Jan 11, 2011

FERRET FIVE: Store Credit Cards

I have been trying to come up with an idea to generate some more posts.  I don't always have something thoughtful to say.  But I still want to waste your time with my useless opinions.  So I have a dilemma - come up with some half thought out post (which usually never makes it to posting) or not write at all.  My solution?  To add a new Subject Identifying Disc.  I am calling it the Ferret Five.  It is like a Top Five list, except adapted with my bizarre affiliation with the ferret.  (Some day I really need to explain that on this blog.  Good idea for later...)  The Ferret Five will be a quick little list about something that hits me - usually in the car or the shower.  Top Five lists are harder than you think.  Usually I get to #3 pretty well, and then struggle to get the last two.  So, while this may appear to be useless garbage, it actually took at least as much thought as my defense of Mike Vick.  (How'd that work out?  I managed to jinx both the Saints AND Eagles.  Good on ya.)

Here's my first list - the worst store credit cards to have.  I'm not talking about the danger of having credit cards in general.  This is a question of what store card would be the most dangerous for you to have?  I remember back when I was in high school and was looking for a job.  There was a Warner Brothers store in the Palm Beach Gardens mall.  I loved the store and they were hiring.  But my mom wouldn't let me work there.  She told me that she was afraid that I would spend too much of my income there on Batman paraphernalia.  She was probably right.  That is the kind of thing I'm talking about.  If you had a card for a store, what would be the most dangerous?  I did not count stores that have Visa or MasterCard partnerships - like the Amazon Visa or Borders Visa.  You can use those at other stores.  I'm looking at ones that can only be used in one store.  [Side Note: I don't have any of these cards.  I have had some cards in the past.  Now, I have none.  And I plan to keep it that way.  I'm not a Dave Ramsey acolyte or anything.  I'm an idiot.  And you wouldn't give an idiot a loaded weapon, would you?]

1. THE APPLE STORE CARD:  Was there really any doubt?  There are two Apple store options.  One is a regular store card.  The other has iTunes rewards with it.  Are you kidding me?  I wouldn't touch this card with a ten foot pole.  I survived working there without buying (too much) stuff.  But if I had a card there?  Good grief - the temptation would just be overwhelming.  The only redeeming element is that there isn't an Apple store in Tallahassee.  You may think this is crazy.  But I can tell you the truth - I can always find something to buy in the Apple store.  Mini speakers.  Software.  New iPhone case.  iTunes cards.  Gigantor iMac.  It never ends.

2. BEST BUY CARD:  I used to have one of these back in college.  Without a doubt it was a monstrous pitfall.  It would easily be number one, if not for Apple.  In some ways, it is even more dangerous than the Apple card because they carry DVDs and video games and cords.  (What?  You know how tempting cords are?  I don't know why, but there are many times I just wander through the cords and think about what they do and how it would be fun to have those.  Okay, I'm weird.)  Plus they have a lot of Apple stuff.  The thing that separates this and Apple is that most of the tantalizing things at Best Buy are cheaper and add up over time.  The Apple one just blindsides you.

3. TARGET CARD:  Ahhh, Target.  Who among us have not wandered into thine automatic doors and walked out having spent a hundred bucks on God knows what?  Target just sneaks up on you.  You're trying to kill time and you stroll up and down the aisles.  Things just magically jump into your cart.  "Ooooo.  This $4 shirt would look nice on Gabe."  Then you stroll over to toys.  "Hey.  This doll is 30% off."  You pass by DVDs.  "Are you serious?  The COMBO PACK is only $15?"  Before you know it, you've been laid waste once again.  I feel even more vulnerable at Target than Walmart.  At Walmart I have my defenses up.  I know they are going to try to trick me.  They have all these falling prices.  But I usually am immune to most of them.  Target, though, always seems to get me.  Maybe it's the Starbucks or the pretty artwork.  Having card there would just be a disaster.

4. MEN'S WEARHOUSE CARD:  "You're gonna like the way you look.  I guarantee it."  With that gravelly voice, it is like he's threatening you.  "You are going to come in here and you are going to like the way you look and then it's all over, buster."  I actually went into one of these stores and got some stuff for a wedding I was attending.  The problem is that they have really nice stuff - you know, for off the rack commoner clothes.  It is very easy to see yourself in these things and looking sharp.  They have great sales staff, mirrors everywhere, and very tantalizing sales.  The problem is, the stuff is so stinking expensive.  You're trying on a suit, thinking you look sharp.  They aren't mentioning the price.  You casually look at the tag.  "More than you're worth," is what it says.  "Like more than what I would get selling your body on the black market for parts."  And they have all these options - jackets, sweaters, shirts, pants, shoes, socks.  They'll deck you out.  One sweater I tried on was amazing.  It looked so nice and felt like it was woven from angel wings.  Three hundred bucks.  For a sweater.  Sheesh.  You won't be able to afford food for a month, but you'll look nice living in your box.

5. DILLARDS CARD:  Very similar problem to #4.  But they are more sneaky.  They always have stuff on sale.  Now, there are times when it is just about impossible to refuse their deals.  When the winter clothes go off the racks, they'll drop the price.  25% off.  About a month later, 50% off.  Then 75% off.  And then, there are times you'll hit it right and they'll be running some crazy "75% off and an additional 25% off and basically we have to get something for this shirt.  We're just saving face."  They do the same thing when the line switches from summer.  I cannot even count how many shirts I have gotten at Dillards on these sales.  I'm pretty sure every embroidered Defender Ministries shirts I've even owned was purchased this way.  That is the benefit of Dillards.  The catch is that all those $9 sweaters and $7.50 shirts add up.  And sometimes you only get them on the 30% sale.  You get nervous that all the good sizes will be gone, so you jump.  Plus, they sell lots of other stuff - like dresses and china and Christmas ornaments.  They run great sales.  Taking advantage once or twice is great.  But eventually it all adds up.  It's like the Tribbles of credit cards.

Kohls - The trickiest store out there.  Jack up your prices so you can always run sales.  But, man, can they be tantalizing.
Kay Jewelers - You'll always have a way to buy a present for your wife.  And then you'll pay on it until the next time you need a present for your wife.
Disney Store - I could probably avoid using this for a long time.  But that one time you wander in there with your guard down...
Any Gas Card - Between the fact each fill up is at least $50 and the fact that you can almost do your grocery shopping at most gas stations now, these suckers are just an invitation for disaster.

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