Montreal Daily Star, 25 November 1911, page 24


On Borrowing.


Several interesting letters have been received on the subject of “champagne tastes and beer pockets” some of them highly laudatory, others critical.   A man writes “to ask if you could see your way clear to modify the latter part of your article… While \i heartily support you in what you say about the class of people who borrow and do not intend to pay I feel greatly hurt at part of your article where you class the borrowers among the pilferers, as unfortunately I find myself among the borrowers through unemployment.  I should be glad to know your opinion as to which is the more honourable method—to borrow knowing that a period of prosperity would put you on your feet or to keep accepting help from friends and relatives while you have the strength to work.”

In reply to this correspondent, I can say, as I thought I had made it plain in my article, that there are two classes of borrowers.

One class borrows from selfishness, laziness and the desire to get money which has not been earned in the easiest way.  It may or may not intend to return the money and very often the men and women who borrow in this manner spend far more on luxuries than those from whom they borrow.  But at the best it is a feeble way of meeting difficulties.  The other class, to which my correspondent evidently belongs, borrows because it has to, with the honest determination of returning the borrowed money as soon as possible.  There are few of us in the world today who have not at some time or other been forced to borrow to tide us over a crisis.  This timely loan has set many an honest man or woman upon his or her feet and in such manner borrowing is often a divine helping hand extended to mortals. But it should never be resorted to except as a last expedient, and it should never become a custom.

Here is another bit of a letter from a woman this time.  She writes:- `your remarks are so excellent that I just sit down at once and endorse all you say. I have gone through a great deal in my life but one principle I always held, pay for what you want or do not get it at all.  Many a time I have kept on wearing clothes somewhat out of date until I felt I could really afford to get others. I agree with  you to run into debt with a doubtful prospect of paying is little less than stealing. Think of the shop keepers who trust people week after week afraid to say much for fear they lose the whole sum.  As you say many have gone down through this terrible system of charging goods.  However there is one remedy shopkeepers have in their own hands, cash discount should be given to those who pay cash instead of charging them the same as those who do not pay for months, if at all.  The letter concludes with an interesting point which will be taken up at another time.