The Return of Layaway?

 The Return of Layaway?

About five years ago Wal-mart decided it was no longer going to offer layaway plans.  What is layaway?  Layaway works by you walking in to the store, picking what you want and going back to a layaway counter and putting a down payment on it.  You then have a certain amount of time to pay it off then take it home.  If you don’t pay it off, it goes back on the sales floor and you get your money refunded minus a service charge.  The great ting is you don’t pay any interest like you do with credit cards.  The downside for the store is if someone else wants to buy what you put in layaway, they can’t and it may possibly cost the store a sale.  The upside, for the customer is they get to make payments on a purchase over time without paying exorbitant interest rates.  The only other problem for the consumer is you must plan your purchase and realize that you will not walk out with it that day.  I often used layaway at Wal-mart and was dismayed when they killed it off.

This holiday season is different.  The economy has not gotten better since Wal-mart has killed off layaway.  Sales at stores open for at least a year has been down for the last 9 quarters.  With the economy so bad, Wal-mart has to be shaking a little even though they are usually the price leader for almost everything.  In hoping to have a good holiday season, Wal-mart is temporarily bringing back layaway, but only for toys and electronics.  You must spend at least $50 and each item you put in layaway must be $15 or more.  The fee  is $5 and you must put 10% down on the layaway and have it paid off by December 16th.  Layaway starts on October 17th.  Oh and if you plan on putting Black Friday purchases in layaway you can’t as they will not allow layaway on November 25th.

I think this is a great move by Wal-mart.  In my neighborhood, Wal-mart was always busiest on the day of layaway pick up.  I remember waiting in line for 3 hours when Luke was little getting his tricycle out of layaway.  However, it was worth it because I didn’t have to have all the cash at the same time to get it done PLUS I also didn’t have to hide the tricycle until the 16th giving my son less time to find my hiding spot! 🙂

The only question is: Will I use it this year?  I sure will!  I plan on getting Luke some pretty pricey gifts this year and it would be much easier for me to pay it off over time.  So I plan on putting quite a few things in Wal-mart’s layaway and I will love doing it as there’s nothing I hate more than going deeper in debt.

Other stores that currently offer layaway are Kmart, Sears and T.J. Maxx at some stores.  There may be others in your local area so it’s worth checking out an option to have a great holiday without going in to debt!

So what do you think?  Will you use layaway if it’s offered in one of your local stores?  Should Wal-mart ever have gotten rid of it?

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About the Author

Joel McLaughlin
Joel is a consultant in the IT field and is located in Columbus, OH. While he loves Linux and tends to use it more than anything else, he will stoop to running closed source if it is the best tool for the job. His techno passions are Linux, Android, netbooks, GPS, podcasting and Amateur Radio.

2 Comments on "The Return of Layaway?"

  1. I can appreciate the appeal of layaway for someone who needs to keep presents hidden until Christmas, but I loathe the idea of going to a store multiple times to complete one purchase. I’ve also tried to avoid the trap of ever making payments (interest free or not) on any sort of relatively small purchase over time, except for major purchases like a vehicle or a home remodeling project that runs into a few thousand dollars.

    From the business side of the equation, it makes no sense at all. WalMart is already well aware of what a toll a layaway program places on their bottom line. I’m sure the bean counters are looking for ways to boost business, but it never helps to get more sales when the cost of administering the program is going to eat up all the additional profit those sales generate.

  2. I haven’t used Layaway for years, but I can see a number of pluses for Walmart in doing this.  It may get a few pre-christmas sales they wouldn’t have gotten that would have been lost to online retailers, but the biggest advantage for retailers offering layaway has always been the added return traffic you get from people coming in at least each month after the layaway to make payments.  It’s no coincidence that layaway counters are at the back of the store.  They may not get a major profit boost from the “super duper hotwheels set” you put aside for little junior, but on your monthly or bi-monthly return trips to make payments they hope to get some added sales from you picking up milk and eggs you’d otherwise have picked up at the grocery store or extra household goods on sale you pass by on your way to hidden layaway counter.

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