Monday, March 3, 2008

Get Happy Here!

That's what the sign says.

In fact, there are several of them proclaiming this message loudly in the windows of a business in downtown Dayton. I had to do a double take as I drove by. I was intrigued.





Ah....then the awful truth...

It's a tax refund anticipation loan place.


Needless to say, there's tremendous faulty logic behind this message. But, how many people realize that?

Read this article to learn that over 12.3 MILLION folks took advantage of such a loan in 2004! I'm sure that number is much, much higher this year.

There is a couple I know who barely make it through each month, depending on quick-fix deals like this. They borrow $150, only to owe back $176. They continue their addictions to alcohol and cigarettes, high long-distance phone and cable bills, video games, etc., relying time and time again on the paycheck advance folks to front them money when the rent is due, when the car needs gas, or when dental problems become almost life-threatening.

Tough stuff. Hard to listen and love, without judgment or chastising or trying to "fix" them.

In my mind, the world should be more like "It's a Wonderful Life", where the community rallies together to provide support for a beloved member who's fallen on bad times. But the way we've adapted to an every-man-for-himself, independent, don't-threaten-my-rights society - simply encourages the use of these kind of places, replacing the responsibility of community with the band-aid approach to just make it through the week.

Happiness? I'm all for it.

But not the kind that money brings.

And certainly, I'm Not Buying the message that it can be found in a tax refund loan place on Main Street in Dayton, Ohio.


GailNHB said...

Yikes. How sad and overwhelming for the many who rely on such places. And for me - that I don't have more compassion and a greater willingness to give out of our plenty to help those in need. Sure, we help some, but not nearly as much as we can. And if it's true that it is more blessed to give than to receive, then we are missing out on blessings in our selfishness. Hmmm... more to think about and act upon.

Jena Strong said...

I'm so glad you're hearing shining a light on this kind of insidious inside-out-ness. Ever think of creating a newspaper column in your local?

rak said...

I know people like that too. It's a crying shame that our society takes advantage rather than helps.

jc said...

I just read your post and was about to leave a comment similar to Jena's. You should consider writing something in the Daily News. I'm living in Virginia now, but am originally from a small town an hour north of Dayton. Our paper is alright, but a lot of folks read the Daily and the Dispatch either through subscription online. You write so well and on such interesting topics, you could probably make some headway! And it might be a way to bring in some extra cash to save?

I think I'll be back to your site often.

Westcoast Walker said...

Great post! You touch on some important issues - just look at the mortgage crisis right now - a few people getting rich of off encouraging people to live beyond their means, quite insidious really. There's money to be made of those who are in desperate circumstances

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