August 20, 2002
10:39 AM   Subscribe

This woman has balls. Karyn at wants you to help her get out of debt, one dollar at a time. Karyn is not alone - Americans are carrying a record $701 billion on revolving credit balances, which comes out to about $8,488 for the typical household with at least one card. Karyn racked up her debt buying expensive designer items at Bloomie’s. I admire her chutzpah, but am also resentful that she’s getting bailed out of her shopping-spree hangover. She's received almost $7,000 in donations in only two months. What’s your take on Karyn, and what’s your story?
posted by spacewaitress (48 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason:

Posted on July 9th.

I'm not normally a double-post fiend, but if I can stop this woman from receiving one more cent...
posted by perplexed at 10:42 AM on August 20, 2002

I can't wait to talk about this site for the Third time. Here's a tip, search for the link before you post it
posted by jonah at 10:43 AM on August 20, 2002

Whoops! Sorry.

Matt, feel free to take this out.
posted by spacewaitress at 10:48 AM on August 20, 2002

I hate Karyn. I hope when she's finished being bailed out that she marries a crack addict who sells all the goods she bought by living beyond her means. Compared to Karyn, prostitutes seem like noble, hard-working citizens
posted by uftheory at 10:50 AM on August 20, 2002

yeah, dp (tp?), but the credit card thing is still scary.

From the second link above: Americans carried an average credit card balance of $8,488 per household...the average cardholder has 3 to 4 bankcards and from 8 to 10 credit cards in their possession.

I thought I was in the hole, but man, do I have some catching up to do. That's average...
posted by gottabefunky at 10:51 AM on August 20, 2002

Unfortunately spacewaitress, the severity of this situation requires that Matt take you out.

The mefi death squad will be arriving momentarily.


That's what we do to double posters around here.
posted by ODiV at 10:51 AM on August 20, 2002

BTW, I don't think Karyn even exists.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:51 AM on August 20, 2002

The double is worth it to get the dont save karyn link in there.

Give us your money! We promise to spend it in the most irresponsible and outlandish ways. Hell, we might even embezzle some of it behind the scenes in an elaborate racketeering scam! Of course, we don't even know what racketeering is, but rest assured that it does not involve helping starving children in Africa.
posted by malphigian at 10:51 AM on August 20, 2002

Perplexed: I love the dontsavekaryn site.

And my heartfelt apologies for committing the most egregious of MetaFilter sins.
posted by spacewaitress at 10:53 AM on August 20, 2002

i screwed my credit up so massively that no one will give me a credit card! that makes me a smart money manager! woo hoo!
posted by quonsar at 10:53 AM on August 20, 2002

never under estimate the gullibility of lonely nerds with paypal accounts.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:53 AM on August 20, 2002

quonsar: Me too! Woo hoo!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 10:55 AM on August 20, 2002

The mefi death squad will be arriving momentarily.

With Coca Cola printed on the sides of their assault rifles...
posted by adampsyche at 10:57 AM on August 20, 2002

What the fuck??????!!

Who the hell is stupid enough to send money to this b*tch who is so shamelessly asking for handouts?

Well, here's my pitch: I have $165,000 debt, including my house and student loans. All I need is 165,000 people to send me a $1, or 82,500 people to send $2...
posted by drstrangelove at 10:57 AM on August 20, 2002

Maybe I should start a 'send my kids to college' site.

I'll use some to pay down my debt, like my mortgage, so when my kids are old enough to go to college, I won't have any debt to worry about!

I mean, $1,000 a week? All my problems would be solved!
posted by rich at 10:58 AM on August 20, 2002

adampsyche: Hey... Running a deathsquad isn't cheap these days.

Or easy for that matter. After a well planned op, I like to relax in my Whirlpool brand jacuzzi while sipping on an ice cold Coca-Cola.
posted by ODiV at 11:00 AM on August 20, 2002

I wonder if this "Karyn" person pays fucking taxes on the money people give her...I didn't read her site long enough (the blood pressure was up a bit) to find out...if she doesn't she needs to be reported to the IRS...

posted by drstrangelove at 11:01 AM on August 20, 2002

Well, before this gets rubbed out, I'd like to say once more how much I love Karyn's site. Especially the way it's managed to draw out all of the miserable humourless bastards on the 'net who can point to her as the new poster child for the death of civilization (pt 836,339). Wah, cry, gnash-teeth &c.

