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Once upon a time before the credit was king layaway ruled the buying world. Stores would agree to let you purchase an item for sale and they would hold that purchase to the side in a stockroom. Sometimes there was a small charge for holding that item due to the cost of “laying” or inventorying the item “away” in layaway storage space. Some stores even offer(ed) layaway for free as a courtesy. The great thing is a person did not have to pay the total cost of the item up front, could take advantage of a sale price, and while making regularly scheduled payments until the item was paid for in full. At that time they would then be allowed to take their purchase home.
Unfortunately, layaway seemed to go the way of the Dodo Bird when on September 14, 2006, the giant discount store Wal-Mart publicized that they were going to do away with their layaway program. They cited rising costs and low public demand as the reasons for layaway’s’ demise. What many people don’t realize is that at one time it was the modern-day equivalent to purchasing something with a credit card, the difference being no astronomical interest fees and we couldn’t take it home because we didn’t own it until it was paid for.
The financial crisis of 2008 put things back into perspective for many people. From the early 1980s and before many people didn’t even own a credit card. The ones that did however unlike in 2008 didn’t do credit limits of 10,000 or even more, they were oftentimes only a couple hundred dollars. Credit card companies’ were stingy with loans and required some real credit establishment. Layaway purchases were designed to help people get their wants and needs without getting themselves into hock up to their rooftops literally like during the recent housing bubble instead of allowing them to buy as they could afford too instead of borrowing.
Tight credit lending, reduced consumer spending, and the economic recession has some big brick and mortar retailers and Internet retailers offering layaway once again. It is said to be popular at Kmart stores and some Best Buy stores are even now offering layaway once again, while small family-owned stores like STL Beds has been offering it to their customers since they opened in 1986. It is a very smart solution and is a great alternative to purchasing on credit helping people to be more fiscally responsible. Law change prompts new tactics in credit
Furniture Today magazine says furniture retailers are trying layaway, rent-to-own and various other payment options to encourage businesses.
What do you think about Layaways Making a Comeback?