Debt for Dinner

The dark side of an economy not working for working people

Andy Spears
2 min readMay 16, 2024
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

You’re at the grocery store buying essentials — what you need to feed you and your family for the next week.

The total comes back — and it is more than you planned, more than you have readily available.

But then you see the sign for “Pay in 4.” You ask — and it’s simple. Just pay 25% of your grocery bill today and the rest over the next six weeks. Every two weeks, a payment will be drawn on the account you provide.

You think this will help — you can leave with what you need and make a plan for buying less next week.

It’s a classic debt trap.

You probably will need the same or similar groceries next week.

Even if you can pay the full bill for that week’s groceries, you now have a grocery loan payment due. And then two more.

A new report by the Urban Institute uncovers the ubiquity of debt as a tool to buy basic needs — like food.



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .