In some ways, layaway is a wonderful invention. How? Well, the ability to reserve an item ahead of time and then pay for it in increments keeps people out of debt.
It also sets tangible goals and helps people plan ahead. Yet it comes with a distinct downside.
As due dates and major holidays converge, people strapped for cash inevitably feel their stress levels rise. Maybe that’s why I so like reading about Secret Santas who pay off layaway balances as Christmas approaches.
Anonymous benefactors set an example in 2015 when he or she started paying off layaway balances in various Walmart stores. According to ABC News, the Secret Santas began visiting locations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.
A pair of stores in Cleveland and Lorain, Ohio, saw their layaways wiped out to the tune of $106,000. Walmarts in Mechanicsburg and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, saw $158,000 owed on layaways simply vanish.
Steven Myers, who managed the Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, store stated that some of his shoppers were in shock at the news. “One lady said, ‘You’re kidding me, where are the hidden cameras? I’m getting punked, right?’”
Well, it seems that more gracious souls are at it again this year. A Longmont, Colorado, Walmart saw all of its layaway amounts go up in smoke the week of Nov. 25.
One of the things that made this donation so newsworthy, though, was its amount. This Secret Santa didn’t part with chump change.
Rather, the benefactor paid almost $45,000 so that families could have a hassle-free Christmas.
According to WBIR, that wasn’t even the first such gift of the season. A week prior, someone had taken care of the layaway sums at one of the big blue box stores in Uniondale, New York.
Management was surprised and tweeted out a picture showing a table spread with receipts, tangible signs of largess.
“Thank you to the secret Santa that came in the store today and paid off all the Christmas layaway here at the Uniondale Walmart,” the New York store wrote. “Thank you again on behalf of the Uniondale Community.”
Another almost equally large payment happened in a Pennsylvania Walmart the last week of November 2018. It wasn’t a planned out donation that management was expecting either.
KABC said that the Secret Santa simply walked into the store. Then the individual started paying off items.
One layaway item rolled into the next. By the time the person was done, the total had reached an impressive $29,000.
Walmart media relations manager Payton McCormick commented, “When customers quietly pay off others’ layaway items, we’re reminded how good people can be. We’re honored to be a small part of these random acts of kindness.”
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