If you're fortunate enough to have never taken out a payday loan — or even had to look up what it was — here's the basic gist of it: You need a few hundred dollars to pay off an urgent bill; you take out a payday loan; payment of the loan is due on your next payday; borrowers often default on payment; interest rates, which according to Last Week Tonight can be as high as 1900 percent, rack up your debt, forcing you to have no choice but to take out even more payday loans; you are now stuck in these lenders' evil, greasy clutches.
If you still don't get the picture, Oliver provided this handy diagram, which he says is actually part of the training manual for Ace Cash, a payday loan lender.
Oliver lovingly calls it "a recycling symbol for human misery" and "the circle of debt."
Clearly, payday loans are traps that prey on the financially unstable. And everybody needs to know that they have other options — even when it seems like taking out a quick $200 from these lenders is the only solution. Thus, Oliver launched a counter-campaign to inform people of their better options, and he's enlisted some star power to help spread the word. Watch Sarah Silverman tell you about all the alternatives to payday loans!
The PSA highlights a truly simple alternative — it's called Anything Else. The idea is, instead of taking out a payday loan, you literally do anything else.
Silverman offers some suggestions of "anything else," like selling your sperm or blood, or throwing yourself in front of a rich guy's car. He'll likely throw enough cash your way for you to pay your Con Edison bill for the next six months, just so he can bypass exchanging insurance information.
And if you're elderly, Silverman kindly reminds you that you have more rights than the rest of us.
Silverman reminds us that there are people out there who will pay for almost anything.
And she means anything. "Doodies are more, like double ... it's something that you have to do every day anyway." Good point, Sarah Silverman.
The bottom line is: doing anything else is better than borrowing from payday loan lenders, whom Silverman has an affectionate nickname for.
And you can start now.
Images: Last Week Tonight With John Oliver/YouTube