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Ways of the World

Carol Stone, business economist & active Episcopalian, brings you "Ways of the World". Exploring business & consumers & stewardship, we'll discuss everyday issues: kids & finances, gas prices, & some larger issues: what if foreigners start dumping our debt? And so on. We can provide answers & seek out sources for others. We'll talk about current events & perhaps get different perspectives from what the media says. Write to Carol. Let her know what's important to you:

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

"The Culture of Debt": A Vignette

As a follow-up to our recent article on consumer debt, we offer the following story. It speaks for itself.

My roommate Chris and I bought a new car last year, our first in nine years. We shopped around, test-drove maybe half-a-dozen, read Consumer Reports and Edmonds reviews and did other homework. We made our selection.

The day came to pick up the car. You know how car dealers are: you don't just hand over money or sign a loan agreement and drive off. You sit down in an office with the door closed where a special representative – not the salesperson you've become acquainted with – tries to sell you "dealer options" and a sweetheart financing deal. In this case, the person across the desk was an attractive young woman, probably in her early 20s. She didn't seem to me at all mature enough for the job she was doing.

I did choose one of the warranty options, but when she began to talk about "financing this," I said, "oh, no, we're paying cash; we're not financing the car."
"Oh, but I can give you a really good rate."
"No, thanks. We're paying cash. I have the cashier's check right here."
"So you borrowed from a credit union or a bank? I can beat their terms, I'm sure."
"We didn't borrow from anyone; we're paying for the car outright."
"You're using your own money for this? Why would you do that?"
"Because I don't want to be in debt for it."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am disappointed with your assumption and stereotype that a woman in her early 20s is not mature enough to handle a "real" job. I've met just as many incompetant thirty-somethings as I have met capable twenty-somethings and so long as twenty-somethings continue to be stereotyped as immature, irresponsible, etc., they can never achieve their full potential.

6/28/2006 1:01 PM  
Blogger Carol S. said...

Thank you for your comment. Of course, 20-somethings can do good work. I work now at a company where the vast majority of our colleagues are in that age range or just a bit more, and I see it every day.

I am sorry if my text didn't make clear that it was the specific young woman I was dealing with who failed to inspire my confidence. Obviously, it didn't matter what age or gender the person was, but the presentation of herself and the material she was attempting to sell. Given that criterion, I stand by my original statement: she didn't seem mature enough for the job she had been assigned and unfortunately our dialogue proved that to be the case.

Thank you again for taking the time to write. This is beneficial for our readers and for me.

6/28/2006 8:08 PM  

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