Some time ago we supposed, “We believe that with two you have a spare. With three you have a collection.” (See ‘With Three You Get Collections,’ Jan. 9, 2012). Hold that thought.
When we last left our heroes, we were wondering how America has managed to create so many different ways of separating one from one’s money without leaving the house. And wondering beyond that if the trend might ever reverse.
We think we have some other trends that have to reverse first. Some time ago, He of We was at a financial seminar where the focus was keeping one’s money. One of the exercises the 30 or so attendees took part in was a card count. Not as in blackjack. As in credit cards. Not debit cards. Not insurance cards. Credit cards. With those 30 or so attendees there were 187 credit cards also in attendance. That’s at least 6 per individual. That’s a collection. If you add in the debit cards there were 245 cards hanging around in purses and wallets. If you run the math you’ll see that is more than one debit card per person. That might be a spare. The whole kit and caboodle is definitely a collection.
Let’s go back to January of 2012. We also said that collections are not rational and just a little obsessive. You might say that makes sense if we are speaking of coins or art or other objects of value and beauty. But credit cards? Yep, even them. Having six credit cards is not rational and a bit obsessive. It is also empowers the marketers to continue selling to those who haven’t left the house.
The only way on-line shops, infomercials, magazine inserts, and television shopping networks work are if they accept something other than money. The ready availability of credit and debit cards is their ticket to your bank account. According to the Federal Reserve, credit card balances now total nearly $857 billion. With an average of just about 13% interest on that balance, Americans are paying just about $110 billion a year in credit card interest. And since we all seem to have a collection of them, once one is maxed out we can move on to another and never miss the opportunity to buy that $400 purse.
So there we go again with the purse. Is it so terrible that someone sells and someone else buys a $400 purse? No, it’s not. We’d just prefer to see that if someone is going to buy it for $400 that someone has to reach into her, or his wallet and pull out four $100 bills to pay for it. Then it will mean something. But that’s a different post for a different day.
If you too are concerned about the rollercoaster of remote shopping you too can do something about it. Break up your collection and get back to using money. If Capt. Kirk was able to figure out how to do it, you can too.
Now, that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you?