Friday, November 24, 2006

RANT ON FRIDAY: I hate this stupid man and his stupid wife.

Recognise these two?

Yes, it's that couple from the 'Picture Loans' advert on the telly.

You know the one: he's on the phone to this guy from the loan company, talking about the loan, punctuating this very important conversation with talk about football, the weather. All the time his stupid wife is following him about with a camcorder, recording the moment when they got into £42,000 debt.

"You know," he says when he's put down the phone, "it's really easy to talk to those people at Picture."

Yeah, you'd better believe it mate. You just borrowed £25,000 to 'consolidate' your debts and, according to the figures on screen, that will cost you £42,000 in total repayments.

I'm not necessarily knocking the fact that some of us do accumulate too much debt and can't seem to live on a week to week basis without scrimping and saving. In certain circumstances it may be a good and sensible thing to consolidate.

As long as you don't get into any more debt.

But when I look at this advert and I think about how this couple are portrayed it's hard to feel any sympathy for them. You can just tell they're stupid and they will continue to spend, spend spend. No doubt another call will be made to those 'nice people at Picture for another wee top-up.

Of course the people in the advert are just actors. And let me tell you, they do their job well.

So much so that I wish I could reach in through the television screen and give him a slap about the ears.

When debt overwhelms you need to do something about. But it's a serious issue and presenting it in such a blase style annoys to chuff out of me. Consolidation will help in the here and now. But is it worth paying £17,000 interest? They present this little domestic scenario as if it were a public service announcement.

Better to grin and bear it in the short term, perhaps. Or take real advice from someone like the Citizens' Advice Bureau.

Picture this: a few years tightening belts and £17,000 in your pocket.

And this: a 'picture' broken over the heads of this lovely couple, the frame around their necks like a collar. That's an accurate image.

It's really easy to hate those people at Picture.

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