Massaging the Figures

Massaging the Figures

Kit Kat Corner Store by Digital Agent (very busy w/work).photo;  Special Agent

Would you like to earn half a million pounds a year?  Fully clothed, using a special chair, ten minutes in a Neil’s Yard shop could work wonders. Yes, the Walk-In Backrub is one of my guilty pleasures in London. Perhaps you should consider becoming a Back-Rubber too?  A ten minute massage could earn you ten pounds.  That means we will make five hundred and twenty five thousand smackers a year, each.  Doesn’t it? Of course it doesn’t.

Wonga is a short-term loans company.  If you have run out of cash at the end of the month (and in January, this is entirely likely), then they will consider offering you up to a thousand pounds.  And you’ll pay for it.  For a hundred quid, they will charge you seven if you pay them back in a week.  They also add a transaction fee.  I think I know a couple of people would pay that gladly at certain times of the year.  Of course, if you then express this as an annual percentage rate, it looks enormous.  It’s over 2,600% !  Wonga’s point is that they have not designed their service for people borrowing over a year.  It’s designed to carry you over from one day or week, to the next.  Either way, it will have some people complaining that it has become far too easy to borrow money, that lenders are being irresponsible. 

It has never been easier to buy a Kit Kat.  At the newsagent, petrol station, or winking at you at the Tesco till, they are everywhere.  They are also easier to eat than ever.  No more crafty scarecrow, slicing the foil with a taloned fingernail on a moonlit night.  If Kit Kats are your weakness, you could be in trouble.  Should it be made more difficult to buy one?  Or should we finally give two fingers to the idea that everything today is the seller’s fault? 

It’s too easy to blame the financial crisis, or our love of credit cards on the banks.  At some point, someone is going to have to start asking how irresponsible it is to take out a loan which you know you can’t really afford.  To accept that the reason you have put on a stone since Christmas is not the fault of Ronald McDonald. And  getting stuck in the snow, when you could have stayed at home and knew it was going to dump it down was not the local council’s fault. 

I know all of this because I am as guilty as the next person.  I borrowed the money, I ate the Big Mac, I went out when I should have stayed in.  The author of my January gloom is me.  I need a break.  I need a back rub.

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