Friday, May 22, 2009

The High Price of Bad Decisions

For the most part, people get where they are in life because of their decisions. There are, of course exceptions, such as people who are disabled or who become disabled due to no fault of their own. The Washington Post has an article entitled "Poor? Pay Up" which goes through a list of things that the poor must pay more for. It designed to show us rubes how tough it is to be poor and never suggests that the poor have some responsibility for being where they are and that part of the reason for the additional expenses still relates to making bad decisions.

You don't have a car to get to a supermarket, much less to Costco or Trader Joe's, where the middle class goes to save money. You don't have three hours to take the bus. So you buy groceries at the corner store, where a gallon of milk costs an extra dollar.
Ever thought of finding a friend and catching a ride? Where there is a will, there is a way. Could you find a way to get to the Costco or Trader Joe's if they were handing out checks for $15? The fact is, they are; it's just in the form of paying $15 less for your groceries.

When you are poor, you don't have the luxury of throwing a load into the washing machine and then taking your morning jog while it cycles. You wait until Monday afternoon . . . load a cart and drag it to the corner [laundromat]. . . . The four loads of laundry will take her about two hours.

You do something productive while waiting for your laundry to get done so you can make something better of yourself. Try reading a book you checked out from the library instead of watching the "soap opera [that] is playing loudly on the television hanging from the ceiling."

She buys bags of oranges or apples, but not the organic kind. "Organic is too much," she says.

Middle class moms everywhere just said "Duh."

The poor pay more in hassle: the calls from the bill collectors, the landlord, the utility company. So they spend money to avoid the hassle. The poor pay for caller identification because it gives them peace of mind to weed out calls from bill collectors.

Spending money you don't have to avoid a hassle is not very smart. Not answering the call only makes it worse because the bill collector will have to take more aggressive (and expensive) action.

A lot of people who are 'unbanked' pay $3 for a money order to pay their electric bill. They pay a 2 percent check-cashing fee because they don't have bank services.

Why do you not have bank services? Some don't have them because they have made bad decisions in the past, like writing bad checks. There is really no excuse for that. Most banks will open an account with very little money and many offer free checking accounts or savings accounts. That would, of course, require you to get off your tail and do something proactive.

He uses the check-cashing store to pay his telephone bill. The store charges 10 percent to take Blakeney's money and send the payment to the phone company. That 10 percent becomes what it costs him to get his payment to the telephone company on time. Ten percent is more than the cost of a stamp. But, Blakeney says: "I don't have time to mail it. You come here and get it done. Then you don't get charged with the late fee." . . . He has no criticism for the check-cashing place. "That's how they make their money," he says. "I don't care about the charge."

Poor decisions and poor attitude. How will you ever get out of poverty unless you start caring about what you pay for services. Another check cashing store customer was charged $15 to cash a $300 check. He lost his driver's license "and now his regular bank won't recognize [him] as human." I suppose he could get his license (or a photo id) if he needed one in order to get a government handout check. Another individual goes to the grocery store:

The clerk suggests that he use his "bonus card" for savings. Carter tells the clerk he has no such card.

Apparently, acquiring and retaining the bonus card would require too much work of Mr. Carter.

He sets aside $9 worth of hot fried chicken wings.

You're even considering $9 for hot fried chicken wings?! Fix them at home. They are much cheaper that way.

They say houses are better, cheaper. But how are you going to get in a house if you don't have any money for a down payment?

Start saving. Start making better decisions. Improve yourself. Get a better job. Get additional education. It's there if you want it badly enough.

No sense in trying to hurry when you are poor.

Yeah, because getting in a hurry would require some effort. Why should we expect people to make an effort? That would require responsibility and accountability and we can't have that around here!

UPDATE: How did that guy lose his license? I've got a feeling it was from making another bad decision!



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