Posted by: Kate | January 8, 2008

Commercial-Induced Nausea

My sister Sarah is staying with us for a few weeks, so that in the evenings when I’m on a hospital call and Willem is frantically cramming every possible tiny bit of last-minute higher-level math knowledge into his brain before his comprehensive exams, we don’t need to just toss the kids into a closet with some snacks and a flashlight until I get home.

Amongst her other contributions to the household, she’s doing what she can to drag me into the dark and seamy (ha!) world of Project Runway. I’d never watched it before, but my normal regime of Bill-Kurtis-narrated mean-people-doing-bad-things shows makes Sarah jumpy and wide-eyed, so we’re branching out. It’s kind of fun; I don’t know if she’ll be here long enough to activate a true addiction but random surreal competition under the guise of “reality programming” is always a delight. Those sorts of shows are so carefully edited and designed to maximize the insanity of other people that I end up feeling better about myself, at least until my favorite character is voted off.

Anyway, so, today we were watching, and since it’s on Bravo, a channel I don’t typically watch, I’m seeing all sorts of new commercials, too. Including one from this place.

Cash Call! Call us now! We’ll give you the money you need when no one else will. Cash Call trusts you.

It really, really says that in the commercial. Seriously.

And then, if you watch real close, there’s a two-second blip of the terms and conditions, and it hides a cute, tiny, insignificant little fact in there: on a loan of $2,525 over 42 months, there is a 99.25% APR.

Holy financial insanity, Batman!

I understand, all too well, the feeling of panic when you have so little money in your checking account that you can’t withdraw it from the ATM because it won’t dispense coins. I know the feeling of weighing the dual pressures of wanting to eat and wanting to pay rent, and not being sure I could do either. But, praise all that is fiscally reasonable, I was able to avoid these sorts of companies, which means I didn’t have to sell my firstborn child immediately after her birth.


  1. I don’t need the money all that badly, but I’m ready to sell my firstborn. Any takers?

    Seriously, though, isn’t it sad that there are people who are in a position where that is the only available option? And isn’t it sad that there are others who prey on those low moments in someone’s life?

  2. Really, how do they sleep at night?

  3. I hate those predatory lenders. They prey on people who are desperate and perhaps not educated enough to realize what they are signing off on. I don’t pay interests if I can help it.

  4. Project Runway rocks. I started watching it last season, and I’ve been following this season. I like Top Chef, too. I’m generally not into reality TV, but enjoy these. You do, however, get to see some interesting commercials on these channels.

  5. Gee I had no idea…no wonder they are really trying to control those types of companies here…WOW 99.25%??? THAT IS INSANE!!!!

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