Layaway’s back baby!!

Many of you may have no memory at all of layaway….but I do. The idea that you buy something but you can’t take it home  ’cause it ain’t paid for, is fairly exotic to many, but layaway used to be quite common…and simple really. You pick out your Easter dress…or a new refrigerator, and put some cash down on it, but you don’t take it home. It’s really the exact oposite of credit but with the same result in the end, only with credit, you  get the item then and pay for it later. With layaway, you pay for it in installments first, and then, you take it home. My co-anchor Stan Stovall and I were chatting at the newsdesk yesterday about layaway….we both remember it well. “Gotta pay on it”, he said, “Pay on it or you’ll lose it!” And now, layaway… born of times when people were short of cash… is reborn.

What happened to immediate gratification??

What happened to immediate gratification??

Actually K-Mart, which is making layaway a big part of it’s holiday ad campaign, has always had layaway…they’re just promoting it now. It will be interesting to see if other retailers get on board….lots of stores don’t have the space for it of course…think of hundreds of soft, cashmere sweaters at J.Crew in the back room on layaway, oh, and the record keeping it would take. Though come to think of it, computers should make that pretty simple….”Hey, I just dropped by to put 10 bucks on on cashmere cardigan.”

Sometimes there is a fee attached to layaway…if it’s very much, it may not be a very good buy….but if it isn’t, it allows you to buy something you might need or just want…especially at holiday time…and pay it off a little every week or month…and here’s a bonus. You don’t have to store it. Might come in handy if you’re wondering where on earth you’ll keep that bike for your kid’s Christmas without him finding it. Let K-Mart store it until Christmas.

And of course, there is online layaway… says on it’s website….”Our intuitive calculator allows you to break down your order’s purchase price over 3 to 13 monthly payments. eLayaway™ will automatically deduct the payments from your checking account and you will receive your order once it’s paid in full. ”

We’ll see if it catches on. Really a big part of the enjoyment of  buying something new is the anticipation of it….once we actually get it…well…maybe it’s not all that after all. Any of you have fond memories of layaway?? Or not so fond?


3 Responses

  1. Having worked at Kmart in the late 70’s, I remember layaway well. It was a huge thing in the store. Kmart never had the store revolving charge card like Sears or Hechts but they had layaway instead.

    I remember my wife and I purchasing our living room furniture from Levinson and Klein on layaway. We bought the set about a year before the wedding and each month we would go to the store and pay $60. Then we would wander the store looking at all the furniture we couldn’t afford.

    I heard about this on the news the other day and it made me think about those days.

  2. I made my first layaway purchase recently. I wanted to buy a good mountain bike. A local store was selling off its stock of bicycles from the past year. I was able to buy a bicycle that was selling for $1200 for $650. The advantage with buying this bike new over a used bike was that this store is small, with friendly staff and they offer lifetime service on the bicycles they sell. I talked to the guys and they told me I could buy the bicycle by putting 10% down. I would then have 6-months to pay off the balance and pick up the bike. It was a perfect solution. I could buy a good bicycle at a great price and pay it off over the winter when I would not be riding my bicycle anyway. The store charged so fees and I have to pay no interest. I will certainly be using such deals more often in the future.

  3. I have enjoyed your blog for months and have gotten some great tips and recommendations from reading it- thank you. I’m a small e-retailer and I’m not too sure about this e-layaway. It’s very expensive for the retailer to participate- up to $50-75/month. Those monthly fees will kill you.

    If you have a moment, have a look at our site at, an eco-friendly lifestyle website. No layaway, yet, but we think it’s worthwhile just the same.

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