Getting Mad At The Match

Posted: November 29, 2008 in Just "Why?"

First, the article.

Activists protest Rent-A-Center’s fees
BY EDGAR SANDOVAL
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

When Niurka Feliz walks by the Rent-A-Center in her Brooklyn neighborhood, she can’t help but feel ripped off.

Now she’ll be more careful not to enter into an agreement that would have her paying $85 a month for a laptop that costs only slightly more than $340.

Niurka, 16, turned in the laptop and asked how much it would cost her to buy it in payments.

“They told me $5,000,” she said. “That’s too much.”

“It turned out to be really expensive,” said Niurka, a high school student. “I thought it was the only way to have a laptop.”

A group of outraged activists led by the Rev. Al Sharpton feels Niurka’s pain.

Starting at noon, the group plans to protest outside the store at Bedford Ave. and Fulton St. in Brooklyn. The march ends at the corner of Marcus Garvey Blvd.

Activists feel the Texas-based corporation takes advantage of inner-city residents who can’t afford to pay outright for new appliances. Rent-A-Center offers seemingly cheap deals, but the numbers quickly add up, activists and some shoppers say. (more…)

Matches are to be used only by people who are fully aware of the risks and demonstrate responsibility when in use. If an individual MISuses a match causing great damage or even death, do you blame the match or the individual?

Rent-a-centers were NEVER intended to provide permanent fixtures in the home. Yet for some reason there are many folks out there who feel that paying a “low monthly installment” is a great deal on a television they will never own. Sharpton could be much more effective training these folks on how to both save their money and improve their credit. The truth is that the help is out there. Yet some folks are fully resolved on forcing the round peg through the square hole. Meanwhile, all the rest of us can do is watch and hope for the same epiphany many of us experienced at some point in our lives.

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Wil says:

    Poor people are targets of business, and society in general. It costs much more to be poor than it does to be rich. If you are poor you will pay more for food, gas, housing, virtually everything, and in return get the worst deals and the lowest quality.
    In the past, when I lived full time in San Francisco, as an upwardly mobile single man, I thought that I had to ignore the poor and homeless because there are so many of them. But now with maturity, I will not so quickly turn my back on those among us who are poor. I once walked past a young Black mother with three children in a doorway who looked at me imploringly as I walked past her to get in my new BMW and go drinking. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes. No more sneering disregard for the plight of the poor for me!

  2. Duane says:

    It cost more to have a poor mindset rather than actually being poor. Just as you and others have the mental ability to explore less expensive options that meet the general need, so do those in our country who are categorized as being “poor”. The reality is that some choose to exercise that ability while others do not.

  3. Wil says:

    You are absolutely right about the dangers of a poor mindset. As the elders in our family used to say “poor people have poor ways”. Yet, I think that you will agree that the essential nature of poverty is entrapment, both psychological and physical. Those that are entangled in the nets of poverty need help, BOTH physical, and psychological in order to break free.

  4. Duane says:

    Those that are entangled in the nets of poverty need help, BOTH physical, and psychological in order to break free.

    But not everybody that would be considered poor wants help. The problem comes when well-intentioned folks want it more than they do.

    For those that want the help, by all means help them.

  5. Wil says:

    I don’t think that I have ever met anyone who wants to be poor, however, I have met lots of people who can’t figure a way out of poverty. That is where compassion comes in, we seek ways to help others rather than look down our noses and think about how stupid they are. I agree that some people are too proud to seek help, others are unaware that they need help, and some think that they cannot be helped.
    It would have been great if someone could have been able to help the poor girl understand that she was being sucked into that predatory computer financing scheme…Also, I’ll bet that she would have to drive way across town to find a Circut City, or a Fry’s to sell her a new laptop computer for $350.00 total, there is likely no such deal in her neighbourhood.

  6. Duane says:

    I don’t think that I have ever met anyone who wants to be poor

    It’s not that people want to remain poor–it’s just that there are many people out there who do not want to do what it takes to get out of poverty.

    I have met lots of people who can’t figure a way out of poverty

    Poverty doesn’t cause brain damage. Yes, the road to success may be more challenging for some than others, but there are more than enough resources here in this country for anybody to make it–if they really want it. The long line of immigrants to this country is proof of that fact.

    I’ll bet that she would have to drive way across town to find a Circut City, or a Fry’s to sell her a new laptop computer for $350.00 total, there is likely no such deal in her neighbourhood.

    There are libraries all throughout NYC where free computer and internet access is provided. She could have just as easily walked there or caught a bus to the library. While on the net, she could have shopped for a great starter laptop for somewhere in the neighborhood of $350-$450. In about 4-5 months at $85/mo, she could afford to buy one brand new. New York is filled with hundreds of online retailers where she could get a very good price on a name-brand laptop. If she does not have a credit card? No prob. Many online retailers accept paypal. People do this all the time, regardless of economic status.

    Now one can’t be so hard on this girl because she is probably doing what she has seen done over and over again in her family and community. But that is where Al Sharpton and his Action Network should come in play. Instead of wasting time stirring up anger in these folks like this young girl, perhaps his organization can help her think beyond the rent-a-center.

