Retail Credit Card – When Credit Bites Back

You might think a retail credit card would be harmless. And you may be right. But my good friend told me a story about his wife that left me speechless. (Well, not really, because here I am now writing about it.)

In this particular case, the retail credit card actually got his wife fired from her job. Here’s the scoop:

My friend’s wife (we’ll call her Liz) has been working at Lane Bryant for a couple years now. She’s had glowing reviews. The customers love her. But there’s one little problem.

Liz does not like to push the Lane Bryant retail credit card as hard as the company would like. Sure, she asks each customer if they would like to open an account. Most either already have an account… or decline because they don’t want a retail credit card.

No matter how the customer responds, Liz never gets pushy and usually accepts the customer’s response at face value. Under normal circumstances, Liz’s behavior would be perfectly acceptable. Except there’s a little detail called a quota

Minimum Number of New Retail Credit Accounts

Apparently, when you work at Lane Bryant, you’re actually not in the business of selling clothes. You’re in the business of getting people to open Lane Bryant retail credit cards… and then getting them to buy clothes. Kinda.

Because you don’t actually want customers to buy clothes with cash or anything other than a Lane Bryant credit card.

This is why each employee is required to open 6 new retail credit card accounts every 2 weeks. That’s 3 new accounts per week.

If any employee fails to hit this quota, they can be let go immediately. Fired. On the spot.

Unfortunately, this is what happened to Liz. Not even her glowing reviews or positive customer feedback could make up for her unwillingness to shove credit cards down the throats of Lane Bryant customers.

Lesson: If you don’t feed the beast, the beast will devour you instead.

Mixed-Up Priorities

During the last few years, strange things have happened to the business landscape.

Cash is no longer good enough. Credit is king because stores can make so much more through exorbitant interest, late fees, and fees assessed when you try to pay your bill by phone or the Internet.

Let’s be honest. These are no longer retail stores. They’re credit card companies disguised as retail stores.

This can’t be good. It’s not good in the short term, and it’s definitely not good in the long term.

One retail credit card I recently canceled charged $10 to make a payment over the Internet.

Worse, they put the fee on my NEXT statement in the hopes I’d forget about it. That way they could charge me a late fee on top of a fee that shouldn’t even have been assessed in the first place!

But, hey, this is American business. Anything to keep the shareholders happy, right?

Become Debt Free – The Secret Nobody Talks About

Here’s how to become debt free in four simple steps:

First, you need to assess your current financial situation. It’s kind of like going to the doctor for a physical exam, except this time you’re examining your outstanding loan balances, your monthly income, your monthly expenses, etc.

You need to have a clear picture of how much you owe, how much you make, and how much you spend. This will tell you how bad (or how good) your financial situation is.

Second, you need to look for ways to trim expenses. Some of the best expenses to cut are those that are a) frivolous and b) recurring. Frivolous expenses that get auto-charged to you every month need to be eliminated if you truly want to become debt free.

Look also for ways to save money: on your cars, your house, your food, your health, your entertainment, etc. For many families, it is actually quite easy to cut $100 or even $200 in monthly expenses without much trouble.

Third, you need to put together a plan for credit card debt reduction. Depending on your circumstances, you may want to put together a debt snowball plan. Or you may want to seek Christian debt reduction help.

Every situation is unique and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. So consider carefully what the best course of action is for you and your family.

Fourth, you will want to increase your income. This is the step that is sometimes hardest. But it is the one step that can really accelerate how fast you become debt free.

You might consider starting a side-business. Your options are endless. There are dozens of opportunities for service-based businesses, as well as online businesses. You may also consider taking a second part-time job.

Okay. These four steps cover the basics. Now here’s the secret…

The Secret to Become Debt Free

So far, I’ve given you the four simple steps to become debt free. But I’ve left out the biggest secret of them all.

The secret is consistency.

It’s always easy to get excited about doing something and pursue it with a passion for a couple weeks or even a couple months. The true challenge is what you do when the excitement wears off and you’re tempted to buy some shiny new toy.

Here’s the truth: You can spend 6 months, a year, or even 2 years following your plan to become debt free. But all it takes is one weak moment to erase all that progress.

Similar to the person who loses 10 pounds and gains back 15, it’s easy take 2 steps forward and 3 steps back — and actually find yourself in a worse financial position than when you started!

So consistency is key. But so is the ability to pick yourself up when you’ve made a mistake. Because, honestly, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll make mistakes along the way to become debt free.

The question is: Will you have the resiliency to forgive yourself, get back on track, and keep moving forward? Only you can answer that question.