She'll be debt-free by Xmas - HA!

And somebody pur-lee-uhs tell me the differece between a blogger with a paypal button / Amazon wish-list / Cafe Press page asking for donations & Apart from the fact that is about a billion times funnier...

And read the fucking site before you launch into your 'Sheeee's eeeeeevul!' horseshit.
posted by i_cola at 11:03 AM on August 20, 2002

I have a question for the money minded folks: I have no debt and no savings. Would I be better off the way I am, or with some of both?

I keep hearing how awful it is that no one has savings any more. Then I hear how really awful it is that we have so much debt. Which is worse?
posted by badstone at 11:05 AM on August 20, 2002

Wow! Resentful much?

I don't get the hatred for this woman, whether she exists or not. All I can think is: "why didn't I think of that?"
posted by goethean at 11:05 AM on August 20, 2002

And somebody pur-lee-uhs tell me the differece between a blogger with a paypal button / Amazon wish-list / Cafe Press page asking for donations & Apart from the fact that is about a billion times funnier...

Self Respect. These people don't have websites for the sole purpose of making money based on pity. Karyn is a hack. She's probably a man with an overstock of Prada shoes.
posted by mad at 11:08 AM on August 20, 2002

A little defense for the Space Waitress...on August 15th CNN interviewed the internet panhandler on Talkback Live so she could defend herself.(transcript) might be happy to know 95% of CNN viewers would not give her any money.
Perhaps the other 5% have walked in her shoes.
posted by oh posey at 11:09 AM on August 20, 2002

Am I the only one who thinks this isn't a bad idea? I mean, if Karyn turns out to be a real person, more power to her. If not, perhaps the owner(s?) of the site can be sued for fraud or something.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 11:10 AM on August 20, 2002

THE SIMPSONS DID IT! remember Happy Dude? ; )

if people are dumb enough to send her money, then she wins. She's not robbing anybody. I've seen people donate to stupider causes, imo...
posted by stifford at 11:10 AM on August 20, 2002


i think you may have problems with feelings of agression towards women.
posted by sad_otter at 11:10 AM on August 20, 2002

Self-respect? Piffle! We're talking a grand a week here!
posted by goethean at 11:12 AM on August 20, 2002

Yeah, don't get mad. Big deal, she has a pan handler website. Just don't give her money. Now, if she is lying, thats a bad thing. or if she isn't reporting the real gift amount.

What are the tax laws concerning gifts?

I have no debt and do have savings. I'd still be glad to accept a check or two as a gift. Anyone?
posted by tomplus2 at 11:12 AM on August 20, 2002

Tee-hee! Catchy book title!

"How To Save Your Child From Crippling Debt And Protect Them From Predatory Credit Lending Before It's Too Late!
posted by soundofsuburbia at 11:13 AM on August 20, 2002

Yeah, my blood was boiling too after seeing her site. She does however state that all her donations will be reported as income to the IRS.

What really chaps my hide is that I'm facing about $20,000 in student loan debt, with credit card debt on top of that, and I didn't really spend it on frivolous things. I have a plan for paying off my debt that involves working to pay it all off. It'll take about four years.

And how is Karyn funny? She may be a nice person, but fashionista snarking is not my idea of a good sense of humor.

badstone: Having debt is way way worse than having no savings. If you don't have savings, it only takes a little effort to start saving, and you can do it instantly. Getting out of debt is an arduous process that can take years. Take advantage of the fact that you are not in the hole, and stay out of it!!! Get a good book on money management, start investing money (prudently!), and watch the miracle of compound interest start working in your favor.
posted by spacewaitress at 11:14 AM on August 20, 2002

Well, at least you provided some context. Just curious: did you try any kind of search or not, spacewaitress?
posted by mediareport at 11:16 AM on August 20, 2002

i_cola: And somebody pur-lee-uhs tell me the differece between a blogger with a paypal button / Amazon wish-list / Cafe Press page asking for donations &

Said people are (usually) not begging to be relieved of the responsibility of their actions which, in this case, are the act of running up $20,000 worth of credit card debt buying designer clothing et al.

