Layaway Plans: Not Really Plans At All

Our mother loved, loved, loved layaway plans. For those of you not familiar with this term, when my sister and I were growing up, large department stores like Sears and JC Penney’s had what were called layaway plans. This meant you could pick out any number of items and with a small down payment, the items would be held until you paid off the remainder of the debt. Now in oh so many ways this was not a good idea for Mother. Being forgetful (and drunk), clueless (and drunk) and lazy (and drunk) meant she may or may not remember to make the necessary payments and she may or may not actually remember to pick the items up.

The other problem with layaway plans was that Mother made it sound like it was a job. She waxed on and on about the time it took to set up this plan and lots of effort to pick out all the items. Then of course you had to keep track of all the stores where you had to pay monthly and keep your payment plan books. Way too many details for Mother! Since our Christmas morning happiness was dependent upon Mother following through with the layaway plan, we did our best to encourage and assist her. This was often followed by her usual tirade of whining, griping, swearing and out of control rages. We were not amused.

Miraculously, on Christmas morning, the layaway items found their way under the tree. My sister and I were happy that we had presents to open, the department stores were elated to get rid of the shit Mother had drunkenly selected, and we learned another valuable lesson. Layaway is not a job nor is it a hobby.

In fact, my sister and I have never used layaway because of the history with Mother. Besides, we are into instant gratification and that never works when you aren’t allowed to take the items home.

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