Author Topic: Rent a couch?  (Read 6362 times)

Timmmy

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Rent a couch?
« on: October 17, 2014, 08:01:42 AM »
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/in-america-why-the-poor-pay-dollar4158-for-a-dollar1500-%E2%80%98rent-to-own%E2%80%99-sofa/ar-BB9w32K

I don't know what I feel about this.  I kind of feel sad that there are people out there struggling like this but most of this is their doing. 

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2014, 08:31:19 AM »
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/in-america-why-the-poor-pay-dollar4158-for-a-dollar1500-%E2%80%98rent-to-own%E2%80%99-sofa/ar-BB9w32K

I don't know what I feel about this.  I kind of feel sad that there are people out there struggling like this but most of this is their doing.

It made me feel really sad too. I was thinking, they're paying $110/week to this place, if they could put off buying a new couch for a month they could actually get a good deal on one and pay cash (ours was $450 at Big Lots and is totally serviceable). And quitting smoking would be a huge help, as would Mom getting her GED (not sure what that entails). Honestly I feel like people just need some hand-holding on budgeting, cooking, etc. for like a year and then they might be okay... but as is these people are NEVER going to get out of poverty, which is really sad.

GuitarStv

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2014, 08:37:45 AM »
I'm super broke and couldn't afford a new couch.

Do I:
- Get a used couch for next to nothing off of craigslist?
- Just not have a couch in my house, because it's non-essential furniture and I have bigger problems than sitting on a couch?

Wait . . . why not pay three or four times what the new couch is worth!


I feel bad for these people, because they are making stupid decisions that make their scenario worse.  It makes me wonder if they would make the same decisions if the total purchase price was legally required to be listed next to the monthly payments.

slugline

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2014, 08:52:14 AM »
Ouch.

For a few months after getting a new place, I just sat on camping chairs in my living room. I didn't care that much.  When I finally did splurge on a couch, I probably spent about one-tenth of what this family will end up spending assuming they make all their rent-to-own payments.....


VirginiaBob

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2014, 08:55:31 AM »
This is big business around the military bases.  They prey on the 18 year old who just finished boot camp and got his recruitment bonus.  I see it so many times.  Lease a mustang, rent your furniture and obligatory 50 inch plus TV. 

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2014, 09:17:19 AM »
I feel bad for these people, because they are making stupid decisions that make their scenario worse.  It makes me wonder if they would make the same decisions if the total purchase price was legally required to be listed next to the monthly payments.

Yeah, I was thinking this too.

austin

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2014, 06:23:23 PM »
This is big business around the military bases.  They prey on the 18 year old who just finished boot camp and got his recruitment bonus.  I see it so many times.  Lease a mustang, rent your furniture and obligatory 50 inch plus TV.

And one of the biggest firms' vice president is a retired naval officer.

So many awful financial decisions in the military. They should mandate that 40% of 18-23yr olds' pay be set aside into a SDP like program, so these guys at least have something when they ETS besides a 17% note on their dented up Camaro.

BaldingStoic

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2014, 11:26:49 AM »
It's largely a problem of people's inability to delay gratification.  The businesses profit by exploiting this weakness, but at the same time, people need to be accountable for their own stupid decisions.  Government regulation should require prices & total costs to be clearly presented but I don't think it's the role of government interfere in the free-market.  However, I do sympathize...very easy to get sucked into a cycle of poverty if you don't live within your means. 



Sylly

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2014, 12:47:02 PM »
It's largely a problem of people's inability to delay gratification.  The businesses profit by exploiting this weakness, but at the same time, people need to be accountable for their own stupid decisions.

Agreed. For the family in the article, for example.. maybe they'd reconsider if the total cost is posted. But, at the same time.. even the 'pay now' price is already $1500. I can afford that without credit, and I still wouldn't buy a sofa/loveseat set for that much!

I do believe that the poor has persistent stress that affects their judgement. But it's still very hard for me to understand the kind of reasoning that leads to thinking $1500 furniture (when reasonable alternative could be had for much cheaper) is a good idea when you're living on the edge.

RFAAOATB

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2014, 01:04:58 PM »
So many awful financial decisions in the military. They should mandate that 40% of 18-23yr olds' pay be set aside into a SDP like program, so these guys at least have something when they ETS besides a 17% note on their dented up Camaro.