An Amazon wishlist is, more often than not, an easy way for someone to share their interests in books, music, and movies without having to produce these documents by hand, or an easy way for friends and family to make birthday/Christmas purchase the recipient is guaranteed to enjoy. (I use mine primarily to remind me of things I need to buy when I get a chance.) And you do realize you actually receive a product in exchange for your money on Cafepress, right?
posted by Danelope at 11:19 AM on August 20, 2002

I hereby invoke the Rule of Pancakes:

"Any thread that continues to solicit comments even after its provenance is determined to be faulty should be removed forthwith before the Silly People arrive and begin to discuss The Designated Breakfast Item."
posted by briank at 11:20 AM on August 20, 2002

funny how that "miracle" of compound interest works WAAAAY better if you're a lender than if you're a saver.
posted by quonsar at 11:21 AM on August 20, 2002

I don't have problems with women. But I have a major problem with our "something-for-nothing" society. I have credit card debt, on top of other debts, and I have to pay it off. It's a long, slow process, but I'm plodding away. Once it's gone, it will be an achievement.

Some panhandling, no-self-respecting jerk decided she didn't need to pay her debts and wants everyone else to do so. She probably subscribes to the notion that she is some sort of victim, and society owes it to her to get a fresh start.

By the way, if Karyn was a man, I'd have called him an asshole, bastard, SOB, etc, etc.
posted by drstrangelove at 11:22 AM on August 20, 2002

Mediareport: [shuffles foot, looks off to one side] No, I did not do a search. I just assumed that if it had been on here, I would have seen it. Looks like I wasn't reading Metafilter as obsessively as I thought I was. Again, my humblest, most sincere, most abject apologies.
posted by spacewaitress at 11:22 AM on August 20, 2002

I'm going to have to go with i_cola on this one.

Basically you have a girl here who fucked up big time. Can't deny that. Even she knows she fucked up big time. She's not even making any pretenses about knowing that she fucked up big time.

But instead of taking the easy way out of her fuck up--which would be to file bankruptcy, or just not pay the debts-- she's searching for (and finding) ways to pay it off. She is working, and putting her own money toward paying this off. She's cutting corners, selling her belongings. Hello!? If that's not a sense of responsibility, I don't know what is. It's not bad to ask for help when you need it. And I don't think that anyone can deny she needs it.

I understand what is definitely a knee-jerk reaction to this-- some girl fritters away $20,000 and expects other people to pay the bills off for her? The NERVE. Where does she get off? I have debt, TOO. She has no social conscience!

Actually, I think she's got more social conscience then Bob and Ben of the anti-site. If I had a dollar to spare, I'd send it to her. People make mistakes, yes, sometimes even huge mistakes. And given the almost immediate public reaction to someone who asks for help in fixing the mistakes they make, it takes all kinds of courage to go about publicly asking for help.

There are people in this world who have the incredibly ridiculous notion that asking for help to solve your problems isn't adult or responsible so ingrained in their heads that they would rather go ill/injured, broke and homeless. I have as a friend a fellow who has chronic wrist pains, isn't sure what it is, but would rather continue doing painful typing work until he has enough money to see a doctor than ask his parents for the money. That is not worthy of respect. That is stupid.

I think Karyn's a resourceful lass, quite possibly as sweet as she claims she is, and I hope she finds her way out of debt. If this is a hoax, and just a way of getting money, then a bunch of people are short $1, maybe $5 that they gave with good intentions. Being duped would undoubtedly suck (and would deserve swift and harsh punishment plus reparations), but it doesn't hurt that there are thousands of people willing to help someone who asks for it.
posted by precocious at 11:25 AM on August 20, 2002

Badstone: don't forget that you have to establish a credit record...that usually means some form of credit or store card and a record of building up debt and paying it off over time and on-time....otherwise no house in your future, or car (unless you pay cash for it)...Everyone has credit scores and all major life expenditures usually involve those scores(based on your credit record) being examined...Are there any finance whizzes or CPAs here at MetaFilter?

