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Tough times: Layaway makes comeback

October 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Before credit cards, layaways were a way for customers to buy what they didn't have cash to buy outright. With our tough economic times, the layaway is making a comeback.Layaway was one way to buy something on time without paying interest charges. Although you did have to leave the item in the store until it was paid off.

"It gives you time to save more money to get your product you want to buy," said one Kmart shopper.

Layaway has always been an option at Kmart. Currently, they are the only national discount store offering it and they are making sure that everyone knows.

"Instead of using their credit card, knowing that they can use the layaway plan, they can save without paying interest and have their purchase very soon," said Lloyd Davis, K-Mart Store Manager.

Kmart wouldn't let Eyewitness News see the back room they say is full of layaways, but they did point out that high ticketed electronics, especially video games, are popular layaway items. Jewelry and clothing are also popular items before those departments get picked over by holiday shoppers.

"Right now you can come into our store. We have a wide selection. We have all of our Christmas items in, a lot of gift selection. They get the best pickings, you might say, right now," said Davis.

Using layaway is definitely a good alternative to using credit cards. However, the one problem consumer experts have with layaway is that, with the sinking economy, shoppers may be able to expect sale prices to get better as the holidays approach. So, paying for something at today's price may not add up.

Although Kmart's policy is to adjust the price, they only do so within the first seven days of layaway. Also, customers are expected to pay a $5 service fee, and a refundable $10 cancelation fee. A layaway item must be paid off in eight weeks using regular installments.

With credit as tight as it is these days, some budget-conscious customers really like layaways.

"I think it's marvelous, especially in this economy. We don't have the money to lay out the total amount of cash, but if we can pay a little bit every week or every two weeks, it makes our lives so much easier," said Cherie Combs, who likes layaway.

But, it's not easier for those who want it right away.

"Immediate gratification I think works," said Robin Coots, who prefers credit cards.

Some things will never change.


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