Twice in one week very strange experiences happened. Something that makes me wonder about the trends of debt in the US. I once wrote that it my CC would have to be pried out from my cold dead hands. I still think that, but I'm wondering if Americans aren't getting worse about CC debt and we shouldn't be forced to take basic money management classes in high school and college?
First we went out to dinner on Friday at a Chinese Restaurant. It was a nice place, pretty reasonable $30 for the two of us. Anyway we were sitting next to this family of 4, who I think were travelling. Anyway they were out of money and had trouble paying for the bill. They began to ask the waiter (who didn't speak english well so we helped to translate), to split the bill on to 3 CC and put down some cash. The cash from was from their two children. The conversation was rather startling, that they could only charge $10 on this card, then $10 on another card, and $10 on another card and $20 in cash. It was very confusing. I thought well maybe they overspent on vacation, but still it was bit surprising.
Then last night I was waiting to pay for my groceries in the express line. It was surprisingly busy, but the woman in front of me couldn't pay for her groceries. She also split a $14.07 bill on to $5 one CC, $5 next CC, and $5 cash. It took forever and the cashier was grumbling a bit because she swiped more than just 2 cards which did not go through before finding cards that worked.
These two experiences were eye-opening. What is going on? I don't recall the last time I saw someone splitting the cost of something on different CC. Or even trying to put things on a CC which was rejected. Personally I rarely notice so I wouldn't know if it were a debit card versus a CC (who can really tell because debit cards are used as CC a lot when you are given a choice). But is abuse of CC getting worse? Are people spending more than they have?