Unsophisticated Consumers Tend to Succumb to the Temptation of Luxury and Convenience, Ignoring the Possible Consequences

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Distraught over mounting debt and an inability to pay her bills, 18-year-old freshman Mitzi Pool hanged herself to death, in her dorm room at the University of Central Oklahoma. She had spread out on her bed, her checkbook and the bills for three credit cards she had maxed out to $2,500. How does a college freshman barely old enough to vote, end up with three credit cards and insurmountable debt? Many, young people first learn to be fully responsible for their personal expenses in college. Most of them are new to, or uninformed about the idea of credit cards. They enter college eager to do many things for the first time. Credit card companies are eager too—eager to introduce students to their products. According to Creola Johnson, an Associate Professor in “Michael E. Moritz College of Law,” in “Ohio State University,” in his article, “Maxed Out College Students: A call to limit credit card solicitations on college campuses,” “Entering college students are bombarded with an average of eight credit card offers during their first week of college. Nearly half of all students receive credit card applications on a daily or weekly basis, and most receive applications at least a few times per month.” Basically, Johnson is pointing out that one of the main reasons why students get more credit cards than they can handle is because credit card solicitors unfairly exploit and lure them into the credit card spending habit. With free food and merchandise sporting the college's logo, tables full of colorful and attractive promotional brochures, and loaded with free t-shirts, freebies, and other attractive gifts, well trained, persuasive and persistent sales people from credit card companies prey on naive students, deceptively luring them into applying for credit cards even though most of these students are usually unemployed or low-income workers. The sales people emphasize on the luxury that can come with owning credit cards, but conceal the truth about the interest rates and fees associated with them. I agree with Johnson that these students are unsophisticated, so they tend to succumb to the temptation of luxury and convenience brought about by such aggressive marketing tactics of credit card sales people, without taking cognizance of the possible consequences; by the time they leave school, a majority of them will have multiple credit card debts. Let us consider the case of Halim Uzel. In an article by “Mark Landler,” titled “Outside U.S., Credit Cards Tighten Grip,” Uzel’s experience as an unsophisticated credit card user was referenced. He was a 32 years old adult and a textile factory worker in Istanbul, Turkey. With an income of about $3,460 a year, Uzel got his first taste of credit when in 1999 two sales men from a Turkish bank turned up on the floor of his workplace, hawking credit cards. Showing them identification documents, and filling out a one-page form, was all that was needed to get him approved for a Visa and a MasterCard, both of which he received in the mail three weeks later. How excited he must have been to have a purchasing power far more than his annual income. By 2001, however, Uzel was deep in debt; he owed nearly $6,000 in unpaid balances on five credit cards. It took him seven years of hard work, borrowing from friends, family, and even his boss, to pay off this huge debt. "My best years as a young man have been wasted," said Uzel. "I haven't had a social life for 10 years; I've given the last penny in my pocket to the banks," he added. Essentially, Uzel had to deprive himself socially, and spend more time working hard to pay back the credit card debts. Obviously, Uzel regretted his actions, wanted his debt-free life back, and had to face the consequences he had ignored when he gave into the allure of luxury and convenience. Mitzi and Uzel are examples of thousands of unsophisticated people worldwide who succumbed to the lure of luxury and convenience, ignoring the price they would have to pay for such....
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