The Power of Plastic

Jordan swiped their card and stared at the terminal until they remembered swiping didn’t work anymore. “Sorry.”

“I forget all the time.” The teller shrugged. “Just tap it on the screen.”

Jordan did and the payment terminal beeped, finally taking their payment.

As their receipt printed, Jordan jerked their head toward the rest of the store. “Amazing this place still runs.”

“Sure.” The teller shrugged again. “Stock’s different, but we still sell stuff. Helps people focus, you know?”

Jordan nodded, taking their receipt.

“Still.” The teller sighed, staring at the doors out of the store, “beats slaving away out there.”

“Yeah.”

“You good with all that?”

“I think so.”

“I could call someone…”

“No, I’ve got it.” Jordan gave a half-hearted smile, shifted the bags around, and started walking toward the exit. “Have a nice day.”

“You too.”

Jordan slowed, carefully peering out the door. The blasted ruins of cars, melted asphalt, and red haze in the air were still present. Nothing moved but plants swaying in the breeze.

Confident they were safe, Jordan hitched their mask over their face and exited the airlock. They glanced around as they walked, watching for danger and a ride away from the burned-out husk of the city. When they spotted a buggy pulled by a balding donkey, they waved it down. The elderly driver stowed Jordna’s bags and patiently waited while they fumbled with the payment terminal.

As the machine beeped to denote a payment received, the old driver chuckled. “I always figured capitalism would fail when civilization did. Thought we’d be bartering by now.”

Jordan chuckled as they climbed into their seat, brushing their iron grey hair away from their mask. “Guess it just goes to show. Peace, health, and safety are things money can’t buy. For the everything left, there’s MasterCard.”

The Costs Of Student Debt

When I moved to my current city, starting a new job in a new place at the same time that all my student loan payments had to begin, I was in dire financial straights. I hadn’t earned enough money in the six months between graduation and that move to have any kind of cushion to fall back on (all my work during those months was at ten dollars an hour which was enough to live off, but not enough to start any kind of savings or financial safety net) so I had to put the entire move on a credit card. It wasn’t that bad since I was living pretty light, tossed out the couch I had up to that point, and had a large Jeep I could hook a trailer up to instead of needing a full moving truck. Still, between that, groceries, gas, and the constant needs of living in a new place while waiting a month for my first paycheck (my job paid monthly), I racked up enough credit card debt that it made me uncomfortable.

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