Saturday, December 22, 2007

Are We in Debt Yet?

With four shopping days left before “Holiday” I toddled off to the malls yesterday to do my Merchants Day shopping. I had read that sales were down but business seemed pretty brisk judging from all the plastic I saw being tendered.

No money, just credit cards. No kidding. No one was buying anything with folding green, with money they had now; they were all contracting to pay with money they hoped to have sometime in the indefinite future.

When I was a kid (and don’t you hate it when some old guy, some really old guy, says that?) there were no credit cards. That’s right, Virginia, Santa was on a strictly cash and carry basis.

Instead of credit cards every bank had a “Christmas Club.” Folks made regular deposits during the year into modest little interest-bearing savings accounts. Then at Christmas they had money to buy stuff with.

Well, that was during the depression. We’re all better off now, which is why we’re all in debt.

Merry Merchants Day to my fellow bloggers!


Liza said...

What you don't know, Art, is how many of those shoppers pay off their credit cards every month. People do not carry much cash or write checks anymore. Can you imagine walking around with hundreds of dollars in your wallet?

Dustin said...

maybe they were using debit cards, I know that's how I use money these days.

Liza said...

Yeah, that's true too.

And certain stores won't allow you to have some of the discounts unless you use the store's credit card.

Art Jacobson said...

Dustin and Liza...

Yes I know that there are folks who pay off their cards every month and who use debit cards. I know that Katherine and I do. But judging from the simply enormous amount of credit card debt I imagine that we are all in the minority.

The fact is that we are not a nation of savers any more (our saving rates are in negative numbers) and that we have become a nation of people who cannot delay or postpone gratification.