Friday, June 15, 2007

New VISA Commercial Puts Down Consumers Who Use Cash

Boy, am I going to vent!!

Television commercials are often some of the most clever pieces of advertising out there. They can be memorable. And they can flat out send the wrong message.

Currently, there is a new commercial for VISA that implies that businesses of all kind run smoothly because everyone is using a credit card or debit card. Now, the commercial may be aimed at getting people to use VISA debit cards, but it is never stated. So the implication -- especially for younger viewers -- is that EVERYONE is using credit cards. What makes it frustrating for me and many others is that the commercial blatantly goes on to paint people who pay for something with cash or a check as somehow being "out of step" with the rest of society. To be succinct, the commercial blames us folks (yes, me included) for somehow "interrupting" the smooth flow of commerce.

So why does this commercial get me so worked up? Because consumer debt, or the credit crunch, or whatever you want to call it, is what has so much of our society in financial trouble. And regular readers of this blog know I vent A LOT about consumer debt screwing up families and their ability to invest in real estate, or even buy a home. The whole sub-prime loan problem is another issue I have dealt with in earlier posts. But these commercials flat out send the wrong message. There are two or three versions of the same commercial too.

Let's take it a step farther. I talk to people nearly every week who say they wish they could start investing in real estate. But they can't get a decent loan, or even put together a respectable down payment, because of the mountain of consumer debt they have piled up -- mostly in credit cards. And the credit card companies urge consumers to spend, spend, spend. And when people spend, spend, spend, they don't learn to save and invest, because they are satisfying their need for instant gratification, which the credit card companies enable.

I prefer to pay cash for just about everything. Why? Its my choice. And I'm not into the instant gratification thing. But I also know that when I'm short on cash, I don't buy stuff. Now retailers may not like that. But VISA is saying with its commercial, "oh don't worry, with our card you can have anything you want, anytime you want . . . AND you won't be a distraction or interrupt the smooooooooth goings on at your favorite retailers.

Bottom line? For me, I'll keep doing what I do. And so will millions of other Americans. We'll pay cash . . . and if that holds up a line, so be it! With commercials like these we'll soon be raising yet another generation that can't invest in their future because they believe its okay to buy a $4 pack of cigarettes, or better yet, a couple of cans of Red Bull -- with a credit card. SHEESH!!!

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