Layaway for us is sort of like roaches in the house: you may not have dealt with it, but some of your cousins did. Now, Steve Harvey’s using his community clout to encourage Kmart shoppers to embrace the tradition again.
Posted at a Kmart in Greenbelt, Maryland, just outside of Washington, Steve talked about the bygone practice.
"We hope enough people will be smart enough to recognize the value of what layaway really is," he told The Washington Post. "All Kmart is saying is: ‘We understand that you are having it hard out there. We want to help so here’s what we are going to do. We are going to make it easier for you to get the finer things in life. Own them over a period of time. Get it out and own it without the debt.’ "
His message is particularly poignant at the beginning of this holiday season, when many are out of work and either can’t get credit or have overextended what they have. And, of course, Steve shared a funny moment from this childhood with the crowd.
"We laid away one of them bathroom sets with the mat that went round the commode," he said. "The fur top that went on the lid and the body coat that went on the toilet. It was lime green fur." The bathroom set was layedaway for two months.
"That was going to set our bathroom off from the rest of the houses on the block. . . . I was inviting kids into my house just to use the bathroom because I needed them to see my shower curtain that was clear, by the way, with the green bird on it and the green fur top. That was hot. If you didn’t have that in our neighborhood you weren’t balling — you just had a white toilet."
Folks in the neighborhood seemed glad to see this option, too.
"I was visiting my sister, and she had this beautiful bedspread. She said she’d put it on layaway. Just because you don’t have a lot of money doesn’t mean you don’t want quality," Valerie Smith, a recently laid off government employee told The Post. She put a Nintendo Wii on layaway. "I don’t have the $249. But I can give them $20 and pay on it over time."