When I was little, my mother didn't have much money. She was trying to support two kids on a secretary's salary while her ex-husband dodged child-support duties left and right. When it came to Christmas, she leaned heavily on layaway at Kmart. So did many other families who didn't have a ton of cash to spare, and didn't have credit cards.
This year, Kmart has been canceling layaway orders left and right, including ones that were paid in full. Even worse, they seem to only be doing refunds for these cases (though some have gotten a measly 10% off a similar order), and those refunds won't come until after Christmas.
Had this happened to my mother, it would have devastated Christmas. Look, I know some of you will say that she could have used it as a teaching moment to show us the real meaning of Christmas being family, but let's be real. If you're a family with little money to spare, the act of giving and opening gifts on Christmas is sometimes the one time a year you get to pretend that everything is okay. You get to sample a bit of what it's like to be in a household where budgets are always tight and minor expenses cause major financial disasters.
The Kmart Facebook page is being swarmed with people who are angry, upset, and sometimes in a downright panic over what they're going to do, now that they have no gifts and their Christmas money is tied up until well after the 25th. I feel for them, and I hope that Kmart gets off of its ass and does something to actually help them, rather than just copy and paste the same "We're sorry you're upset" message over and over.