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Diatribe: “Instant Credit” At The Check-Out line!


I learned many years ago that “Instant Credit” is a very bad idea.  Many retail establishments have continuous promotions whereby customers are invited to apply for a credit card in exchange for a percentage off of their first purchase using their new line of credit.  I tried it one time, on a sizeable purchase that I intended to pay for using cash that I’d saved.  It seemed wise to open a revolving account, save a percentage off the purchase, and then pay off the balance right away.

I’ve encountered this promotion in numerous department stores as well as major home improvement stores but, for the first time this week, I learned that it’s also done at Target.

While waiting to checkout in the Express Lane, since I only had a couple of items to purchase, the woman in front of me was invited by the cashier to open a “red account” and save ten percent on her purchase.  The cashier indicated to the woman that it was a simple procedure and all she needed was a driver’s license.

The cashier couldn’t open the account.  It was supposed to be “instant” but there was something about the woman’s identification that caused problems at the register.  After swiping and scanning and typing in the information three times, she still couldn’t figure it out.  The cashier called for help.  And I moved to a different line.

Several minutes later, after I’d paid for my purchase and was on my way out of the store, I noticed that the woman was STILL trying to pay for her purchase by opening a “red account”.  A supervisor had been called to help and the light above the Express Lane was dark indicating that the lane was closed.

“So much for ‘express’,” I thought to myself.  “Whatever she’s doing to save ten percent should be done at the customer service counter and certainly not in the Express Lane.”

Back when I took advantage of a similar promotion, I received undivided attention from a department manager who knew what to do.  It was quick and easy and other shoppers didn’t have to wait behind me.  My all-time biggest pet peeve continues to be having to wait to give someone my money.  It bothers me all the more when the person I’m waiting behind is getting a discount at what feels like my expense.

Have you ever taken advantage of one of these promotions?  If so, did other people have to wait while your request was processed?


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From → Diatribes

  1. I believe all such promotions, etc. should be suspended at Express Checkouts. People in these checkouts have chosen it because they want to be out of the store in a hurry. Offering them promotions or specials defeats the purpose of “Express Checkout.” Stores should honor their customers wishes.


  2. I remember having folks try to Instant Credit me in college, at the bookstore. They make it all sound so perfect ….
    It’s not.


  3. Doretta Szulimowski permalink

    Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won’t fail me just as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I truly believed you would probably have something helpful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you can fix if you weren’t too busy seeking attention.


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