The LAY-A-GUEY Plan

It makes me feel kind of Nostalgic to see stores like Sears, WalMart & Kmart starting to offer their customers the choice of LAY AWAY plans again. Can’t say I blame them, with all the credit related uncertainties these days. Back when I was a kid….

In the old days, I remember my mom getting a lot of her furniture, appliances and other expensive housewares on the LAY AWAY plan. Every month, at her appointed day, she’d show up with the couple of dollars she managed to shave off of our limited income to make a payment at big stores like “LA POPULAR” and “CARABELLO” on Whittier Boulevard. She’d eagerly tell how she’d have that lovely lamp she wanted with just a few more payments. Of course, if she happened to come across a sudden windfall of cash such as when a few bills fell out of my Dad’s pocket during his Friday Night Borracheras, then she’d have that lamp so much the sooner.

Once I became old enough to make some money and make my own foolish decisions with my purchasing power, I soon learned that I could get that fírme Shirt from Robert’s or Victor’s if I just put it on LAY A WAY.

I enjoyed that feeling of responsibilty and accomplishment.

I remember once being in a state of stupid over a girl, (in typical teen fashion) and walking by Don Roberto’s jewelry store when a sharp dressed salesguy came out and said to me: “Hey, how about getting something for your Girlfriend? You can put it on Lay Away“….Those guys knew just how to get you good.

A couple of other stores on Whittier Boulevard offered this plan as well. So there was really no excuse for not dreaming for anything your little heart desired. I never defaulted on any of Law Aways by the way, but my cousin did, she couldn’t continue the payments and she came home crying one day saying that they wouldn’t give her her deposit back. Needless to say, my Aunt went over and raised a real Borlóte Escandaloso over there and my cousin got her money back. (But she and her mom were henceforth 86’d from the store).

One of the Department Stores on Whittier Boulevard that also offered Lay Aways on a lot of neat stuff was GRANT’S Department Store. My family and I would shop there often when I was a kid. I’d often run over there to check out the Toy Dept. while my Mom shopped for Ladie’s Unmentionables at LERNER’S. Unfortunately, GRANT’S no longer exists on the boulevard, but thanks to my prowling detective work, I found these semi-legible painted wall signs visible from the back alley side of the building.

If you look really closely, you can make out the faint outlines of G-R-A-N-T-S behind and below the block letters that spell out DEPT. STORE.

Memories of a Lost Boulevard Indeed!

While writing this, another old finance memory comes to mind. My Mom used to keep her savings account at Security Pacific Bank and later at PanAmerican Bank on Whittier & Vancouver. She would do this savings plan they had called the “CHRISTMAS CLUB” where you had to voluntarily contribute a certain amount of cash every month to this separate little Xmas Account, and in December you’d get to cash out this nice little sum for all your holiday shopping & expenses. I remember my Mom encouraging me to try it once and I would WHINE every month I had to fork over my Féria. But in the end, I got this little nice payout that I spent mostly on myself of course!

This entry was posted in East Los, Eastside, history, La Crisis, Pendejadas, Personal, Photos, Uncategorized by AlDesmadre. Bookmark the permalink.

