While driving my son to speech therapy 3 mornings a week, I keep hearing this ad for Blue Hippo, a company that is targeting people who have too poor of credit to get that utterly vital laptop. They really talk it up.

Drives me nuts.

Typical offer for people who have poor credit; they don’t care how poor your credit is. They say they will get you that laptop. And in my area they’re even offering a free MP3 player and digital camera to go with it, which I find hilarious. I’ve bought cheap ones of each for around $10 around Christmas last year. They have a ways to go to impress me.

Basically, you make a down payment and 13 weeks of payments before you get anything. By the complaints linked above, getting what you paid for is at least sometimes problematic, so I thought about other ways people could get a laptop if that’s what they really wanted.

Freecycle

Maybe a long shot, maybe not. No doubt it would not be a new machine, but if you just need a basic laptop you can ask. Someone might have one they want to get rid of.

Craigslist

I checked the listings in my area, and there were a variety of laptops available. If you’re paying for something you have to be careful about what you get, of course, but there were a number of cheap laptops listed.

Saving Up

Should be obvious, but to some it isn’t. Nice part is that if you save up you can get a new machine or one that has been refurbished, depending on your needs.

According to Wikipedia, to get the Blue Hippo computer it’s $99 down and $39 a week for 13 weeks. If you can stick to that plan you’ve saved up $606. You can get a laptop from Amazon in that price range.

Honestly, it just drives me nuts seeing something like this that takes advantage of the desperate, who, if they could make those payments could just as easily save up for a laptop on their own, and not pay an outrageous price.

Do Without

And you really can’t forget the option to simply do without if things are all that bad. How many people really, truly need a laptop computer? They’re nice… I really want one myself. I was having some serious laptop envy during BlogWorld. But I do not, repeat, do NOT need one badly enough to spend the money.

There are some people who can have a greater need for one, such as college students. It’s not an utter necessity at most colleges, even if they are getting to be more common.

That’s the part of the ad that drives me the most nuts in a lot of ways. They’re trying so hard to make it seem like lacking a laptop is a major impact on your life in general. It’s not. It can be an inconvenience for some lifestyles, but really, how often do most people pull a laptop out of a bag because they really need to use it? Not just for fun.

This post is a little off my usual path, but not completely from my point of view. I’m just seeing an ad that is targeting people who don’t have a lot of money, which is common for stay at home parents, and pointing out the ways around it. Seems reasonable to me, and the occasional rant feels good.