Yes, I'm up in northwest Arkansas visiting my wife's family for Thanksgiving.
I was out at the Westwood Drive In of Springdale this afternoon to pick up one of the finest hamburgers to be found anywhere. While waiting for my order, I picked up a copy of the Star Shopper for the heck of it.
This place called Buddy's Home Furnishings bought a huge ad on the front of the Shopper that was just downright shocking. I'll not give them a link because I'd rather not publicize that place at all -- I'll just say Buddy's is one of those rent-to-own places operating in my home state (and I wish they'd leave Arkansas, frankly).
I'd heard about those rent-to-own things before but had no idea what a total rip-off they were until I scanned the Buddy's ad. For example, that place sells a Nintendo Wii for $13.99 a week for 52 weeks.
In other words, that Wii that you can buy almost anywhere right now for $199.99 costs $727.48 if you buy it at Buddy's. Shocking! How about a 42" HDTV plasma (that's right -- crummy plasma instead of LCD) for $2,598.96 ($24.99 per week for 104 weeks) or an Xbox 360 elite for a mere $1,039.48 ($19.99 for 52 weeks)?
Folks, that Xbox Elite retails for $299.99. How the hell can anyone justify charging over $1,000 for one of those things? How can they charge almost $2,600 for a television that costs around $800 at a store like Best Buy?
Buddy's, see, is simply exploiting the hell out of people. I'm stunned this kind of crap is legal. We all but exterminated all those terrible payday lenders in this state. Perhaps stores like Buddy's should be targeted by the Arkansas Attorney General's office next.