Almost a year ago I found myself in a difficult predicament. Both my husband and I had been laid off from our jobs and we had two young children, his elderly mother living with us and a mortgage to pay. We were broke and running out of ideas.
Just two years before this happened we had been doing so well. We were able to purchase our home with a small down payment and our mortgage payment was only about one hundred dollars more than our previous monthly rent had been. With the tax savings we felt like we were ahead of the game. We didn’t take expensive vacations, had only one car payment, and lived well within our means. So what happened?
My husband lost his job first. He was a manager at a manufacturing plant in our town and they made some changes within the company. He was a hard worker and knew he would get good references from both that company and the one he had worked at previously. We both thought that he would find a new position within two to three months. He spent every morning contacting companies, making calls and sending our resumes. We canceled a trip we had planned and cut down on as many expenses as we could.
Then I lost my job. My company was relocating out of the state and I was one of the last to find out. My work was more specialized so I knew it would take longer to find a new position. I knew that I would probably need more training. But my company had given me a three month severance package so we still felt that everything would be alright. But weeks turned into months and finally we didn’t know where to turn.
We had paid off our credit card debt before we bought our home. We were proud of the fact that we didn’t owe money to anyone except for our house. We even tried to get a second mortgage but now that we were both unemployed we were quickly turned down. One afternoon I was driving around trying to think about what to do next. That is when I remembered that I had received a credit card from JCPenney the month before. I had put the card in my purse but had not planned on using it. But as I thought about my family and our situation I changed my mind.
I turned at the next intersection and drove up to the area where the Sam’s Club and JCPenney stores were. My first stop was at the gas station. I filled up my tank and paid with my JCPenney card. It felt good to have a full tank of gas. I had been putting in ten dollars at a time for more than two months now. Then I entered the store. It was new and the aisles were wide. I went up and down each one, looking for the best deals on everything.
I filled up my basket with fresh fruits and vegetables, bakery goods, meat and cheese for sandwiches, ground meat and chicken, canned goods, paper towels, and many other items that I needed for my family. I even found a blouse that I could wear to a job interview the following week. It felt good to know that I would be bringing all of these things home to my family.
I looked around at the other shoppers. I wondered if they were having a tough time financially or if they just shopped here on a regular basis. I got in line to pay and pulled out my shiny, new JCPenney card. When I gave it to the cashier he asked me if I wanted any cash back. I took twenty dollars that I would use for the kid’s school lunches and to give to my husband so that he would have some money in his pocket.
When I pulled up in my driveway my husband was outside bring in our mail. He helped me bring in all of the groceries and we sat down together to talk about what had happened. Including all of the food, the new blouse, and the full tank of gasoline I had spent about one hundred and fifty dollars. The best part was that we would not have to pay for it all at once.
When everyone else had lost faith in us, JCPenney had been there for us. We are both working now but I will never forget my experience with JCPenney. I love you and appreciate your help, JCPenney. I hope everyone understands that you are there for us when others are not.