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Rental America: Why The Poor Pay $4,150 For A $1,500 Sofa

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/10/16/she-bought-a-sofa-on-installment-payments-now-its-straining-her-life/?src=longreads

CULLMAN, Ala. — The love seat and sofa that Jamie Abbott can’t quite afford ended up in her double-wide trailer because of the day earlier this year when she and her family walked into a new store called Buddy’s. Abbott had no access to credit, no bank account and little cash, but here was a place that catered to exactly those kinds of customers. Anything could be hers. The possibilities — and the prices — were dizzying.

At Buddy’s, a used 32-gigabyte, early model iPad costs $1,439.28, paid over 72 weeks. An Acer laptop: $1,943.28, in 72 weekly installments. A Maytag washer and dryer: $1,999 over 100 weeks.

Abbott wanted a love seat-sofa combo, and she knew it might rip her budget. But this, she figured, was the cost of being out of options. “You don’t get something like that just to put more burden on yourself,” Abbott said.

Five years into a national economic recovery that has further strained the poor working class, an entire industry has grown around handing them a lifeline to the material rewards of middle-class life. Retailers in the post-Great Recession years have become even more likely to work with customers who don’t have the money upfront, instead offering a widening spectrum of payment plans that ultimately cost far more and add to the burdens of life on the economy’s fringes.

The poor today can shop online, paying in installments, or walk into traditional retailers such as Kmart that now offer in-store leasing. The most striking change in the world of low-income commerce has been the proliferation of rent-to-own stores such as Buddy’s Home Furnishings, which has been opening a new store every week, largely in the South.

If they worked harder they could buy these goods cheaper. If only they had put the effort in like the rich, instead they get to pay like the workshy shirkers they are.

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The love seat had a cup-holder console in the middle and the cushions were plush, and when they took turns testing the feel, they realized it could pivot like a rocking chair. “I about died when I saw that,” Abbott said months later. By the next day, the Abbotts had a remade living room, two companion pieces, both of the same blended material, 17 percent leather. The love seat and sofa retailed, together, for about $1,500. Abbott would pay for hers over two years, though she still had paying the option to pay monthly or weekly. The total price if paid weekly: $4,158.

Even at the regular price, they're paying much more than others will spend on this furniture. I'll probably get one second-hand from ebay.

Therefore I really Sofa King don't care about victimhooders.

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We have brighthouse in the UK doing the same thing.

Henry hoover

Argos: 98.99

Brighhouse: £2.50 pw for 104 weeks (Total £260, 99% APR)

You can also pay 4 grand for a 1 grand TV

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If you want a sofa, just get the back seats out of a posh scrapped car! More comfortable than the MFI MDF box ones!

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I gotta lovely sofa. Long enough to lie in. Thirty quid via a newsagents window.What sort of "poor" buy $1500 sofas?

Lord knows. You can get fantastic sofas in charity shops around here - something that would cost £2000 new for say £150.

I suppose if you just didn't have £150 that wouldn't be much help, though. Charity shops don't let you have things on tick.

You could alway try Freecycle I suppose.

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I really don't know.

How can people be so stupid?

Okay these are working class people but mindless materialism is part of the middle class `lifestyle` too.

Currently sitting on an `as new` £100 sofa from ebay. 5 years old but will probably out last me.

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Lord knows. You can get fantastic sofas in charity shops around here - something that would cost £2000 new for say £150.

I suppose if you just didn't have £150 that wouldn't be much help, though. Charity shops don't let you have things on tick.

You could alway try Freecycle I suppose.

Should there be laws to protect dumb people from themselves?

There are plenty of thrift shops in America offering the same options as charity shops in the UK (actually, they're much better because Americans have no problem with throwing out perfectly decent furniture). I was furniture shopping last month in thrift shops in America, and, really, you would have no problem nicely furnishing an entire living room for under $200 (including sofa, chairs, table and TV). If people want to waste their money by overpaying for tacky new furniture, is it the government's role to prohibit them from doing so?

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Lord knows. You can get fantastic sofas in charity shops around here - something that would cost £2000 new for say £150.

I suppose if you just didn't have £150 that wouldn't be much help, though. Charity shops don't let you have things on tick.

You could alway try Freecycle I suppose.

That's the thing, isn't it? Some people can't even scrape together £30 - but a fiver a week for near eternity is just about doable.

With freecycle, there's the problem of getting it home as nearly everyone wants their free stuff collected. I have managed a two seater sofa on the bike once - but not to be recommended if I'm honest.

Should there be laws to protect dumb people from themselves?

There are plenty of thrift shops in America offering the same options as charity shops in the UK (actually, they're much better because Americans have no problem with throwing out perfectly decent furniture). I was furniture shopping last month in thrift shops in America, and, really, you would have no problem nicely furnishing an entire living room for under $200 (including sofa, chairs, table and TV). If people want to waste their money by overpaying for tacky new furniture, is it the government's role to prohibit them from doing so?

Where do you draw the line at dumb though? We are all dumb at some things. Arguably, dumb people need more help than smart people perhaps?

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/10/16/she-bought-a-sofa-on-installment-payments-now-its-straining-her-life/?src=longreads

If they worked harder they could buy these goods cheaper. If only they had put the effort in like the rich, instead they get to pay like the workshy shirkers they are.

why not put the monthly charges in a jar somewhere and buy outright....oh I forgot, they gotta have it now, and they have flouride in the water.

