Wal-Mart plans to do away with layaway

Layaway at Wal-Mart will be a thing of the past after December. On Sept. 14, Wal-Mart announced it would begin moving toward removing its layaway program.

However, shoppers will still be able place gifts in layaway for this Christmas season. Nov. 19 is the last day customers can place items in layaway. The final pick-up day is Dec. 8.

Some customers are upset about the announcement.

April Ransom, a health science pre-physical therapy student from Monticello, said she was unaware of the change.

“It’s kind of shocking,” 24-year-old Ransom said.

Like many people, Christmas season was the only time Ransom used layaway.

She said she used it to buy a gift that was a little too expensive.

“(The gift) was a drum set for my little brother,” she said.

Ransom said layaway is helpful for students and others who cannot buy some things right away, especially during the holiday season. She will have to find other alternatives, she said.

“You just have to save up now,” Ransom said. “I’ll be saving up.”

Wal-Mart’s decision for the removal of layaway was based on economic reasons.

“The use of it has declined, so the cost for providing it has risen,” said Marisa Bluestone, spokeswoman for Wal-Mart. “Consumers continue to embrace options that were not available before.”

According to a press release, Wal-Mart found that shoppers were using “no-cost credit alternatives,” such as shopping online and using gift cards, instead of layaway.

Bluestone said Wal-Mart is currently offering zero percent financing and cash back offers for those who apply for Wal-Mart and Discover credit cards.

Wal-Mart is also developing other alternatives for customers, she said.

“We’re working on other types of payment options for those with limited credit options,” Bluestone said.

But while some students are disturbed by the future changes at Wal-Mart, others are not concerned at all.

Victricia Chandler, 20, said she doesn’t care if Wal-Mart gets rid of its layaway department.

“I have never used layaway,” said Chandler, a junior health care management student from Miami.

“I only buy groceries and hygiene products, and there’s no need to put those types of things on layaway,” she said.

Keith Rhodes, a 22-year-old from Los Angeles, also said Wal-Mart removing layaway does not bother him.

“I really don’t like using layaway. Either you have it or you don’t,” said Rhodes, a fourth-year business administration student.

However, some Florida A&M University students are concerned about shoppers who do use it.

Michael Silien, a freshman pre-pharmacy student, said the removal of layaway will be an inconvenience for the people who still want to use layaway.

“I don’t use it, but I can see how people believe it’s useful, especially, if they don’t have money. Not everybody is fortunate as others,” said Silien, an 18-year-old from Sunrise.

Tonya Smith, a 22-year-old from Miami, used layaway once for her bedroom decorations.

“I don’t think it should happen because this is a college town, and everyone doesn’t have funds,” said Smith, a senior health information management student.

“It’s unfortunate; it will be harder for those who have to use it,” Rhodes said.