May’s (Financial) Retard of the Month

Apparently we take requests now. A fellow blogger, who seems judicious and thus almost certainly doesn’t want us to use her name, suggested today’s Retard of the Month honoree. Her recommendation has plenty of the characteristics you’d want in a RotM:

  1. A first-person story about all the money he’s made? Of course not. How about a first-person story about all the debt he’s incurred? ($50,000 in this case. At least he claims to have paid his debt off, unlike almost all of his indistinguishable contemporaries.)
  2. “Debt” in the URL.

That’s about all you need to qualify to be RotM.

It’s a strange phenomenon, and one that might be particular to North American* society: digging oneself a hole, jumping in, then climbing out to reach level ground, is somehow nobler than never having dug the hole in the first place. It’s no different than praising fat people who undergo laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery (or even those who use the more ethical and lasting diet-and-exercise method) to get to a normal size, while denying accolades to the conscientious people who never descended into gluttony in the first place. For example:

Chris Christie

“Looking good, Governor Christie! Have you lost weight?”


John Hickenlooper

“Better keep an eye on that waistline, Governor Hickenlooper. You don’t want to start getting fat.”


Presenting Debt Roundup, another in the inexhaustible yet exhausting parade of debt bloggers. At least this one isn’t also a mommy blogger. This entry reads like a paid post, or at least like a public relations firm’s latest press release on its exciting new client, an up-and-coming Minneapolis-based national retailer, and let’s see if you can guess which one:


Target owns my wallet and my soul

That’s right, you heard me.  I shop at Target more often than I care to admit. My wife and I both are owned by Target


Maybe they should sponsor this blog.  Hey Target, get in touch with me if you want a sweet sponsorship deal!!


Target has been our store of choice ever since we moved into our house 7 years ago.


We shop at Target at least once a week, but probably more. (Ed. note: You can’t shop at a store more often than “at least once a week”.)


I always advocate shopping with a list.  We do it at Target, but for some reason that list seems to get longer as we stroll through the aisles.  Usually I wouldn’t deviate from the list, but I just can’t help myself there.  I turn into (Ed. note: HACKNEYED METAPHOR AHEAD) a little kid in a candy store and just want to grab things and throw them in the cart.


I joined their Pharmacy Rewards program, we have a Target Red Card (debit, not credit), and we use their coupons all of the time.


The Target stores around us are clean and very efficient. One of the pharmacists even knows me by name


One of our biggest reasons why we shop there is because is (sic) saves us time.


We just cut and pasted almost the entire post, but what the author was getting at (we think) is that he likes to shop at Target. First of all, guys shouldn’t like to shop anywhere. Maybe Cabela’s or Bass Pro, but that’s it.

We should have made this a chapter in the book. Fetishizing going to a department store is about the saddest activity we’ve ever heard of, even worse than playing fantasy baseball. Our subject claims that he paid his $50,000 in debt off in 4 years, which seems incompatible with making multiple weekly visits to Target (and claiming to be unable to ever buy “just…one item.”)

Our threadbare but still critical motto is Buy Assets, Sell Liabilities. Of course, clothing and groceries are exceptions in that a) they’re never going to appreciate in value, and b) if you don’t buy them you’ll starve and/or freeze to death. Consider their purchase to be the price of staying alive. But again, what is the point of telling your readers that you like to shop? And that you like to do so at Target?

Those questions weren’t rhetorical. Here’s the self-confessional epilog added a couple days after the initial post, stock in trade for today’s sensitive man:

It was pointed out to me that I didn’t provide any teaching moment with this post.  While I originally just wrote it to show my human side and how I too am tempted to spend, I am here to help out others.  That being said, My wife and I need to learn how to deal with this Target issue.  We do plan on implementing a set number of trips in order to stave off the spending urge.

Jesus H, how about growing a pair? Exactly what at Target is so tempting? Ooh, Nate Berkus sheet sets! Our hero doesn’t mention a single specific item he buys at Target, thus lending credence to our paid-post theory.

Debt Roundup guy, we’re here to help others too. Many of the others that we’re trying to help don’t see it that way, but that’s their problem. We’re going to help you by telling you to act like an adult and stop buying stuff you can’t afford. (We’re assuming you can’t afford it, otherwise you wouldn’t have moaned about buying it in the first place.) But seriously, your strategy is to restrict yourself to a fixed number of Target visits? You just said so. Time for an old-fashioned debuttal:

  1. Bull. So we’re supposed to believe the following scenario is feasible in your household?”Honey, let’s go to Target.”

    “Sorry, we’ve already gone 6 times this month. You remember our agreement.”

    Counting the number of times you visit a store is symptomatic of a far deeper problem.

  2. Just like Earth Hour, Ramadan fasting, and No-Spend Wednesday, the result of such a stupid plan is obvious and inevitable. You’ll just end up piling up the grocery cart on your permitted visits.
  3. Stop patting yourself on the back. This isn’t “helping others.” You want to confess something, go find a priest.

Even with increased online taxes on the horizon (Thank you, U.S. Senate!), shopping on Amazon is superior in almost every way to shopping at Target. This isn’t an anti-Target screed, it’s an anti-retail screed. Heck, even the guy who runs Debt Roundup (his first name is “Grayson.” Of course it is) has retailers he dislikes. Or in the case of Walmart, even “hates.”

People who profess to hate Walmart always crack us up. The company sold $469 billion worth of merchandise last year. Someone must like it. But yes, pat yourself on the back for being so much more refined than the working-class slobs who patronize Walmart’s 9000 locations. We’re sure the Honey Nut Cheerios and Oral-B dental floss you buy at Target are superior to Walmart’s in every way.

Guys who enjoy shopping, we have no advice for you beyond gender reassignment surgery.


*Which is shorthand for “American and Canadian society.” It seems that the Mexicans, Greenlanders, and Saint-Pierrais/Miquelonnais whom we share a continent with don’t fall for that foolishness. runs on the Genesis Framework

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