Wouldn't automatic max out level TSP deductions to the lifecycle fund be a better choice?  SDP maxes out at $10,000 and may not be sustainable for everyone at 10%.  Limiting it to 18-23 year age group is discriminatory, make it mandatory for everyone or for E-4 and below.

gimp

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2014, 01:20:06 PM »
I'm gonna buy a $300 couch. Who the fuck buys a $1500 couch when they're poor? Ignoring the whole rent-to-own thing, it's $1500 retail, that's ridiculous for a completely optional piece of furniture when you're poor.

kite

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2014, 08:40:33 AM »
Plenty of people think these businesses are evil,  but I don't think they are any worse than, say, Starbucks.  They charge a hefty premium to give their customers what they want. At least there is a couch to sit on.    There's no shortage of people who want to separate you from your cash and they'll try to get as much of it as they can.

whydavid

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2014, 01:24:31 PM »
Whatever happened to the MMM tv show that MMM mentioned in a blog post as a possibility?  Just imagine how awesome that article would be if it was actually the preamble to an episode full of face-punching goodness. 

Anyone else see something wrong with buying a couch (so you can sit and kill yourself) to sit on and smoke (read: kill yourself) while trying to relieve the stress (also killing you) caused by buying the stupid thing in the first place? (rhetorical question)  The grim news is that retirement won't be a problem, since disability payments or death will definitely kick in before it's time to tap a 401k anyways.

Anyways, I need to go wash up now.  I accidentally read a few comments on that article and now have that "victim" stink all over me.  Turns out these folks LITERALLY don't have any other choice. 

RFAAOATB

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2014, 03:37:07 PM »
Plenty of people think these businesses are evil,  but I don't think they are any worse than, say, Starbucks.  They charge a hefty premium to give their customers what they want. At least there is a couch to sit on.    There's no shortage of people who want to separate you from your cash and they'll try to get as much of it as they can.

The difference is once you leave Starbucks, they won't come after you.  You don't buy coffee on a exploitative payment plan.

Beaker

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2014, 04:05:04 PM »
Plenty of people think these businesses are evil,  but I don't think they are any worse than, say, Starbucks.  They charge a hefty premium to give their customers what they want. At least there is a couch to sit on.    There's no shortage of people who want to separate you from your cash and they'll try to get as much of it as they can.

The difference is once you leave Starbucks, they won't come after you.  You don't buy coffee on a exploitative payment plan.

Probably a good thing. I don't want to know how they'd repossess a grande-extra-whip-non-fat-pumpkin-spice latte after it's been consumed.

But if you really want that exploitative payment plan, you could always buy it on a credit card!

kite

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2014, 04:49:48 PM »
Plenty of people think these businesses are evil,  but I don't think they are any worse than, say, Starbucks.  They charge a hefty premium to give their customers what they want. At least there is a couch to sit on.    There's no shortage of people who want to separate you from your cash and they'll try to get as much of it as they can.

The difference is once you leave Starbucks, they won't come after you.  You don't buy coffee on a exploitative payment plan.
If you stop paying,  they take back the couch.  You no longer have your money, but had you overpaid for coffee last week, month, year... it's the same thing.   People who are paying the premium are perceiving a value for what they get, even though it isn't a thing that either holds value,  grows in value or can be later exchanged for something.     

Goldielocks

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2014, 12:27:47 AM »
Hmmm,

I did not buy a couch until I was 40 yrs old and had been making a lot of money for a few years.... I do recall some plastic chairs we sat in for 3 months too...

Before that purchase, it was all gifted to me hand-me downs, and Craigslist / homemade furniture.   

I think the problem here is what other articles and ERE alludes to - a skill set for self-reliance and knowledge how to live well for very very little money, that comes from active experience, and a privileged young life.

I have the benefit of having a stable family, that was able to give me their old furniture, and I have never had to move suddenly and leave everything behind, or give it all away to take a low paid job across the state, or accept a couch surfing offer as a place to live.   

I grew up learning how to give my time to others, and have a church community to ask if I ever was without family and needed someone to give / lend me their old furniture / bicycle / gardening tools, etc. in a personal disaster situation.

Not everyone has had these opportunities or knowledge for living cheaply.

FoundPeace

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2014, 03:48:34 AM »
This just makes me sick...

