There’s something new on the high street today, as the first pocket money loan shop for children opens in Finsbury Park. Or should I say Funsbury Park, since local children will no longer have to wait for all that their little hearts desire. Just pop in or get your pocket money loan online, and you too can go wild in Toys’r’us.
It’s a joke of course.
Pocket Money Loans is a project from artist Darren Cullen, who is out to draw attention to our casual attitudes to debt, and the predatory tactics of payday lenders. It “takes our consumer debt culture to its logical conclusion” he says, in promoting immediate gratification and glorifying financial irresponsibility.
“We help you buy the things you can’t afford!” boasts the website. “Whatever you need it for, Pocket Money Loans allow you to live beyond your means!”
I think the satire is particularly smart in highlighting the infantilising language and tone of payday loan companies. There are, after all, companies called ‘Sunny’ and ‘Peachy’ among the many options. There are companies that are so cartoonish in tone that you do wonder if they’re aimed at children – see redwallet, for example. In some cases, they probably are. Adverts for payday loans often run in daytime TV slots and seem to knowingly play on the ‘pester power’ factor. Just this summer Wonga withdrew a puppet-based ad that it acknowledged may have been “inadvertently attracting the very young or vulnerable”.
You can’t actually get a loan on the site, needless to say. And if you pop into the shop, you’ll find it’s actually the new Atom Gallery and there is artwork on sale.