Tuesday, July 20, 1999

Hey Stranger, Want Some Plastic?

by by

You've seen them. They are clean, smiling, pretty, and evil.

They are at the ball game, the bike race, the community fireworks display, and especially the college campus. They will coax you in with their young and tender feminine wiles, saying with a wide-eyed innocence: "Want some candy? How about a T-shirt or bucket hat? All you have to do is fill out this form for our credit card. Do you like sports? Your card can have a picture of your favorite team."

This is how they got me. I was young, hungry, poor, and collegiate. There they were, offering me a Kit-Kat bar and a chance at unlimited cash -- anytime, anywhere, at just 18.9%. In my naivete I bought books, CDs, a bike and thought, "I'll pay it back someday."

I'm still paying.

Here's the simple advice: Beware of the siren song. Don't take candy from young coeds offering credit cards. And by all means, send the card with your favorite ballplayer back unless they lower the interest rate to something reasonable.

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