Stupid Commercial for Financial Irresponsibility

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March 2, 2010 | Comments

The camera opens on an attractive, well-dressed, well-spoken couple with expensive hair. They sit chatting in what appears to be the kitchen in a bright, airy, well-appointed contemporary home (theirs, I presume).

Their topic on this fine, sunny morning? The high service charges levied upon them when they cash their weekly paychecks, government checks, whatever checks they say they are regularly cashing. It seems these attractive people don’t have a bank account – not even a small savings account that would earn them check-cashing privileges. Poor things. So they apparently have to cash their checks with the shark on the corner, and it’s costing them far too much.

But today they share the great news: Walmart’s check-cashing charges are much cheaper than what they have been paying! Oh, happy day! And it gets better. Once they figure these reduced charges will save them as much as $200 a year, they gleefully agree to put that sweet savings to good use and buy a new flat-screen TV! Oh, happy day again!

Now, if this is indeed a valid portrait of Americans faced with economic challenges today, it’s no wonder households across the nation are in such dire straits financially. I also have to wonder just who Walmart is targeting with this message? Perhaps the woman I saw at Best Buy the other day fits the audience profile. Denied her attempt to purchase a laptop computer with food stamps, she stomped out of the store and bee-lined in a huff to her Lexus parked in a handicapped spot outside the door. I guess she has been cashing her checks at Walmart.

As for you, commercial couple, how about taking that $200 and opening a savings account. You’ll likely find that family security trumps new toys any day.

Betsy Siino | Comments