the financial walk of shame.

23 02 2011

every year, various outlets compile lists of companies that they think won’t last out the next year.  in a way it’s sort of interesting, but it’s also exceptionally depressing. whether a mark of the lousy economy, or just the evolution of popular technology (i mourn your impending death eastman kodak!), it’s kind of like watching the dinosaurs die out right in front of your eyes, and not be able to stop it.

last week, the borders company sent out this letter to their customers, letting them know that shit was going down (chapter 11), but that everything was still essentially “ok”. except that it’s not ok. with tons of stores closing all over america (our maine locations are safe for now!), it’s hard to have faith that a little reorganization (whatever that means) can fix what’s broken. the chapter 11 email of shame is almost always a last spasm before death.

but more than the sadness over the loss of yet another US business, i feel empathy for the man who had to write that letter. the first time i got laid off when i was 22, i had to call my mom and beg for money for food and rent. she actually turned me down (a story for another day), but that phone call was excruciating. admitting to your loved ones that you’ve gotten yourself into financial trouble is one of the most embarrassing and complicated situations that a person can be in. can you imagine having to make that call to an entire country?  having your financial missteps broadcast and analyzed by the wall street journal?

so with that, 2 questions:

1. what dinosaur store/brand/company will you be saddest to see die out?

2. have you ever had to do the financial walk of shame?

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6 responses

23 02 2011
Steve

I filed personal Chapter 7 in 2007. I will be 4 years in this December. It is painstaking paperwork to fill out, it is actually a really huge document, but you only need to fill out half if you don’t own a business at the time of filing. It made me cry to add up all I owned vs. all I owed… CRY AND CRY HARD!
Brighter note: It is almost 4 years later, I started my own business, my credit score is back up above average, and got a loan with a cosigner for the business… It was like pressing reset and just hoping you learned from your mistakes.
BTW, It COSTS about $1800 to file with an attorney, at least it was in 2007…

26 02 2011
bessmarvin

wow, congratulations! it’s my theory everyone needs at least one chance to rise from the ashes in order to be a fully formed human being (i personally burn my life to the ground every 3-5 years). i don’t envy your situation, but how KICK ASS to come back from that and get yourself above water in less than 4 years. if you ever want to write a guest post for me (possibly a series) about bankruptcy (filing for & recovering), i would really love it.

23 02 2011
InfamousQBert

2002-2003 was a BAD year or two for me. i was lucky for a while to be living with a roommate who was flush AND our rent was freaky low, so i just didn’t pay bills for a little while and she kept tally, but didn’t hassle me about it. when she decided to move to austin, though, the descent started. it wasn’t her fault by any means, but that was my lifeline. to go into everything that happened then would be a blog unto itself, but i moved 4 times in a little over a year and was working 3 jobs (1 full time and 2 part time) and still not successfully paying all the bills (and forget having insurance or anything fancy like that). i ended up moving in with my ex-boyfriend (we were both desperate) and having a complete emotional breakdown and losing my faith in god before things turned around. money can SUCK. even after losing both of my parents and feeling suicidal/trying to drink myself to death, the financial crisis year was by far the worst year of my life. i’m not a capitalist.

26 02 2011
bessmarvin

i feel fortunate that i have never been in quite such a dire financial situation, but i have nothing but the greatest admiration for you and what you were able to overcome. i also feel like once you’re able to pull yourself out of the shit, it gives you a confidence and an ability to handle and navigate whatever other bullshit life throws your way. my mom cut me off when i was 21, and when i lost my job and couldn’t pay my rent and called her for money… she turned me down flat. i had to figure it out, and i learned how to survive. but that’s just my insignificant bullshit. you’re a real survivor. fuck, you’re a superhero.

23 02 2011
audrey

The financial walk of shame is more of a financial waltz for me and my relations.. monies are always changing hands when one of us is having a ‘bad week’ or a ‘bad month’ or… a ‘bad year’ as the case may be. There’s four in the nuclear group, so it’s statistically sound that at one point at least one of us will be ‘good’ and if the others are ‘ok’ then we’re set but if anyone hits ‘uh oh’ then its time to help each other out.

I’m having clear visions of success in the future… what I’ve been ‘working on’ is starting to be more and more productive… I don’t buy on a whim anymore (at least not from whole-price retailers) and we cook at home mostly. So when are the bills going to be easier to pay? Grrr.

26 02 2011
bessmarvin

that’s actually really lovely. it’s not that my family doesn’t love each other, but we don’t take care of each other like that. i’m jealous! i’m also completely with you about wondering when the bills are going to get easier to pay! i feel like i’ve been trying so hard, but i’m still broke all the time… i quit!

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