One step out of the pit is a mile in the right direction

I worked three weeks of nearly 20hrs of overtime. Yesterday I paid off the smallest of my debts. It was a store credit card with a limit of $250. I started to pay part of it and since I had enough cash on hand, I paid the balance and closed the account.

According to the pernicious counsel out there I should not have closed the account but just let it sit with a zero balance. I guess it has something to do with how my FICO score looks to potential lenders or something. The thing is, I know me. And I know that if I have an account open, I’ll use it. But also, being debt free to me means not having any relationship with the debt machine.

One thing I noticed about store credit accounts is that you end up paying a lot more for the merchandise. A $5 pack of razor blades and a $5 pack of razor blades financed are two different things. You get the blades and pay $5 plus tax and if it’s cash, you’re done. If you charge it, max out your card and pay the minimum, a portion of that $5 gets paid off every month and you are handing the store interest on top of it. Maybe it’s a few pennies but they ad up. I’d rather pay cash.

Where did I park? A situational awareness scenario

Yesterday about 1:15am I pulled into the parking lot of one of the few 24hr grocery stores. I noticed a couple of guys who seemed to be casing the lot. They didn’t have groceries. They didn’t seem like the car they were standing by was theirs. (no keys visible). I parked and went in the store. The security guard was not outside. He was chatting up one of the cashiers. I got what I went there for and left and I told the guard what I had observed. He said he was about to start his next rounds and would check it out. When I got outside they were still out there, near a different car. I went to my car and drove off.

If we were going to give them the benefit of the doubt, here’s how it should go:

  1. Are they lost? Trouble remembering where they parked? Okay, maybe, but this was not 2:00pm when there might be enough cars in the lot to cause confusion when someone has been in the store for a half hour. There were maybe 20 cars in the lot. So not very likely.
  2. No groceries. Well maybe their purchases consisted of a candy bar and so they didn’t need a bag.

There was too much wandering around, even the 45 seconds or so that I saw. There were no keys visible. The whole thing just looked a couple of degrees off dead center and that should set off red flags for everyone, not just me.

All law-abiding citizens have a moral obligation to watch for stuff like this. Our work goes to provide for our homes and their contents. Our work pays for the food we’re eating. Who has the right to that? You? Or some thug?

We have to harden ourselves and our property…locks, keys, being aware of our surroundings. Mayberry is fiction. The break-ins, the car-jackings, muggings and assaults are happening too often and as the economy slides further down the incline we’ll see more of that as the desperate join the hardened crooks.

If we’re judging people and if there are consequences we’ll just have to deal with that when the time comes. People try to beat up other people with the verse judge not lest ye be judged. Well with family and home constantly at risk we can no longer afford the luxury of giving implicit trust to total strangers. Judge because sometimes your life depends on it. There is no such thing as safe. Watch your back.