Ever see the credit card ads where people are doing normal everyday stuff with someone's hand in their pocket and in the background someone is singing a catchy phrase "hands in my pocket, hands in my pocket, hands in my pocket"?
From the time one reaches young adulthood, and gains some sort of independence, it seems as if there are people lined up to put their hands into your pockets.
At every stage in life someone comes along with some offer which is supposedly for your benefit but which always involves an outlay of cash on your part because hey we all know better than to think that anything in life is free. So not only do we have to deal with a society that says you need to have this, that and the third in order to be hip and where its cool to be material and spend money but we also have to deal with hipsters trying to reach deeper into our pockets to make us spend even more than we wanted to spend in the first place.
For me I saw it start in University, from Frosh (Freshman) week even where the banks set up their little credit card booths offering those fresh out of high school university students logo ridden free pens, cheap hats and frisbees in exchange for signing up to get their card which is somehow always the right card for your needs as a student. Always reminded me of Esau selling off his birthright to Jacob for a "mess of pottage" actually.
Credit cards, cant live without them they say, build up your credit rating for when you need to buy a house or car in the future, its all good and we have a special introductory interest rate so its no worries man, everything irie, don't sweat the fine print. What they didn't tell you is that significant amounts of students end up heavily in credit card debt because they end up relying heavily on the cards to get them by and pay off only the monthly minimum leading to more debt, besides student loans, before they even get into the job market.
Then you graduate, leave school and get a job. Even before your first paychecks arrives suddenly you get folks trying to set you up for the future by getting you to invest in retirement plans and arguing, quite rightly actually, that the best time to start is as early as possible. You get the calls, the profiles and portfolios with the charts and you're overwhelmed by projections on pretty laser printed color pages of how you can have millions of dollars at your disposal on retirement, almost tax free, if you just start investing right now at that very instant that the pen is trust into your hand. Invest $25 a month right now at age 22 without delay and that's better than investing 5 times that amount when you're 32 the pitch goes. To not invest means you're obviously clueless, you haven't understood their sales pitch.
Help us to help you they say cause if you don't then we're wasting our time and you're obviously slow in the head. But you've got to wonder why so many strangers are suddenly so interested in your welfare and wellbeing don't you? I know I am but then I've always been a skeptic. (Its called commissions based salaries if you didn't know the answer.)
Oh and you need insurance too because God forbid your hand is chopped off by a random low flying piece of galvanised aluminum in a flash windstorm on the way to work tomorrow. But nobody don't use galavanized aluminum in Toronto you argue. That's not the point it fly in on BWIA or something man stay with the program. The galvanize chop off ya hand and ya look like a one arm bandit wha ya gine do? Insurance all for a low premium of $9.95 a month cause ish can happen. Do you want us to put that on your credit card, sir?
Then one gets married. Not sure how they find out but it seems as if the vultures swoop in for a kill then. Congrats on jumping the broom! So you're a DINK (double income no kids) now good for you. We wish you all the success in the world. Well boy do we have a deal for you! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity!
More insurance offers, no medical exam necessary of course. What do I need more insurance for you wonder? Well God forbid you suddenly had a heart attack from eating all that souse on Saturdays and those pig tails on Sunday and died tomorrow wouldn't you feel so ashamed if your spouse couldn't handle the expenses when you were gone. Hmmm let me think. Well actually when I'm dead I'm not sure I'd still be feeling emotions like shame but ummm yea right sure. Here sign on the dotted line. What do you mean you don't want more insurance? You've already got insurance? But their plan isn't as good as ours meaning rather you haven't given us a piece of your money yet so be fair and sign up with us. What are you some sort of moron. Do I have to explain this to you again? $100,000 on death payable to your spouse all for $9.95 a month and the first three months premiums are on us, you cant beat that. We'll even cover health and hospital costs in case of a nail juk or pencil cut that doesn't lead to death. We got your back son, we'll hook you up.
No diggidy! (does anyone still use that phrase?) You still don't want it well what if I explain it this way? Still No? Damn you're definitely a moron and you'll regret this cause you know you can never have enough insurance but have a nice day anyway sir.
