How long will it be before people make monthly payments on toothbrushes? It’s not all that far-fetched when you consider that many are already making them on lawn mowers.
John Deere doesn’t even tell you what some of these cost in their advertisements; just how much you’ll pay each month. Probably because you really don't want to know what they cost, that being a measure of what you cannot afford.
Some of these ads do not tell you how many months you'll be paying, either. The lure - tantalizing to the innumerate - being that it is “only $49 per month.”
Why, that sounds like a deal! I can afford that! Anyone can afford that. Which explains why so many cannot afford to buy anything. Including lawn mowers, which people used to regularly pay cash for, because lawn mowers didn't entail monthly payments.
How about “0 percent financing" . . . for 60 months”?
This is for a riding lawn mower, mind. It cuts the grass. It does not fly. It doesn't even move faster than a sprightly man can walk. It doesn't have AC or even a stereo. It has a cupholder.
But it is "compliant" with all the latest federal emissions and saaaaaaaaaaaafety regulations and yes, these apply to riding lawnmowers, too. These include - so far - the "feature" that automatically shuts off the engine whenever the operator gets off the mower. Or mows on uneven terrain that causes his weight to shift, causing the underseat nanny to cut off the engine, which then coughs back to life as the operator's cheeks resume equilibrium.
Mowers also automatically shut off when Reversed - unless a special key is turned or button held. It will not be long, surely, before back-up cameras and monitors are required - and along with them, more low, low monthly payments.
For the benefit of the innumerate, 60 months works out to five years of making payments. On a riding lawn mower. That is about two years longer than people used to make payments on cars - which now routinely take 72 months to pay off, by which time they have depreciated to less than half what you paid for them.
That $49/month riding mower? If financed for five years - at “0 percent interest” - your tab works out to just shy of $3,000.
For a freakin' lawn mower.
No wonder people can't afford to buy cars. They are making payments on lawn mowers!
Which may not even have a “John Deere” engine underneath the green (probably plastic) hood, either. “Deere” riding mowers sometimes come with Kawasaki or Kohler-made engines, not that there’s anything wrong with either. But it reminds me of back in the day when GM sometimes put Chevy engines in Cadillacs - without charging the Cadillac buyer Chevy money for them.
Some of these easy monthly payment deals include fuel-injected (and so, electronically controlled) engines - once again, for a lawn mower. Which accounts in part for Deere's shyness about advertising how much these riding lawn mowers cost as opposed to what you’ll pay per month . . . for the next half-decade.
You can also get a Rollover Protection System - just like your convertible BMW and almost as expensive for just that reason.
Loans for small tractors with front-end loaders extend to 72 months - six years, for the numeracy-challenged. But the good news is . . . “0 percent” interest!
The bad news? The diesel engines in these small tractors are “Tier-4 compliant,” which means they are nearly as complex, maintenance-intensive and difficult to maintain yourself as the diesel engines used in on-road vehicles, like cars and trucks. Assuming you can find one with a diesel engine.
These things are off-road vehicles used intermittently rather than regularly. Whatever their “emissions” may be, they are almost certainly irrelevant in any meaningful air-quality or "climate-changing" way. One could perhaps form a factually valid argument about the need to wrap on-road diesel engines in regulatory Saran Wrap but doing the same to a diesel tractor that mostly just sits until there’s a hole that needs to be dug or a field to be cut is as pointlessly spiteful as forcing healthy people to walk around wearing Face Diapers.
But it’s why a small tractor requires a six-year-loan. It is also probably why Deere doesn’t even publish what the monthly payment is for this one. They do publish that you’ll be eligible for $3,900 off whatever the MSRP is, if that makes you feel any better about it.
It makes me feel poor.
PS: “Actual operating horsepower and torque may be less,” the fine print saith. Better read it. Also, that 10 percent down may be part of the deal and that “taxes, freight and set-up” could affect your monthly payment.
Which means, of course, that they will.
. . .
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