I had an interesting encounter with a sales clerk while checking out at Kohl’s this past weekend. I rarely shop there, but I had a one hour window of time with my daughter to find her some jeans that fit. I know Kohl’s carries a particular brand that fits my daughter and the store is convenient to my house.
This is how the conversation went with the clerk while making my purchase.
Clerk: Hi! Do you have a Kohl’s card?
Clerk: Would you like to sign up for one?
Me: No, thank you.
Clerk: What, you don’t like saving money?
Me: I don’t do debt.
Then I pulled out my envelope system and handed him my cash from the clothing envelope.
I know that many store clerks are required to ask and meet a sign up quota to keep their job. Somehow I had forgotten this and I was caught off guard and shocked by the clerk’s insinuating tone. He was insinuating that I don’t like to save money, because I don’t use their store branded credit card.
In that split-second before I replied I was totally disgusted that he would even suggest that I would save money by using a credit card. I facilitate Dave Ramsey’s FPU and this kind of stuff makes my blood boil. Credit cards very rarely ever save you money.
The store is in the business of upselling a shopper a line of credit, because it is very profitable for them. Kevin Mansell, a Kohls Chairman said in 2011, “We continue to benefit from strong profitability in our credit card partnership with Capital One as bad debt expenses declined significantly over last year.” They gladly give you a measly 10% off your first purchase and future “rewards” in exchange for the possibility of you using the card again and not paying the balance in full.
I was at their store to purchase my daughter a pair of pants and not their credit product. I’d rather pay my cash and be done with the whole thing. No mail containing a pending balance will come to remind me of a t-shirt and pants that I purchased three weeks ago.
Be prepared with a comeback if a clerk asks you to sign up for a credit card. Usually a polite ‘no thank you’ is enough to answer them. They are just doing their job after all, but sometimes you’ll encounter a pushy sales clerk and it’s best to have your answer ready.
Here are a few more statistics about credit card debt:
According to Nerd Wallet credit card debt is the third largest source of household indebtedness, averaging $7,193 per household as of November 2012.
According to Fox Business U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) released a report that found that many store-branded cards charge interest rates that are much higher than traditional credit cards — the average store credit card interest rate is 24%.
According to Simple Dollar store cards have very low minimum required payments and it would take you decades to pay off the balance.
Have you ever been a store sales clerk pushing credit cards? How have you responded to credit card offers in a store?