You’re either a responsible adult or you aren’t

I don’t see what the problem is with the recent credit card controversy on campus. You don’t want credit card debt? Don’t get a credit card. What’s the damn problem? Having a credit card is a big responsibility. If you manage your money poorly, you have no one to blame but yourself. If you get a credit card and run up an exorbitant amount of debt then you need look no further than the mirror to find out who’s at fault.

This whole thing recalls for me a funny story from my time in the Marine Corps. There was always a guy who wrote a bunch of checks for which he had no funds to pay. When asked how he let that happen he’d say, “I’ve still got checks so I must have money.”

Recently, I’ve found myself confronted by the urge to ridicule the concept that a group of people who want to be considered adults are supposedly too inexperienced to withstand the ravages of the Evil Sales Pitch! Apparently, that pitch is so compelling that many students are just unable to resist and end up committing suicide rather than facing the reality of bad credit. Not to make light of the tragedy of suicide, but if it’s true that a student armed with a credit card will rapidly descend into a state of massive bonded indebtedness, then the student deserves bad credit.

My first duty station in the Marine Corps was a technical training school with a student body twice as large as UM’s. Outside the front gate we were confronted by all manner of car dealerships and electronic appliance stores and even evil credit card vendors. These businesses set up there because they knew that the military personnel stationed there were primarily just out of high school and didn’t know crap. They made great sales pitches and pushed all manner of items on us and made a lot of credit sales – at 20 percent plus interest. A lot of people bought stuff and ended up being broke for a very long time or defaulting on their credit arrangement. The way these vendors did business was very well known, and yet many people did business with them anyway.

This never happened to me. Why? Because when faced with those sales pitches, I said, “No thanks, don’t want the debt.” And then I walked away.

Scott Wacholtz can be contacted at