I watched 20/20 last night in my hotel room. The episode was about debt in America, which apparently is an epidemic. One of the stories included in the show was about a young woman living in New York City whose expensive handbag and shoe addiction caused her to rack up $20,000 in credit cards bills. (Where have I heard this story before? Hmmm…)
In order to get out of debt, Karyn created the Web site www.savekaryn.com, which she used as a vehicle to solicit donations from the general public (AKA strangers). Through it all, she was completely honest about her intentions, explicitly stating on the site, something along the lines of, “What’s in it for you? Honestly… nothing.”
She raised more than $13,000.
Of course, Dateline focused on the morality of Karyn’s plan to get out of debt. She defended her actions by maintaining that her idea was a creative solution to her problem; not to mention, she didn’t file bankruptcy and she didn’t “run to mommy and daddy.”
Do I think Karyn’s solution to her spending problem spotlighted her inability to take responsibility for her own shopping habit? Sure. However, I don’t judge her. I mean, seriously people, if someone wanted to pay off my school loans, no strings attached, far be it from me to stand in his or her way. I don’t want to pay my bills. Who really does?
Karyn’s whole “I’ll get strangers to pay for my expensive accessories” plan doesn’t really piss me off—it’s slightly annoying. Here’s what does piss me off: for some reason, Karyn’s lapse in budgeting judgment sparked some genius publisher to give her a book deal, because OBVIOUSLY buying expensive shoes and purses in New York City until you fall into a deep, dark debt that you then ask strangers to pay for is the making of a fabulous story. Think Sex and the City meets pan handling on a street corner (“I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes”). How very glamorous. Oh and did I mention that some Hollywood genius is making her book into a movie? Think The Pursuit of Happiness meets The Devil Wears Prada minus the part where the main character is actually busting his or her ass on the job.
Why in the hell does Karyn get a book deal? Is Karyn an insanely talented writer? Educated guess… highly unlikely (but I may read her book just to find out).
Hearing Karyn’s story of debt turned dream job—as in my dream job, to be a fulltime writer—made me feel the same way I felt when I finished reading Trading Up, one of Candace Bushnell’s gems of a novel and The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger. Apparently all you need to get a book deal these days is a story about a young, single woman living in New York City running around in designer clothes she can’t afford. Whether or not you can actually write is apparently optional.