Man Explains How The World Is Rigged To Keep Poor People Poor.

Recently an AskReddit question popped up that caused many of us to pause and think about our privilege and finances: "What do insanely poor people buy, that ordinary people know nothing about?" One Reddit user, rugtoad, took this question as an opportunity to explain how being poor puts up barriers on aspects of life you may not have considered.

"This is actually a good question that can illustrate something: When you are poor, the "system" is set up to keep you that way.

For example, how much do you pay to cash your paycheck?

If you aren't and have never been poor, you probably said "Pay?", because you don't. Your check probably goes via direct deposit right into your checking account.

But what if you have bad credit history such that you can't get a checking account?

Well, now you have to go to a check-cashing service and pay money to get it. This means that, out of your already low check, you get to a few dollars down. If you are lucky, you can find a grocery store that will give you fee back in certificates to the store, but even then they might charge you a small fee on top of that.

How about this: How much is your car insurance? Did you know that if you bad credit it's higher? So, now that you are poor, you get to pay more money for your insurance.

And you'll find that the only landlord that will rent to you (at a place not in the absolute worst part of town) will ask you to double your deposit, since you've had financial trouble in the past.

It gets worse. Your bad credit combined with your shaky job history and barren waste land of a savings means your options for transportation are severely limited. If you need a car, you will have to go to one of those lots. You ever drive a car into the ground? I mean, put 200k miles on it and drive it until it just doesn't want to go anymore? Then you take your jalopy into the local, reputable Honda dealer and they give you 20 bucks and a Snickers bar for it.

What do you think they do with it?

They certainly don't sell it at their lot, that's for damned sure. They aren't going to park your ridiculous hoopdie next to their brand new Accords and Civics, just being in the same vicinity of it drops their value.

No, they usually have a deal with (or ownership in) one of those lots. Those lots are in bad parts of town. The office looks like a tool shed. They offer financing at rates that would make a loan shark uneasy. Their cars usually have a lot of miles and are "guaranteed" only to make it off the lot. Some of them will even rig up the cars with tracking devices so their repo men can find you easier.

That lot will sell this hunk-a-junk to the kind of person who, more than anyone else, needs it to start every day and get them to work.

When your car breaks down, what do you do? You probably take it to the shop to get it fixed. What if you had no money, and no credit cards?

And what if you were a week into a job in which you were as replaceable as a number 2 pencil?

Well, hope you don't have any kids. At least then you might be able to call a friend or family member to help you out. If you have kids, now you have to find someone to help you drive them to your child care provider (which you can barely afford as it is anyhow) and take you to work, then pick you and your kids up. If you don't have kids, you can probably at least take a cab today.

And then you can fall into another trap: You can get a short-term loan! At 300% APR!

People who have credit don't get these loans because they are predatory and shitty. They take advantage of people who have no other options. Ordinary people may know a little about them, but usually just say "What kind of stupid person gets themselves into that?" without realizing that it's not a stupid option so much as a last resort for many people in poverty.

When you are pay for everything...many things that other people don't have to pay for or just don't have to worry about. This is one of the fatal flaws of the bootstrap-mentality in which fixing poverty is simply a matter of will.

When you're that far down, the deck is stacked entirely against you. The world is rigged to keep poor people poor."

This article has been edited for clarity.


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You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, or so the saying goes.

The same can be said for your interactions with cops, most of whom are perfectly happy to let minor infractions slide––When was the last time you were actually ticketed for jaywalking?––provided you're not a total Karen should you interact them.

Your local police officer likely doesn't care about jaywalking or the fact that you went five miles over the speed limit unless you give him a reason to, as we learned when Redditor Takdel asked police officers: "What stupid law have you enforced just because someone was an a-hole?"

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