|The Back Forty
By Roger Pond
I guess Iíll never understand credit card companies. How can they continue issuing credit and encouraging folks to buy things they canít afford, without running into serious collection problems?
Yesterday I had two credit card offers over the phone and one in the mail - and that was a slow day. In recent weeks Iíve been offered gold, platinum, silver-plated, cadmium-coated and lead-alloy cards with affiliation to everybody under the sun.
Most of them want to lower my interest rate - even though I donít pay any interest. They seem to forget: If we pay our bills on time, we donít have any interest.
I give them all the same answer, ďWeíve got plenty of cards. Clank!Ē
Itís easy to see why card companies want to extend credit to people like me. Weíre valued customers, members of a select group, persons of impeccable taste. (Besides that weíre alive and breathing.)
Iím not sure when the concept of living within oneís means became outmoded, but I think television advertising has something to do with it. I get a kick out of those commercials that suggest, ďYou need to buy this - not because you need it, not because you can afford it: You need to buy this because you deserve it.Ē
Maybe I have a low opinion of myself, but I donít think Iíve ever bought anything because I deserve it.
Last weekend I watched a commercial for a company that offers money to folks who didnít pay it back last time. This commercial features a former football player who has so much money I canít understand why he does these things.
The football player comes on the screen and asks folks with credit problems to call this company and find out how to buy things they canít afford. He suggests a new car is something they might need, but canít pay for.
ďJust call us and find out how you can buy the car you need and deserve,Ē he says.
I was reminded of a story my brother told me a few years ago. My brother Kenny was sitting in the coffee shop chatting with an old-timer who lives nearby - when a younger man stopped by their table.
The young man told them about his job and his boss and quite a few things that werenít going well at work.
ďFirst they changed my hours, then I got a new boss, and now Iíve got more responsibility, but I donít get paid any more than I did before,Ē he said.
The young fellow described changes in the benefits package his company was offering the newer employees and all of the problems he was having with that. This man gave everyone within hearing the distinct impression he wasnít getting what he deserved.
When the young fellow walked away, the old-timer turned to my brother and said, ďYou know, I think Iíve spent most of my life trying to avoid getting what I deserve.Ē
This farm news was published in the Nov. 8, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.