When I was 19 years old I got a credit card. It was meant to be for university expenses and meant to be paid back in full every month. I don’t remember exactly how long it took me to hit my limit, but it wasn’t long enough. I don’t remember when or how I got my second card, which was meant to replace my first with a balance transfer. All I know is that it didn’t take long for things to be completely out of control.

Since I was 19 I have never been without a credit card and I don’t want to think about the amount of interest I’ve paid or the amount of stuff I’ve bought that I really didn’t need. I’m smarter now, but I still make mistakes – bad purchases, quick thinking and regret.

Today Joe and I went in to Canadian Tire. We’re doing some tidying and we decided to get a couple of bins to use as toy boxes in our living room and basement. Upon entering the store we were met by a guy who handed us a piece of paper. He said something to Joe, I didn’t hear but we were both led to touch screens and prompted to enter the code on the piece of paper. There were survey questions and then the computer asked me if I was interested in getting a store credit card. I hit ‘no.’ It asked me again, about a different store credit card, and again I hit ‘no.’

When the computer screen finished asking me questions I was directed to another woman who had another computer screen and she explained to me that Canadian Tire was creating this card to store your Canadian Tire money on to reduce the amount of paper they use. Sounds good. She told me that I would be getting this card in the mail along with a packet of information about the credit card that they were pushing. A packet I could ignore, I assumed. So she asked me some more questions – mailing address, fine. Why do you need to know what my rent is?

And then she asked me to sign the screen.

The top line of this page I was supposed to sign gave them permission to open a credit card account in my name. Without telling me what she was doing, this woman was trying to get me to apply for a credit card. Without telling me what she was doing, she was seeking permission to do a credit check.

Not okay.

I told her I was not okay signing this, she tried to explain to me that it was okay, that I would get the card but I didn’t have to activate it, three or four times as I stood there saying no she tried to convince me, really, that she wasn’t trying to sell me a credit card.

Not at all okay.

Finally another one of the ‘salespeople’ told her to just give up. They gave us some coupons and we went on our way.

I left wondering how many people are getting themselves into trouble financially because of salespeople like this woman who didn’t seem to think she was doing anything wrong, in fact seemed more annoyed that she was losing her commission because I wasn’t just taking her at her word. How many people get surprised by unwanted credit checks and ridiculously high interest rates?

Not okay, Canadian Tire – or whoever you’ve contracted to sell your credit cards. Not at all okay.

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