Space: I think this thread is safe now, and I know someone who used to work with her (they say she was a ditz)!!! And us newbies weren't around to post the first two there!
posted by amberglow at 11:26 AM on August 20, 2002

badstone: building up a credit rating is a Good Thing, because later in life you may really want / need it. You can live life without credit, it's just a lot harder (do you ever want to buy a house?).

So I would recommend at least getting one small credit card, and occasionally carrying a balance from one month to the next. Even better, get a card that lets you earn airline miles if possible.

Then someday if you want to get a new car or a house loan, you'll be better off than if you never had any credit rating at all.

Oh yeah, and keep some savings too, of course.
posted by beth at 11:28 AM on August 20, 2002

Right...because she is so upright she decided not to declare bankruptcy. Maybe she ought to get the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Give me a freaking break. She's taking the easiest way out I have ever seen, and it's shameless. Declaring bankruptcy would have meant no credit for a few years, something our dear Karyn couldn't do without. Like a fish without water.

Maybe I should write out a credit card access check to pay off her debts...
posted by drstrangelove at 11:29 AM on August 20, 2002

Precocious: I think Karyn's a resourceful lass, quite possibly as sweet as she claims she is...

1)If you claim to be sweet, you're not. It's an immutable law.

2)Karyn is resourceful, in a brazen, gobsmacking kind of way. The people giving to her are the real problem in my opinion. Utter, utter, enabling morons. But we all do stupid things sometimes...

Anyone here dropped any change on Karyn?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 11:32 AM on August 20, 2002

She seems like a freeloader who can get away with it just because she's cute. Even her daily save-a-buck schemes are vaguely unethical, like using her pal's office phone to make long-distance phone calls, or re-attaching the tags to worn pants and returning them to the store. She even crows about saving $3 by using her roommate's salad dressing instead of buying her own. That's just plain annoying.
posted by spacewaitress at 11:33 AM on August 20, 2002's whois record:

Save Karyn
G Rosen
360 Atlantic Ave. - PMB 110
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Phone: 917-612-3275

So the question is, who is G Rosen?
posted by devo at 11:35 AM on August 20, 2002

Somebody please tell me that this G Rosen character is actually making all of this up, just to get people like me annoyed...please tell me it's true...
posted by drstrangelove at 11:41 AM on August 20, 2002

Karyn appeared on the Today Show last week and revealed her face and last name (Bosnak).

When her site appeared, I thought it was funny because it was such a brazen and shameless plea for money from someone who doesn't deserve $20,000. Funnier still was the notion, that is quickly being proven true, that she's going to reach her goal. She's a charming person, and has a slick media-friendly way about her; she quickly disclaims any notion that she should receive money because she deserves it.

However, last night I was leaving a restaurant when I spotted a handmade flier. It was promoting an effort to buy a van and wheelchair for the benefit of Christy Corum, a 12-year-old girl who recently broke her neck in a jet-ski accident.

Looking at Christy's picture really put into perspective what Karyn Bosnak is doing: She's taking time, attention, and funds that could have been spent on people who legitimately need help for problems that are not of their own making. There isn't a single link on SaveKaryn.Com to a real charity -- in some ways, her site is mocking real appeals for charity by employing the same technique to such a crass end.

Though on one level I am amused by it, I don't think I would be able to live with myself if I knew that strangers paid $15,000 of my debt when there are thousands of people like Christy Corum out there who could've been helped by that kind of compassion.
posted by rcade at 11:58 AM on August 20, 2002

I have to admit, initially, I was like-- who the hell does she think she is? Fortunately, a little self-awareness goes a long way. So why don't y'all just acknowledge the real reason this pisses you off so much?

1 - that you didn't think of a legal and (despite mass skewered perceptions on what's acceptable) perfectly okay method of solving money problems like this, and

2 - even if you did, you'd never have the guts to do it. Because everyone knows that this sort of thing is shameless, and immediately turns one into a pimple on the ass of society.

