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PandoraBoxx's avatar

Have you ever purchased something on layaway?

Asked by PandoraBoxx (18016points) December 6th, 2009

When I was in high school, I would go shopping for school clothes in August, and put my purchases on layaway. I’d pay a little bit down, and then in 6 – 8 weeks, would have the whole purchase paid off, and get my clothes.

The same practice would hold true for my mother buying a new television, furniture, etc. She’d pick it out, pay a little down, and then when she’d pay it off, we’d get the item delivered. It was a great way to live within our means.

With a culture of immediate gratification pandered to by credit cards, and “why wait?” marketing, is layaway even still an option at many retailers? Or does everyone come to expect credit and purchase by credit card? I know many jewelers allow for the purchase of engagement rings, etc. but what else can still be purchased by layaway these days?

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21 Answers

aprilsimnel's avatar

In NYC, there’s a few stores that still do this, mainly in the more “dodgy” neighborhoods. And TJ Maxx. The vast majority of stores, though, expect you to apply for their credit card if you’re not buying an item straightaway.

jrpowell's avatar

I used to rock the layaway at K-mart. I wasn’t sure if they still did it but I just saw them advertising the service on TV a few weeks ago.

pjanaway's avatar

My apartment was buy now pay later. I bought it a year and a half ago and I don’t have to pay for it till next may. Its still being built. :)

Apart from that I normally pay up front for things.

Darwin's avatar

KMart has been advertising the daylights out of their layaway program this holiday season.

Personally I have never used layaway. I was taught very well that if you can’t afford to pay cash up front, you can’t afford to buy it, except with houses because of the tax clause that allows you to deduct mortgage interest.

Dog's avatar

My fellow artists and I usually purchase originals off one another with lay-away. ;)

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I’m hitting a stretch where the washing machine, stove and dishwasher are all on their last legs, at about the same time I’m having tuition hit. What I have has been serviced more times than is economically feasible, and the repair guy said it’s time to replace the appliances.

asmonet's avatar

That’s pretty much how my mom raised all of us. I remember it seemed like I was always stuck in the car while she made a payment on our school supplies, clothes, presents, etc. It annoyed the crap out of me as a kid. But she explained how it helped us and I got used to it. In hindsight it was actually pretty vital to our survival for many years.

I have never needed to use it myself, I’ve always waited until I had the money or just not made the purchase. Not because I wouldn’t want to spread out the cost, but I can’t be bothered to remember more payments in my life. :P

KMart is the only place she ever did it. I’ve never considered anywhere else, never needed to. :)

Skippy's avatar

When the boys were younger I used layaway for Christmas gifts. more just as a place to store them until I was ready for Santa to drop them off. It also allowed me to get things on sale and tuck a little away. I always had the funds to cover the purchase, just easier to allow the store to be my storage locker. Too bad they didn’t wrap them for me too!

Kmart seems to be the only store that offers layaway anymore.

Wonder if Walmart and Target would offer it, would their sales increase? There’s a few small ‘mom and pop’ type in our town that offer the service, and even one consignment shop is doing it for the holidays only.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Oh, yeah, Kmart. We’ve got one of those too, on the border of the East Village. I imagine they offer it as well. Who doesn’t remember getting their school clothes and Christmas gifts from Kmart on the layaway?

Adagio's avatar

One advantage with a layby system (what you call in the US layaway) is that finally picking up the item on layby is a future goal, an incentive for continuing with payments. When you pay for something using credit that particular incentive for paying off the credit card has faded and there is no future item to look forward to finally owning.

@Darwin I completely disagree with your comment, I think that paying something off equates to paying cash up front in one hit. It is not often these days that people can afford to buy large appliances, for example, without paying them off over time. The only alternative is credit and that is a slippery slope in the wrong hands.

jamielynn2328's avatar

I just picked my layaway from Kmart up yesterday. They charged me 5 dollars and I put my kids whole Christmas basically on layaway. It us an easy way for me to be able to afford everything that I want to get my kids. I did it early enough this year so that I can buy a few more things in December.

Darwin's avatar

“It is not often these days that people can afford to buy large appliances, for example, without paying them off over time.”

There are many appliances that folks think they need, but in actuality they only want them. Yes, it is easier to have a washer and dryer in your house, but there are other ways to have clean, dry clothes. The same goes for clean dishes, clean floors, and so on. In addition, not everything has to be brand-spanking new. There is nothing wrong with used appliances, used cars, and so on.

“The only alternative is credit”

Paying things off is a form of credit. The store trusts you to make all of the payments. With layaway if you don’t, the store keeps your money and sells the item to someone else. With credit if you don’t, the store gets to come take the stuff back from you and keep whatever you have paid. With credit also you pay interest, which adds up over time. That $500 washing machine might end up costing $750 by the time you are done paying for it. If you just washed your clothes in the sink for 6 months you could save the money to get the washer, and save $250 towards a dryer as well.

I once read an article on how much you can save over a lifetime if you just keep each car you own at least 10 years. This article discusses a form of that, “Buy used and drive it for at least 10 years.” And so does this one.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@Darwin, I was without electricity last winter for a week, and had to take clothes to the laundrymat. I was horrified at how expensive it was. It cost me $25 to do a week’s worth of laundry for a family of 3 people. It had me wondering how people manage to keep their clothes clean on limited incomes.

Your comment about washing clothes in the sink smacks of the ridiculous. It’s one thing to wash out undies and socks in the sink, it’s quite another to wash clothing for work, towels, bedding, etc.

Darwin's avatar

@PandoraBoxx – Ah, but I have done it, as has my mother before me, as did my grandmother before her. It is an extreme example, but it can be done, although I have more often used the bathtub for large items such as sheets and towels. You also become much more careful with your washable items, to keep them from getting as dirty as quickly, so that you have to wash fewer items on a weekly basis.

The point is that often our “necessities” are yesterday’s luxuries, and aren’t really necessities at all.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Why would you put something on layaway rather than just save up for those 6–8 weeks until you can go buy the clothes outright? Doesn’t putting something on layaway require much more time and effort b/c of the frequent store trips to make payments?

PandoraBoxx's avatar

It does require a bit of time, but there is value to delayed gratification, and the selection process that you don’t get by using a credit card. And there are things that you need to purchase whether you like to or not. Not having a functioning washing machine would impede my work schedule, not having a functioning stove would increase our food budget because we would need to eat out more frequently in order to get a hot meal.

Darwin's avatar

And if my stove stopped working, as it does when the power goes out, I use the grill. There are always alternatives.

Sometimes I think we have all gotten a bit spoiled. That’s why I make sure my kids go camping sometimes, so they can learn some of the other ways of doing things.

Adagio's avatar

@BB SDT family “Why would you put something on layaway rather than just save up for those 6–8 weeks until you can go buy the clothes out right?”
Perhaps there are those who would feel too tempted to spend money they were saving up for something else, in those circumstances layby could be a good way to focus, instead of just seeing money in a savings account and spending it on something else.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Or in my case, something else shows up with its hand out, wiping out the savings before it can get used for what it’s earmarked for.

Ron_C's avatar

Yeah, it’s a great way to buy Christmas presents. We would by toys for our kids on layaway. The store keeps them and we don’t have to hid them. Plus we don’t have to shop in the crowds.

bomyne's avatar

We call it layby here, but yes… I have. It’s a very awesome way to get something you can’t afford without taking out credit and without saving up. It also means that the item isn’t sold before you can save up to buy it.

I recently bought a new stereo head for my dad’s Toyota Camry via Layby… It was relatively painfree.

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