About AlDesmadre

Al Guerrero, Artist/Humorist. Los Angeles, CA. Born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in East Los Angeles from the age of two, Al Guerrero grew up just steps from the famous Chicano strip, Whittier Boulevard. His youth experiences include witnessing and participating in the 1970 Chicano Power demonstrations, cruising cars on Whittier Boulevard, and graduating from Garfield High School. After dropping out of UCLA (with honors), he drew upon his lifelong passion for art and cartooning and pursued a career in graphic arts. During this period, he traveled overseas and found artistic inspiration from the masterworks he discovered within the European Art Museums. His career blossomed when he was eventually hired by the Walt Disney Company in 1995, where he worked as a creative artist for a number of years. Although the artistic work was rewarding, he eventually grew weary & disillusioned with the bureaucracy of the entertainment business, and left to work briefly in the educational field. His credits include producing a feature film with actor, Conrad Brooks of Ed Wood fame, founding and performing with the Punk Rock group “The Psychocats” at numerous L.A. & Hollywood venues during the 1990’s, and in 1999 he founded and created a hell-bent puppet cabaret show aptly named: “The Puppets from Hell”. As a long time active member of the Los Angeles Cacophony Society, Al “Quaeda”, as he was known, was involved in countless Cacophony Society pranks and events throughout the city. He also produced the “Incredibly Strange Cinema” cult film series as well as themed events such as the now infamous “Pornothon Movie Nights” and the satirical “Mexican Night: Noche De Tequila & Putas” shows at local nightclub venues. Throughout his art career, he has exhibited his canvas paintings at various local galleries, and has also written & illustrated numerous comic strips and Graphic Novel stories. Today, he lives in Silver Lake, California and works as a freelance artist and writer with numerous multi-media projects under his belt and in the works. His personal hobbies include collecting vintage toys and comic books, cinema history and Los Angeles City history. Contact: alguerrero@earthlink.net Al Guerrero P.O. Box 29697 Los Angeles, CA 90029-0697 www.alguerrero.com Myspace.com/thepuppetsfromhell

10 thoughts on “The LAY-A-GUEY Plan

  1. My mom usedlayaway plans, at places like Sears and Deardens and Zody’s. And buying crap on “credito” too. She still has that instinct to buy stuff on credit. I have to tell her to forget it, it’s a huge waste of money.

    There’s something oddly sleazy about the word “layaway,” actually. It sounds like a slogan for encouraging people to have pity and provide cheap sex to romantically retarded pendejos.

    “Lay a guey! Lay a guey! Lay a guey!”

  2. I see the humor in this, but as you know I am a downer.

    This reviving lay away is horrible. Why can’t we revive the true meaning of the holidays. Family, friends and not being an asshole.

    There are going to be lots of sad kids this Christmas, because of the silly values we have and the sophistication of marketing that we now market crap to kids. Toys, clothes, electronics, all kinds of materialistic crap.

    And that’s perfectly fine.

    Sex education that’s bad.
    Billboards for adults that’s bad, but marketing to five year olds, perfectly acceptable.

    I think we should have a give nothing but yourself holiday. No presents, no bs, just co-op dinners and community service for those less fortunate.

    Screw Christmas or rather screw what it has become.

    Browne

  3. Browne,
    Yeah we should have held those values all along, but inevitably, things get corrupted.
    Not to sound like a “Charlie Brown(e) TV Special”, but I hope the current crisis inspires more people to reawaken the true (non-materialistic) spirit of Christmas. I hope we can reverse this consumer driven gluttonous overload for more & more crap.

  4. One way that my Mom used Lay A Way to her advantage was that it enabled her to go out and get things she wanted that my Dad would otherwise not allow her to buy or would simply disapprove of. With a secret Lay A Way going on here & there, my Mom could acquire her merchandise slowly and on the low and my Dad would never know (or notice) how we got those things.

  5. great piece…i remember as a kid in the 80’s going with my parents to the First street department store, it recently closed down. I also remember going down to Soto and Brooklyn (now Cesar Chavez), they had, havent been in the area in a few years, a mens store that sold nice dress up clothes. We would also go shopping at the Big Buy for groceries and of course good old Bank of America.
    I also remember going to the Zody’s in Montebello and who can forget the trips to the Sears on Olympic or Dearden’s in downtown LA as well as Newberrys or Woolworth’s- even the red icees at Kmart 🙂

  6. Yeah, I’ve been reading a lot about the return of layaway. Sure it brings back memories. With the advent of credit cards we all quickly forgot about layaway and waiting to buy things until we could afford them. Also, bartering is coming back into vogue as well. But I’m not going to take all this too seriously. As soon as things get “back to normal” all these activities will be relegated to old people, weirdos and hippie-types. FYI, I’m in the weirdo category.

    I forgot all about bank x-mas clubs. I remember curiously looking over my father’s shoulder when he was doing the finances at his desk and seeing the x-mas club passbook and knowing what that would mean come December. Memories!

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