told my first husband ‘let’s break it in’! And special when Citi told me they were raising my credit limit at Christmas for being a good customer – yup, at 19.8% interest.

    Today is very tough, but honest. Solvency is priceless. My profligate neighbors can be my reminders.

  6. MasterPo says:

    I think the 4 sentence of that story says much more than you think (i.e. “did not speak English very well”.

    The reality of our times is that if she were denied a credit card she could probably sue the issuer for millions$$ based on discrimination.


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