    This girl may be poor, but it is her poor mindset that is dampening her future. No thanks to Sharpton.

  7. Give it a rest says:

    People need education just as much as the Rent-a-Centers need to be removed from our neighborhoods.

    It is perfectly OK for AL Sharpton to protest against Rent-a-center and their horrible business practices. This is how he is getting the word out on the street that people need not do business with this place.

    Talking about the Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, is a worthless activity. It is obvious that far too many poor black folks ARE ignorant about money and finances and will engages in destructive business transactions. THAT IS WHY THERE ARE RENT-A-CENTERS in the hood/ ghetto along with many other business that do NOT have the peoples best interest at heart!

    The irony is that many of these businesses are being run by those so-called “good” black folks that are sitting right next to you in church on Sunday. Yeap the same jacka$$es that make statements to the effect of questioning why poor black folks can’t get there act togehter are the same folks that are taking advantage of their ignorance.

    “There are libraries all throughout NYC where free computer and internet access is provided. She could have just as easily walked there or caught a bus to the library.”

    FYI: The library situation in NYC is NOT all that great. There are some very good large libraries in the major business areas but the vast majority of the libraries in NYC are small, poorly equiped, have limited hours, are crowded, and just plain suck. Internet access can be described as three PCs of which one is cronically broken. Many libraries are also known hang out spots for homeless men. I can understand why many people will not use the local library, sometimes it is neither clean or safe. When the library closes at 5pm one weekday, 3pm on another, and is NOT open on Saturday it can be very hard to many use of the internet there if you are a student who is in class at 10am when the library opens.

    Forget the library route Niurka should just fill out the latest “Capital One” pre-approved credit card application get her 27.9% interest rate and hop on that bus to Best Buy. Needless to say she would have been walking out of that store not with a $400 laptop but a $1500 one.

    Now who is going to teach Niurka about money management when so many people (many black included) are all willing to enrich themsleves off of her ignorance? Her ignorance is very good for business and profit.

    I am sure that a few stores away from the Rent-A-Center some good intentioned individual is going to open up a “credit management service” to help Niurka out (FOR A FEE) once she has truly F*&Ked up her finances.

  8. Duane says:

    Boy, someone must have really screwed you over since practically every issue you find a way to blame christians.

    The library situation in NYC is NOT all that great.

    But people still manage to use them and get the information they need just like any other place.

    …along with many other business that do NOT have the peoples best interest at heart.

    Busnesses are meant for one thing only: to make money. Uplifting a race out of ignorance is not their responsibility. You will find plenty of fast food restaurants and stores in White communities that sell items that frankly folks do not need. Frankly, its far easier for Sharpton and others to blame the store rather than instructing people how to spend their money wisely. I also think that it is far too easy to assume that this girl is dumb as a wash rag just because she lives in a poor community. With a little instruction (if she wants it), she could be selling laptops in the future.

  9. Give it a rest says:

    Only “So-Called Christians”, you know the type that talk a good game about god but are willing to profit from another man’s pain.

    ” Businesses are meant for one thing only: to make money” With this line of thinking I guess we should praise every crack dealer in the hood, they too are only in it for the money. If they are successful at making a lot of money are they successful?
    I will answer that for you, NO!

    But, honestly the local crack dealer and the guy/ gal that will open a Rent-A-Center will both choose the best location they can for that particular type of business. Location is EVERYTHING, and the best location for both business enterprises is a poor community. They do target these folks based on their lack of education and financial knowledge so why is it OK to tell the crack dealer to go to hell but the Rent-A-Center gets a free pass?

    Cut Rev. Al some slack here. He has choosen his method of dealing with this problem and is acting on it. He does have a very valid point, Rent-A-Centers need to go and people need to be instructed as to WHY. That is what protests are for.
    The protest also puts the owner on notice, find a better way to make money around here.

    Now as far a I know the good Rev Al is not the highest educated man in our community nor does he claim to be. He is doing what he knows best and should be respected for it. The question is were are all of the other smart, financially savvy black folks that should be willing to help out and teach these people about money and finances?

    Al has swung with the right arm now it is up to someone else (who cares) to now swing with the left.

  10. Duane says:

    Only “So-Called Christians”, you know the type that talk a good game about god but are willing to profit from another man’s pain.

    Again, “so-called Christians” aren’t the only ones doing this. Yet you continue to focus almost exclusively on them.

    If they are successful at making a lot of money are they successful?

    Absolutely.

    Granted, their success comes at the expense of the community. However, they are successful by definition ( The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted).

    They do target these folks based on their lack of education and financial knowledge so why is it OK to tell the crack dealer to go to hell but the Rent-A-Center gets a free pass?

    First of all, there are worlds of differences between crack and renting a television, so let’s be real for a minute. Second, if there is a customer base and a desire for the service, why not? Pretty soon, folks who overpay for rental services will get enough lumps on their head and will figure out a better way to invest their money. While this may not be the best way of learning a life lesson, for some it is the best teacher. Again, these folks are not a bunch of retards. Just as you were able to figure out what to do to become successful, they can do it too.