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....good well made sofas are two a penny, well made means quality like a solid wooden frame ......a friend of mine found a wonderful chesterfield dumped near a skip, loads to be found on freecycle, charity shops and second-hand shops......some might require a bit of TLC and a touch of reupholstery, but if you can't do it yourself there are those that can in the community, that would take great pleasure in helping to restore a fine piece of well made furniture.....not the sawn softwood, held together with staples sofas that cost a fortune they make today, and more than double when bought on the never never.......storage is expensive, living space is in short supply and today is a throw away world.....old stuff was made to last and it usually does if looked after, good stuff will always stay in fashion......but not worth paying pots of money to store something that is not being used when there will always be people with plenty, chucking stuff away because they are fed up looking at it and have plenty spare to replace it......one man,s trash is another man's treasure. ;)

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....good well made sofas are two a penny, well made means quality like a solid wooden frame ......a friend of mine found a wonderful chesterfield dumped near a skip, loads to be found on freecycle, charity shops and second-hand shops......some might require a bit of TLC and a touch of reupholstery, but if you can't do it yourself there are those that can in the community, that would take great pleasure in helping to restore a fine piece of well made furniture.....not the sawn softwood, held together with staples sofas that cost a fortune they make today, and more than double when bought on the never never.......storage is expensive, living space is in short supply and today is a throw away world.....old stuff was made to last and it usually does if looked after, good stuff will always stay in fashion......but not worth paying pots of money to store something that is not being used when there will always be people with plenty, chucking stuff away because they are fed up looking at it and have plenty spare to replace it......one man,s trash is another man's treasure. ;)

Quite, my parents have just had their 1960's three piece sweet re-upholstered for the 4th time. A quality bit of furniture with a solid oak frame and a classic timeless design.

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Thank the banks.

Don't expect cost push by financializaton to be limited to housing, university and car loans. The banks will force the cost of anything and everything up now they know they'll be bailed no matter what.

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That's the thing, isn't it? Some people can't even scrape together £30 - but a fiver a week for near eternity is just about doable.

With freecycle, there's the problem of getting it home as nearly everyone wants their free stuff collected. I have managed a two seater sofa on the bike once - but not to be recommended if I'm honest.

Where do you draw the line at dumb though? We are all dumb at some things. Arguably, dumb people need more help than smart people perhaps?

Dead right re collection. We recently got shot of a perfectly good double bed via Freecycle, but it was collect-yourself only.

Ditto about the dumb needing more help. Friend of ours was a CAB adviser for years - he said there are so many hopeless cases out there, people who just haven't a clue how to help themselves, inarticulate, semi literate, no idea about so many things most of us take for granted. A different world.

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....good well made sofas are two a penny, well made means quality like a solid wooden frame ......a friend of mine found a wonderful chesterfield dumped near a skip, l

Your words are welome, cheif scrounger!

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Where do you draw the line at dumb though? We are all dumb at some things. Arguably, dumb people need more help than smart people perhaps?

That is the problem. I regard someone buying a £40,000 BMW on tick because they can't afford it as dumb. Probably dumber than someone buying a £1500 sofa they can't afford. The emotional drivers are the same - you mates have got one, so you feel you must as well.

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why not put the monthly charges in a jar somewhere and buy outright....oh I forgot, they gotta have it now, and they have flouride in the water.

Teach the stupid about credit and they can have a new sofa. TEach them about saving and they can have the world.

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Flicking through the channels, I came across the 'Yankee Candles' hour on QVC.

We buy these fairly regularly and I know how much they are. They are very nice, there's little to touch them, but they are expensive.

Taking into account the postage cost from QVC you might save a pound or two on a £30 purchase if you're lucky.

Then the clincher: "Available with 3 easy payments of £9.95"

I thought "If you need to use credit to buy expensive candles, you probably shouldn't be buying expensive candles". But then on the other hand, who am I to judge. Does seem odd, though.

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I thought "If you need to use credit to buy expensive candles, you probably shouldn't be buying expensive candles". But then on the other hand, who am I to judge. Does seem odd, though.

How are you going to afford a nice house if you spend your money on expensive candles?

Candles or iphones may each be trivial in the grand scheme of things, but the mindset that buys them isn't.

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Teach the stupid about credit and they can have a new sofa. TEach them about saving and they can have the world.

thats why it ISNT taught then.

How would a bank even exist if there were no borrowers?

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I buy most non-perishable things second hand - works very well for me.

I wanted a Chromebook last week, as I spend lots of time out and about and in coffee shops ect and wanted a light laptop for web browsing and writing.

Saw that the best one was £260 quid, then my tight fisted-ness kicked in - saw one on gumtree for £90, offered £70 and got it.

I'm using it now. It's awesome.

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That is the problem. I regard someone buying a £40,000 BMW on tick because they can't afford it as dumb. Probably dumber than someone buying a £1500 sofa they can't afford. The emotional drivers are the same - you mates have got one, so you feel you must as well.

I'm quite happy with my £1500 Lexus. Actually it is a sofa with an engine. Much car madness spending out there. Once you have committed to one of these "deals" you have less money to spend on everything else.

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