Today in the theoretically infinite series, "Why it is expensive to be poor:" renting to own. Don't do it!

The Washington Post's Chico Harlan has performed a public service today by writing the latest (in what could also be a theoretically infinite series) story carefully explaining just what a god damn scam the concept of "rent to own" is. God damn, it's a huge scam! If you want to rent something, rent it. If you want to own something, buy it. Even on credit!

Do not "rent to own." Don't do it! Tell your friends!

As Harlan explains, "renting to own" means that you are technically leasing something, which allows the store to charge you interest rates that would be considered usurious and illegal if you were simply buying something with credit. A living room set with a sticker price of $1,500 ends up costing $4,158 with weekly payments. At one rent-to-own store profiled, "some 75 percent of items are returned or repossessed within weeks of the transaction."

Any business that allows you to walk out the door with something you can't believe you can afford is ripping you off in the long run.

Buy a cheaper couch. Buy it on Craigslist. Pick it up off the curb. Save up for IKEA. Steal it from a rich person's guest house. Do anything but do not get it at a rent-to-own place. You can't afford it! Bloodsuckers of the poor are only here to suck you dry! These people are predators and you are the prey!

Do not "rent to own."

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