Oh and of course there are the time share people. Come on you need a vacation every year at one of our luxurious time share locations, just throw down $5,000 upfront for a special package where you can probably get the place of your choice for 2 days in the rainiest part of the rainy season if you're lucky or $10,000 for the premium, super deluxe, biggie sized, extra crispy with fries package.
This is a once in a lifetime offer. You cant beat it man! But ummm I'm trying to save for a deposit on a house. House smouse! Whatever guy, you don't need a house, 10Gs is neither here nor there for you and a house. Trust me my yout you don't need a house. I've got a house (from all the money I've fleeced from people like you) and let me tell you they are just expensive as all hell to maintain. Naa man, forget the house business. Everything is everything. What you really need to do is hook up one of our time shares in Florida or Mexico or Guantanamo ummm I mean Guatemala or someplace like that. Surely you can spare 5Gs if you're not a cheapskate? Come on man do you want your wife to think you're a cheapskate? Imagine lounging at the pool at one of our luxurious locations soaking in the sun, recuperating from all that hard work. You know you deserve to treat yourself to something good after all that overtime you been putting in.
Here's a brochure but we need you to sign up within the hour cause at 730 another batch of gullible "you've won a free prize" suckers are coming in and we'd like to have fleeced you of your money by then so we can move on to them. What you don't want a time share? Well forget you then. Give us back our damn salad plate and hor d'oeuvres!Moron!
(Note to anyone ever trying to sell me anything. Never ever under any circumstances try to feed me, it just sets off way too many red flags in my head.)
Then you buy a house. (well you can always buy the house before the marriage thing its your choice but it works just the same just switch the paragraphs around) Well of course you need house insurance that goes without saying but did you know that you also need a plan. What plan? Well a maintenance plan to save money on water and heat and plumbing and electricity just in case you have an emergency. You've got to be prepared you know. All for only $19.95 a month that's pennies a sec if you think about it. It cant get any cheaper than that for our services in case your bathroom explodes while your furnace dies and your water heater floods your basement while your electrical wires shock you and the dust in your ducts chokes you at exactly the same point in time.
We can check your pipes for rust and your ducts for dust and your furnace and your whatsnot and your this and that. Hey and your lawn needs a professional service because why should you do the work yourself when you can be lazy and pay us some of that oodles of spare cash you have just lying around after you just gave the bank most of your life's earnings. And of course you're going to need a energy plan with the cost of heat rising these days and the driveway needs to be redone even though it was only redone last year and a new roof is definitely a necessity because well even though they claim they last a good 15-20 years you really should replace them like every 2 just for fun.
Oh and while we're at it lets replace the windows and the doors and install a security system and new faucets and come to think of it we'll give you a discount if you let us raze the the entire structure to the ground and we'll hook you up with a completely new abode. How does that sound? Come on man , you just bought a house I'm sure you've just loaded with cash to throw at these home improvement jobs. Don't you watch the Home improvement channel? You need to redo your kitchen, pimp your living room, pimp your garden, pimp your roof. You gots to keep up with the Jones son. You're making a big mistake by not taking us up on our once in a lifetime offer. Oh well your lost moron!
Then you have a baby. I aint sure if the hospital does give them your name or there is a baby version of an ambulance chaser who stations him/herself at the maternity ward but somehow they get your name and phone number. You need professional baby pictures, diaper delivery, we got the hook up on formula, damn we even have bootleg extra lactating breasts for sale. Here we'll send you free samples.
Oh wait you need to start a university fund, you need to set up a trust fund for the baby and of course you need more insurance cause now ya got a child and God forbid ya get lik down by a runaway mini-moke up on the 401 on the way to work what the poor chile and he mudda gine do. Cuhdear!
What do you mean you don't want our products? What kind of parent are you? Do you really love your child? Well what if we explain it this way? Its a once in a lifetime offer! Still no? Ok then that's your choice. Moron! Have a pleasant day sir!