In a related note to yesterday's post, I'd like to use this forum to rant my nads off about the new Visa ads urging people to buybuybuy with their swipe cards rather than cash. The premise: A retail space hums along like a Swiss watch, cashiers and consumers engaged in a synchronous ballet of commerce. Rhythmic music plays as happy, groovy shoppers sashay up to the counter, swipe their cards, and boogie off triumphantly. Sashay-swipe-boogie, sashay-swipe-boogie. Then the arrhythmic square reaches into his wallet, daring to pay for something with money he has, and the whole scene grinds to a halt. Not only is it irresponsible, apparently, to spend within your means, it's downright irritating to everyone else in the world, who couldn't care less about mundane stuff like predatory lending and 29% APR.
Even if it's just a check card, or a debit card, or some other "tap-n-go" swipething that draws from existing funds, the point is to desensitize us from spending our money, to make the process so effortless as to make us barely aware that it even happened. Just spend, baby, and pay it off in time. And in the meantime we'll keep inundating you with preapprovals that you better shred already, because we don't care who sends 'em back--even if you tear them to pieces.
So, there it is. Credit cards are a sore spot with me, because our culture keeps convincing itself to buy crap it doesn't need with money it doesn't have. And each time I see one of those reprehensible Visa ads, I keep hoping the poor slob who pays with specie pops the scornful cashier in the face with a roll of quarters.