My own credit card debt, now about a month and a half from being gone completely, dates entirely from the summer Mr. A and I were both unemployed for three months. During that time, major human and pet medical crises happened, the Saturn of Love’s transmission blew, and we were being dicked around on an epic level by everybody who owed us money.
None of it was silly stuff, like hey, we’re both broke, let’s take a vacation! Let’s buy a new car! You know, the crap people assume you do to get yourself in five-figure debt, so I didn’t feel too bad about it at the time. Later, when trying to pay it off, I hated myself, but really. Mercifully our mutually unemployed state didn’t last long, but this economy ain’t getting better, if the return on appeals to the nonprofits I volunteer with is any indication. I have relatives out of work for more than a year, friends who got laid off, neighbors in bankruptcy, and they don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
Credit cards could be a crutch to get you through a crunch time like the one we had. The enduring practice of screwing over one’s customers with 29 percent interest and huge penalties for missing a payment is taking that crutch away. Yeah, it’s a good thing people aren’t using them for stupid shit. But one person’s stupid shit is another person’s way of keeping the lights on.