Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

November 19, 2012

Stores bring back layaway, a once-popular buying practice

Corine O’Neill wanted to get her Christmas shopping done, but she was wary of drowning herself in the false security of a credit card.

“Being on a low budget, I wasn’t wanting to have a crazy ton of credit cards,” she said.

So when she discovered Kmart was offering layaway services, she decided to get her shopping done and pay gradually in the months before Christmas. She filled up two layaway boxes, worth about $100 each, paid a nominal down payment and scheduled a plan to pay every two weeks until the boxes are paid off — at which time she can take the items home. She’s even scheduled her payments alongside her paycheck, so when she gets paid, she knows to make a payment on her layaway items.

“This way, it doesn’t affect your credit score at all, but you’re able to stretch out your payments,” she said.

O’Neill is representative of many shoppers in 2012 who have been burned by bad credit or fearful of going into debt. Many stores have responded by creating or reinstating layaway programs that fell out of fashion years ago. Walmart, which discontinued layaway in 2006, brought it back last year after high customer demand, said spokeswoman Latoya Evans. In October, she said Walmart had lined up $400 million in U.S. layaway sales for the holiday season.

Walmart, Kmart and Sears have streamlined layaway programs this year to entice shoppers to participate. Kmart, for example, allows shoppers to create a layaway “basket” online, which can then be shipped to a home address.

“In our area, there’s high unemployment and high underemployment,” said Richard Feinberg, a Purdue University professor of consumer sciences and retailing. “What can stores do to help them buy more?”

Feinberg said layaway programs were very in common in the ’50s and ’60s, a time when credit cards weren’t used.

“When credit cards became more common, [layaway] went away,” he said. “And now we’re back again when people have maxed out their credit cards or don’t have credit cards.”

In the past, Feinberg said, layaway users were crippled by fees and hidden costs. But now, he said, many big-box stores have eliminated or lessened their severity. He says layaway, for a particular set of consumers, is a responsible choice — but warns consumers to keep up their payments.

“It’s extremely responsible, because you can’t get the merchandise unless you’ve paid for it,” he said. “You can’t go into debt that way.”

Each layaway program is different — some are offered only during the holiday seasons and some year-round.

Some restrict the types of items available for layaway, and down payments also differ. Feinberg advises reading the “fine print” before enrolling in any program.

Using layaway also rids shoppers of the worry of their desired merchandise going out of stock or being hard to find later in the holiday shopping season.

Kylie Taylor, who is participating in Walmart’s layaway program, bought toys for her son using layaway to make sure they wouldn’t be gone later.

“It was just better because I could get them out all at once,” she said. “I didn’t want to have to worry about Black Friday and running out.”  

Evans said having the items put away and protected gives customers a sense of security.

“Your merchandise is in the store,” she said. “You’ve touched it, you’ve seen it, you’ve put it there yourself.”

Megan Graham is the Kokomo Tribune business reporter. She can be reached by phone at 765-454-8570, email at megan.graham@kokomotribune.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • tornadodamage34-20-04.jpg Kokomo Skating Arena: 10 years gone

    If you drive past the intersection of East Morgan and North Ohio streets these days you’ll see some trees, a parking lot and a Dollar General store. What you won’t see is the Kokomo Skating Arena, a landmark which stood on this corner for decades until a tornado caved the roof in April 20, 2004. Those who knew it well said they won’t soon forget it.

    April 20, 2014 6 Photos

  • Question Time: Name a baby (or babies) today

    “Imagine you’re having a baby (or babies) today. What would you name it (or them) and why? (You can give answers for a girl, a boy or both; and any combination for twins, triplets, etc.)”

    April 20, 2014

  • 400SUnion.jpg Counties move forward with flood mitigation one year later

    One by one, properties were bulldozed from the neighborhood between Carter and Murden streets in downtown Kokomo, physically erasing evidence of residential flooding in an area long prone to it.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Flooded area - E Murden 01 Jaimz family seeks closure after losing everything Ashley Jaimz and her sister, Amanda Urbina, took a drive through the Cedar Crest neighborhood the other day to view how residents were faring in the wake of a Nov. 17 tornado. The drive was intended to provide some closure to Jaimz, who is still stru

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - FEMA 03 Kokomo resident whose basement collapsed during flood repairs own home

    Walter Raderstorf can still remember sitting in his living room inside his home on West Park Avenue, realizing he had escaped a brush with death. “I was in the basement carrying stuff up and I came in here and sat down,” he said. “It wasn’t 30 second

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Late Kokomo teacher dedicates estate to foundation Longtime Kokomo School Corp. teacher Holly Kirkpatrick will continue to have a positive impact on students thanks to a $38,000 donation from her estate to the Kokomo Public Schools Education Foundation. Kirkpatrick died in November 2012 after teachin

    April 20, 2014

  • flood anniversary Thomas family ready to move on after flood In the Thomas household, few things take precedent over baseball. You’d be hard-pressed to find a couple more dedicated to youth baseball in Kokomo — or anywhere else for that matter — than Michael and Lashanda Thomas, who have passed that love of th

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • EasterEgg hunt 10 'Controlled chaos' at city's Easter egg hunt With buckets and Easter baskets in hand, hundreds of kids 10 years old and younger packed Kokomo's Northwest Park Saturday to see who could grab up the most Easter eggs. Organizers split the kids up in three age groups, 0 to 3, 4 to 6 and 7 to 10, wi

    April 20, 2014 4 Photos

  • NWS-FloodFollowDay2-15.jpg April flood brought people together to bail out community

    [Editor’s note: On April 19, 2013, a record flood hit Howard and Tipton counties. Today, we look at some of the financial aspects of the flood. In Sunday’s edition, look for stories about people who were affected, what has changed in the floodplains and how the communities are moving forward.]

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-KT041914-TwoinjuredinMiamiCocrash-CLG-pic.jpeg Two injured in Miami County crash

    PERU — Two people were injured Thursday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of U.S. 24 and Ind. 19.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries