Wal-Mart announced Thursday, Sept. 14 that they are bringing the gate down on Layaway.
I had been hearing rumors and figured it was coming. I don't know if they are going to even do Black Friday layaways this year or not. I worked Black Friday last year - remember the near-riot?
This move is all about money. Wal-Mart has major plans to promote that blue Wal-Mart credit card with that smiling yellow face on it. Here's why.
Layaway as it runs right now is a free service. You get items, you go back to layaway and put 10% down. You have 60 days to pay the item off and you can extend for a while if you keep making payment. If you DO NOT pay the item off, Wal-Mart takes the the merchandise back - AND GIVES YOU YOUR MONEY BACK - for free, no questions asked. All this time, we've had the expense of storing the item, keeping track of your money, doing all the paperwork on the merchandise AND paying Layaway associates. Remember the layaway addicts?
Now with the Wal-Mart credit card, you take the stuff home. And then you owe that money. Wal-Mart doesn't have to keep track of your merchandise or your money. If you don't pay up, Wal-Mart will ruin your credit. The only way you will get your money back is if you bring in the merchandise - within 90 days AND with a receipt. Otherwise, all you're going to get is store credit - which must be spent at Wal-mart! It is a deviously brilliant plan.
And instead of the 60 days you get free on layaway - Wal-Marts credit cards start charging you interest after 30 days. More free money for Wal-mart - just for buying more Wal-mart crap! There's no way the company loses here.
There is no way Wal-mart was going to let all that credit card money just sit on the table. Of course they're going to sucker poor people in with the "90 days no interest" ploy, then charge them 24.99% interest for that big screen TV they had to have. And so little by little, Wal-Mart will contribute more to the destruction of America.
Don't be shocked to start seeing a table with credit-card pitchmen at every Wal-mart store. Each store is most likely soon going to have to meet a certain quota of credit card applications per week or month.
Wal-Mart has major ambitions in the banking industry. They've tried for years to get a bank off the ground but can't get past the regulatory hurdles. They're already in bed with Discover for credit cards. CitiBank has a chain of banks. Within five years, I bet Discover will too - backed by the Walton money.
Wal-Mart SuperCenters are pretty close to one-stop shopping right now. There are groceries, merchandise, a hair salon (owned by Regis), a fast-food joint (usually McDonalds), a nail salon, one-hour photo, a Tire & Lube Express, a garden center, a pharmacy, a vision center, a portrait studio (owned by PCA International), a bank and some newer SuperCenters have either embroiderery shops or travel agencies.
About the only thing missing is a dry cleaner and a post office - and we got a stamp machine about two months ago.
I think our SuperCenter is just waiting for the Hometown Threads (embroidery) shop to end its lease before they get tossed out and put in a Wal-Mart travel agency.