It's fair to say that the UK has really taken payday loan companies to our hearts. They're just so adorable! There's Wonga (representative APR 4214%) and their dotty puppet pensioners! Or maybe Cashlady (APR an even more mouthwatering 2670%) and their empathetic former frontwoman Kerry Katona ("We all know I've had my financial problems in the past...")! Yes, payday loan companies are the nation's new-found love, and so as I am currently the ongoing target of the courting of 13 separate companies, let me count the ways...
THEY LOVE ME BACK
Yes, since I apparently managed to let slip my hotmail address to these chaps somehow - I don't remember doing that, but hey - I've been inundated with correspondence, and always so friendly too! Tsunami Loan, for example, wrote to wish me a Merry Christmas on the 27th of March, suggesting they just couldn't wait the remaining nine months to bide me tidings of comfort and joy, whereas Gatekey Lending (1737%) would apparently love to help me with my monthly bills, hence their remarkably low representative APR! It's like being on an internet dating website where nobody doesn't fancy you, and quite frankly, it's enough to make a young man blush. Today, for example, between the hours of 8am and 8pm, I received emails, many of them multiple ones from the same company, no less than 35 times. Why, a chap could get a swollen head from such attention!
THEY HAVE SUCH CUTE MASCOTS
Well, apart from Cashlady, obviously. Reel-BigCash (1737%) have a kindly old man on a fishing boat, proving that payday loan companies aren't just lovely, they're happy to big up the senior folk. Meanwhile, UK Dosh Now (4559%) have a grinning man in a shirt and toe somehow made cuter by the fact that he doesn't have a nose or eyes. He's just so happy with his loan he has literally grinned his face off!
THEY ALL HANG OUT TOGETHER
Yep, pretty much all PLCs do they thang together in one community-vibed office. UK Payday Source, My Trusted Loan, Payday Today, Gatekey Lending and Reel-BigCash, for example, all do it in the fashionable locale of Suite 12497, 145-157 St John Street in Clerkenwell. Now, the cynics among you might just say, "Pete, that's actually not a genuine office address, it's just a forwarding office that external agencies use to a) confer a swish-sounding central London address on their operation and b) remain more or less uncontactable if anyone wishes to pursue a direct grievance with said agency by mail, or turn up at their head office mob-handed with burning torches." Maybe, but isn't it nicer to think of them all on a Friday night, hanging out on Brick Lane and letting their hair down?
THEY ARE MUSIC FANS
Well, Easy Quid Finance certainly are - they share office space with Aeon Zen, a promising progressive metal act from Cambridge (who are adept at "transcending stylistic and generic boundaries, moving from soft to heavy" according to Wikipedia - the band, that is, not Cambridge) - imagine what a riot they must have every day. "Pete," the same cynics might say, "that's just one particular company doing the 'swish-sounding central London location' thing who happen to have amusingly incongruous virtual office tenants." But I'm not listening to them, I am doing devil's horns and blasting Enigma, the new Aeon Zen long-player.
THEY ARE ADORABLY TECH-UNSAVVY
As technology continues to thunder relentlessly forward, forward, ever forward, crushing all in its path, it's refreshing to come across a few operations out there that aren't all about "apps" and "tablet editions" and all that inexplicable hoo-haa. Payday loan companies are refreshingly lo-fi and DIY in their workings - for example, in the emails with which they are currently ardently bombarding me, there is not one of them that has an "unsubscribe" link that actually works - guys, you need to make heads roll in the IT compartment for that one! Thankfully, the "link unavailable" message usually helpfully informs you that you can still send them a written unsubscribe request to a swish-sounding central London location. And wasn't it a nicer, more innocent time when we all communicated by hand? If you visit their websites, there're only a few of them who have remembered to even include a contact email address - doh! - and if you do email it requesting that they unsubscribe you, it either bounces back as undeliverable or doesn't get a reply. They're just crazy old-fashioned guys!
THEY HAVE MULTIPLE IDENTITIES, LIKE SPIES
Or like the Wu Tang Clan or the people in Hustle or something equally as contemporary as that. Payday Today, for example, are also UK Payday and Payday Source on the side. And UK-DoshNow is also DoshNow and Your Dosh Now in disguise (that one was quite easy to see through, to be honest)! That doesn't stop all of their separate identities sending you emails on the same day, often within minutes of each other. Oh, look, the cynics are back. "Pete, they're just doing that so they can harass you with so much spam that you can't be arsed to try to unsubscribe from all of it." Yeah? Or maybe we're all SECRET AGENTS AT PLAY!
THEY PLAY HARD TO GET
Oh, you can't just get with a UK payday loan company just like that, you know, they're not that type of girl. If, for example, I wanted to call any of Cash Wave, Tsunami Loan, UK Payday Source, My Trusted Loan, Easy Quid Finance, Sherlock Loans, Gatekey Lending, Reel-BigCash, UK Loan Centre etc. directly to see how their day is going or to tell them to fucking unsubscribe me from their mailing list now now, I wouldn't be able to do it from the number on their website, as there isn't one. Why, you teasing little coquettes! You gon' make us work to get them digits!
EVERYONE INVOLVED WITH EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM WILL ONE DAY BE DEAD
I'm only joking. I really do adore you all. Lots of love, Pete (representative APR 0%).
Follow Pete Cashmore on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tweetcashmore