Thursday, June 18, 2009

Too Smart for My Own Good Sometimes

For literally about 30 years, I've been interested in economic and financial issues. Even in elementary schools, I was checking out books on money, personal finance and economics.

In 1980, while following the economy closely in the Wall Street Journal, I told my neighbor that the prime rate would go to 20% before it went back down. Which it did.

So, after a detour in college studying Government, I went to graduate school and studied Economics. Among other things, I became very interested in consumer credit (in fact, later on, I would become a debt collector). Meanwhile, I put myself through part of graduate school by working in a bookstore.

One fine day in the bookstore:

Male customer at register, paying with credit card from First Penury Bank (not its real name).

Yours truly (not exactly sotto voce): Wow, I recognize that card. First Penury pioneered the concept of security deposits for credit cards. That makes it possible for people with bad credit to get credit cards. I'm glad you got that opportunity.

Customer: Uh yeah, right.

Because of course, the very fact that I'm especially interested in consumer credit and particularly in developments like secured credit cards means that everyone else is willing to discuss it too. Including their own bad credit which forced them to get a card like that. And in public.

I cringe when thinking about it to this day. If I were the store manager and I heard someone saying that, at a very minimum I would send him/her home for the day - after a good tongue-lashing.

Customer, wherever you might happen to be, if you're somehow reading this: I'm very sorry. I had no intention of hurting your feelings - I just wasn't thinking. I would never even consider saying something like that again.


mama edge said...


I think we all have those "Oy, I can't believe I said that" moments. Like the time I was exercising my five-months pregnant body at the local track, and I found myself next to a woman with a similar figure. I said, "Boy, after seeing all these chicks with abs of steel around here, it's really nice to have another baby belly on the track with me." She glared at me and spit out, "I'm. Not. Pregnant."


By the way, if you ever want to give out some stock tips with that prescient economic brain of yours, feel free to send some my way!

Mama E.

Jeff Deutsch said...

Hi Mama E.,

Ouch. On the one hand, I'm sure she got tired of hearing that. On the other hand, I'm sorry she didn't realize you probably meant well.

Thank you for the kind words. All I'm going to say now is the same thing I've been saying for months: the jobs picture is going to be bad (and it's not yet at its worst) until at least the middle of 2010.


Jeff Deutsch