Well today is the day that a whole lotta Alaskans get their Permanent Fund Dividend checks. That's $3269 for each eligible resident of the state. (And, no, I'm no longer eligible since I moved away, came back and have not been back for the 2-year period... damnit.)
Anyway, I have friends who are couples or have kids. Think about it, if you have a spouse and just two kids, that's 4 checks totalling ** $13,076 coming into your house. (**Note: that's the $2069 PLUS a $1200 energy rebate for the first time. The checks go out to 610,768 residents)
Now, I could be the socio-political intellectual and discuss this from a different angle, but I'm just plain old Free. So I'm gonna talk about what it'll be like trying to get my broke ass into WalMart or Costco to do any shopping for the next month... Ain't gonna happen, people.
I've been around when the PFD checks were under 2 grand. Damn near got trampled trying to get to the dairy aisle at Carrs grocery store because of a group of old people buying up from the $5 movie rack. One year I saw a young couple and their three little snotty-nosed, nappy-headed kids pulling a cart through WalMart loaded up with enough televisions, Game Boys and potato chips (yes, Lays potato chips) for four families. All I could think was that Mama and Daddy should have been getting the kids some clothes and hair appointments instead. I can almost promise you that within two months, that same family was broker than they had ever been before the checks came.
It's kind of amusing to watch what people do with their PFD money. Some folks spend wise - investing in their home repairs or putting money away for emergencies, paying off debts, etc - but then you have those folks who can just feel the money burning a hole in their pockets.
Of course, businesses have been in high gear promoting their products for months with special "PFD Sales". Everybody with a business licence has found a way to lure the customers in. Everywhere you look, there are advertisements:" Double Your Fund!" "Double Div Days"...
One thing that always tickled me is how the same businesses that didn't exactly throw out the welcome mat for certain people (minorities, for example and especially Native Alaskans), suddenly get very open-minded during PFD time.
Ah, well. I'm safe this year. Since I'm still one of the broke folk, I did all my errands and stocking up on what I need BEFORE these damn checks came out. Now I don't have to risk my life trying to body-hop my way through any stores. I plan to spend my weekend at the one place that seems to empty out when the PFDs hit: the library.
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