At one point or another in your life, you've probably bought something – on layaway. It's a purchase plan where you make a set number of payments to a merchant in order to purchase something over time.
Unlike an installment plan where you take the item home, and then make monthly payments, you don't take possession of the layaway item until it has been completely paid off.
Many major retailers, from Walmart to Big Lots to TJ Maxx offer competitive layaway plans to help consumers buy all sorts of items, one payment at a time.
Interestingly, layaway programs became popular during the Great Depression in the 1930's. During that horrific financial crisis in America, millions of Americans were cash-strapped and out of work. The only way many people could afford to buy gifts and other consumer goods was to utilize monthly payments in layaway plans.
It's the opposite of instant gratification because you don't receive your item until it's paid for.
When credit cards came along and became a major way in which we make purchases, layaway programs became less and less common.
Interestingly, Walmart ended their layaway plan in the early 2000s, only to bring it back after the Great Recession. You can still purchase an item on layaway at any Walmart.
But in perhaps a novel application of the layaway program was announced last week as an option for the Epicenter Festival, happening the first weekend in May at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Metallica – obviously the headliner – is the only band that's been announced so far. Rumors are swirling that AC/DC – featuring Brian Johnson on vocals – Slipknot, and a host of other bands in the genre will be on the card as well.
To purchase weekend passes for the Epicenter Festival, the costs range will range from about $170 to $220 per person. And for those who want to see their metal in a more upscale, luxurious environment, VIP passes start at $500. Whether you show up to jockey for position in General Admission, or you want to see the show in style, for most concertgoers, Epicenter is a big ticket event.
Thus, a layaway plan.
And in this case, you'll make five automatic monthly payments, starting on November 1st. But you'd better act now because this layaway plan offer terminates at the end of this month:
It turns out similar festivals are offering layaway plans, too, including Lollapalooza – another indication options for payment plans may be an attractive option for young concertgoers. It's fascinating that a very old school purchasing concept is making a return appearance at some of the most cutting edge entertainment events.
We may not know the degree to which Epicenter attendees will buy into the layaway plan. But whatever the result, it's an idea that radio station festivals ought to consider, especially given the tough decisions music lovers are forced to make about concerts given tightening budgets and rising prices.
With increasing fears we're headed toward a recession, perhaps we'll see more retailers implement their own layoff plans in an effort to get consumers to part with their money – albeit over a period of months.
Maybe more and more retailers will offer the purchase of expensive items – like cars or major appliances – on the layaway plan.
And maybe it could be a way of buying radio time.
What would Miller Kaplan say?
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