It's actually pretty funny! She's being bashed for 1) making a mistake, 2) being honest about making the mistake, and 3) working long hours and/or taking extra jobs to help pay off the debt, 4) asking for money from perfect strangers, while in no way pretending that she can give them anything in return outside of her heartfelt thanks. By what logic--outside of that born of resentfulness that another human being in trouble is getting help--is this wrong?

Maybe it was being raised poor that gives me this point of view. I was taught that so long as it's legal and doesn't hurt anyone else, you handle your business, you get out there and hustle, you do what you have to. Take more than one job if you have to, ask for help if you have to-- all that can hold you back is pride, and pride can't fill your stomach or put a roof over your head. I'd be more willing to give a dollar to this girl, than to a fully able-bodied person who isn't working, or who won't ask for help, but needs the money for a more "socially legitimate" reason than to pay for a mistake.

Wow. Mefites are great and all, but major points here for thinking inside the box. In a teeny tiny corner of it, even. And it's sad, but I'm willing to bet that this wouldn't be nearly so big of an issue if she'd just grovel or something. If you're going to be asking for help, everyone knows that you're supposed to at least debase yourself, or show some sort of shame, how dare she have the nerve to be something other than miserable?

She's just so... ugh.
posted by precocious at 12:10 PM on August 20, 2002

.that usually means some form of credit or store card and a record of building up debt and paying it off over time and on-time....otherwise no house in your future, or car (unless you pay cash for it)

I don't think this is true. I recently asked a loan representative at Bank of America whether getting and using a credit card would make it easier to get a mortgage. He said there's not much of a connection: paying off debts you have accumulated is good, but getting new debts just to pay them off won't help. No debt, a solid employment record, and on-time rent and utility payments will get you a better deal on a home loan than a history of credit card use.

There's more than one formula for interpreting a credit report. Your history is calculated one way for credit cards, another for "consumer credit" (cars, furniture, etc) and yet another way for mortgages.

Maybe other banks are different, but with BofA it'd actually be easier for me and my completely blank credit report to get a mortgage than a credit card.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:14 PM on August 20, 2002

I think she stopped using her real name after she received some scary emails and mail. Based on the responses here, it doesn't surprise me that there might be people out there who respond over the top to this.

To echo what others have said, the reality is I'm a grown-up and if I decide to give someone my money (televanglist, homeless person, charity, fiscally irresponsibl people) it's my right. What do you care? Are you just mad because you didn't think of it first? Can anyone of us say that we wouldn't like to have someone else magically make our debt disappear? She's selling her items on ebay as well as taking donations btw.

That being said, while I find the idea amusing I'm not giving her any of my money because I have my own money pit and college education to pay off. And I had to write a hot check last night have my dog put to sleep. So people who don't like what she's doing, shut the hell up, don't go to her site or give her money. Pretty simple stuff.

On preview rcade: Are you saying that you gave money to savekaryn and now wish you'd given it to Christy Corum? What a crock to say that she is taking money away from other kinds of charity. To take your example, how is Karyn's decision to spend money any different than Christy's decision to ride a jet-ski (other than what parent would let a 12 year old ride a jet ski on her own)? I don't think anyone who would give to savekaryn wouldn't give to another charity, matter-of-fact, it's probably just the opposite. If I'm going to be swayed by such a weak reason to give money to someone, then I'm likely already compelled by more emotional pleas.
posted by nramsey at 12:14 PM on August 20, 2002

What is at issue here is not whether this is legal, or whether anyone has the right to tell someone whom they can or can't give money. It comes down to personal responsibility.

We live in a nation where someone isn't even responsible for their own debts anymore. The fact that her debt is being repaid by others proves that we are a nation of morons. This woman ran up her debt by being irresponsible (I could feel sorry for a single mom who had to use her credit cards to pay for their child's medical bills) and buying frivolous items. Now she expects society to pay her bills.
posted by drstrangelove at 12:24 PM on August 20, 2002

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