    He does have a very valid point, Rent-A-Centers need to go and people need to be instructed as to WHY.

    That is the problem. Based on what I have both read about this issue and his “Action Network”, he isn’t doing Jack to instruct people how to wisely spend their money. His solution? A bullhorn and local media attention. If he was willing to do a commercial for LoanMax (a check cashing spot) a few years ago, I doubt very seriously he suddenly got religion over the evils of charging po’ folks high interest rates.

    The question is were are all of the other smart, financially savvy black folks that should be willing to help out and teach these people about money and finances?

    Ready, willing and able to pass on the knowledge, my brutha. At the same time, just as the “savvy Black folks” you mentioned had to work hard to get theirs, folks should not automatically expect a hook up.

  11. Wil says:

    The ancient Greeks spoke of four types of love and tough love was not one of them. Black people who have been able to figure out the system should take it upon themselves to find a way to impart knowledge to at least one other young Black person, in addition to their own children. You are in an excellent position to do that. I think of it as progressive conservatism rather than the triple K conservatism that believes the school of hard knocks is a good way for others to learn.
    Because of my business, I have worked with literally thousands of upper middle class people with a net worth of 3 to 5 million, as well as a few rich people also, and many of them will honestly acknowledge that they have achieved their success through help from others, (a hook up). It would be great if more Black business people woiud recognize the good that they can do by helping others.
    As G.I.A.R. says, success is more than making money at any cost. A business that exploits the community is not a good business. From what I have seen places like the rent-a-center, and cheque cashing places hurt those who are already having difficulty, and I give credit to Al Sharpton for speakling out against them.

  12. Duane says:

    The ancient Greeks spoke of four types of love and tough love was not one of them.

    This has nothing to do with “tough love”. This is life 101. Your rationale is exactly what keep folks like this in a perpetual state of dependence.
    I believe that people who want to better themselves are smart enough to figure it out JUST LIKE YOU. There are no “yeah, buts” about it. Being poor doesn’t equal mental retardation. Yet based on you guys comments, economic condition is a direct reflection on mental capacity. For every Niurka out there who is only knows to rely on her local rent-a-center, there are numerous Black folks in her same economic position that know how to hustle and get what they need without Sharpton yelling for them.

    Black people who have been able to figure out the system should take it upon themselves to find a way to impart knowledge to at least one other young Black person, in addition to their own children.

    Folks who want to better themselves generally do. Tell you what, find yourself a person with a history of not wanting to better himself. Force your knowledge impartation on them and tell me how it goes. They will laugh you out of the building and I will be laughing with them as well.

    It would be great if more Black business people woiud recognize the good that they can do by helping others.

    Beyond your doorstep you will find that many Black entrepreneurs do reach out to help fellow Blacks within their community. Between what I have experienced personally and based on the many Black entrepreneurs I have known over the years, one of the biggest complaints you will hear is that folk automatically expect some sort of hook up on price for their services (what I was referring to earlier). Also, another complaint I hear quite often has to do with hiring your own folk. The Philadelphia Black Chamber of Commerce a few years ago made the following statement:

    “In a recent survey of its member-businesses, the Philadelphia-area African-American Chamber of Commerce (AACC) found that 40 percent are experiencing difficulty in finding appropriately trained employees to work in their companies and that targeted training programs would allow them to hire more people, with greater confidence.

    Among the impediments to finding suitable employees, the businesses said, was “technical skills deficiency,” “insufficient training,” “lack of expertise in the business’s specialty,” “lack of education,” a “lack of a clean background” and a “lack of work ethic, professionalism and punctuality.”

    As G.I.A.R. says, success is more than making money at any cost.

    If making money is the ultimate goal, then again by definition that person is successful. You may not like the subtext of what is being deemed “successful”, but it is success without a doubt.

    A business that exploits the community is not a good business.

    A person that will not go to their local library, open a phone book find out the phone # to the nearest credit counseling services, pick up a newspaper to find out the latest deals on the same stuff you will find in your typical rent-a-center by default chooses to be exploited.

    Now come on! If you and your family had your backs against the wall financially, you would use any and all resources around you to provide some relief. So why expect less from those who are in the same predicament?

    From what I have seen places like the rent-a-center, and cheque cashing places hurt those who are already having difficulty…

    From what I experienced, those check cashing places were the very thing that kept my family afloat when our paychecks did not cover our living expenses. Were the interest rates high? You better believe it. However it was the very thing my wife & I used to provoke us to move ahead. For us, check cashing places were nothing more than a temporary fix. Making it any more than that would have kept us in the hole.

    As I said in my earlier comment, one cannot be but so hard on this girl because she is probably operating on limited knowledge passed down to her by family members (I mean, come on! The girl is just 16). However, I would challenge anyone to show me how Sharpton’s approach has changed the spending habits of poor Black folks. And please keep in mind that this is the same Al Sharpton who had no problem appearing in a commercial for a check cashing shop not too long ago.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s