Elderwood17

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2014, 06:46:59 PM »
When we bought our first house we didn't have a couch or pretty much anything in the main room.  It just sat mostly empty until we saved up the cash and bought the things we needed.  I do recall a few people who stopped by thought it a bit odd but we weren't going to run out and start making furniture payments.

Timmmy

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2014, 07:49:12 AM »
When we bought our first house we didn't have a couch or pretty much anything in the main room.  It just sat mostly empty until we saved up the cash and bought the things we needed.  I do recall a few people who stopped by thought it a bit odd but we weren't going to run out and start making furniture payments.

I just moved a friend in to her new house.  Her living room furniture was going to be camp chairs until she could buy something else. 

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #20 on: October 27, 2014, 08:07:37 AM »
Something I was just pondering (sorry if this has already been mentioned)... like others here I've had no problem living temporarily with little or no furniture in the past. Even if my boyfriend and I had kids, if due to moving or a couch biting the dust or something we had to live with an awkward limited furniture situation for a while, I think we would make it kind of a funny temporary adventure that would later be a humorous family story. But we are educated and very confident in our middle-class status. Even if I was "poor" for a while, I would still be middle class "on the inside", if that makes sense. I would still have a master's degree and a middle-class family and plenty of experience socializing and working with better-off people. I can relish things like driving an older car and having a cheap Windows phone instead of an iPhone because I know that people still aren't going to think I'm "lower class" or anything (or if a stranger did think that, IDGAF because I know I'm not). I wonder how many of these people's poor spending decisions are linked to class insecurity. Not justifying it because obviously it would serve them so much better to make better decisions, but just thinking about some of the psychology of it and what might help these people.

MrsPete

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Re: Rent a couch?
« Reply #21 on: October 27, 2014, 11:51:45 AM »
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/in-america-why-the-poor-pay-dollar4158-for-a-dollar1500-%E2%80%98rent-to-own%E2%80%99-sofa/ar-BB9w32K

I don't know what I feel about this.  I kind of feel sad that there are people out there struggling like this but most of this is their doing.
Yeah, it's their own doing -- I mean, the woman has a 9th grade education, which probably means a GED is out of her reach.  Pretty much, kids are promoted regardless of achievement in elementary and middle school, so this means she probably wasn't passing anything . . . and then when she was presented with actual requirements in high school, she wasn't prepared.  Kids who drop out in 9th grade tend to be genuinely pathetic academically. 

It's also a hint that she's probably from generational poverty.  Why?  Because a middle-class family would've provided her with more support in elementary and middle school when they saw she wasn't thriving academically. 

Would some budget-education help?  Some families yes, but I think this family is "too far gone" to listen.  They're too into their excuses.  But that's who the news media chooses as their examples:  They dig down deep to find the folks who look worst . . . and then pretend they're typical. 
- Get a used couch for next to nothing off of craigslist?
The article said she couldn't save up enough to get a Craigslist couch, and that every time she tried to save, it ended up being used for something else. 

I don't use Craigslist, but I know that a GoodWill sofa can be had for $50, and a yard sale sofa can be had for $20 -- and her weekly payments for just the couch were that much, so this excuse doesn't hold water.  I suspect the reality is that she could've had a GoodWill sofa for $50, but it would've looked like it came from the 1970s. 

Related note:  The article said their old sofa was 6 years old and had springs sticking out.  First thing that occurs to me is, put a blanket over the spring-issue and save 'til you can buy something decent.  Second thought is, How does a sofa wear out that badly in 6 years?  We bought a cheap-o sofa when we were younger (big mistake -- always buy quality for heavy-use furniture), and even though it looked bad in less than a year, it didn't literally fall to pieces, even with kids abusing it. 
Even if I was "poor" for a while, I would still be middle class "on the inside", if that makes sense. I would still have a master's degree and a middle-class family and plenty of experience socializing and working with better-off people. I can relish things like driving an older car and having a cheap Windows phone instead of an iPhone because I know that people still aren't going to think I'm "lower class" or anything (or if a stranger did think that, IDGAF because I know I'm not).
I think you've hit upon a great deal of the issue.  The woman in the article commented that she just wants "to feel like a normal family", and owning furniture is something normal families do. 

She's externally motivated.  If she doesn't have "the stuff" that a normal family does, she feels badly about herself. 

I've said before that I was raised in a poor family, but we were very different from most in that we were first-generation poor.  We didn't have this messed-up mindset; we could think ahead a bit.