lay buy

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lay buy

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:37 pm

I came across this term just yesterday at our Church meeting.

It means something similar to hire purchase: the customer puts down a deposit on an item, then pays off the balance in instalments. The difference is that with lay buy, the customer tales the goods from the department store etc only when the whole cost has been paid over. (If the customer defaults, I think it is up to him to sell his interest in the goods on to a third party.)

Spelling of the compound seems disputed:

Laybuy, Lay-buy, Lay Buy // Real Deals | Layby | Lay-buy | Lay-buys online (Internet)

And noun:

What is a lay buy?

attributive noun:

Lay-Buy Price : AUD$32.00. AUD$6.40 per month

and verb

Start lay buying a. Valeutirie cookie start lay buying things and buying things in bulk

usages appear on the Net. But not very many. The last usage is V + V multi-word verb (very exciting!)

I can't find any mention of this term in the more readily available online dictionaries - has anyone met it?

Re: lay buy

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:52 pm

In the US, there is a similar term layaway, meaning "a way of buying something in which you do not receive the thing you are buying until you have paid the full price by making small payments over a period of time". (See OneLook for definitions in other dictionaries.)

This purchasing option, which is offered by some discount retailers like Walmart and K-Mart, is intended to make things affordable for customers who might otherwise be tempted to spend the money on other things. It's essentially an external mechanism for disciplining the spending of such customers.

I'd never come across the term lay buy, but maybe it's just the UK version of layaway.

Incidentally, should your last example have read Start lay buying a Valentine cookie ?

Re: lay buy

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:49 pm

See how excited I was by the V + V MWV possibility! (make believe / let go / let fly / let drop / hear tell / make believe / make do).

Re: lay buy

Post by Bobinwales » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:10 pm

I know it as 'lay by', but I hav to say that lay buy makes a lot more sense.
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: lay buy

Post by Ken Greenwald » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:56 pm

Edwin, I've never seen/heard the words lay buy/laybuy/layby/lay-by used. In the U.S. we say ‘installment plan’ (as per Erik). The expression appears as a noun with the spelling lay-by in the online dictionaries Wiktionary, Oxford Dictionaries, and the Macmillan Dictionary. It is said to be used in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. In my quote search I didn't find one example of it being used outside of these countries.


LAYBY noun (Australian) [1920s and still in use]: A deposit on and the subsequent purchasing by installments of an article in a shop. [The shop ‘lays’ the article ‘by’, i.e. one side] [[I'm guessing that the use of ‘buy’ was a later incarnation.]]


LAYBY noun and verb (Australian colloquial); since circa 1925 : To secure an item for sale by making a deposit and paying installments until the full price is paid, without interest charges, the goods being taken only when payment is complete.

In my search for some quotes, I found that the above meaning of the expression was swamped by another (#1 below). Here are other definitions:


LAY-BY (noun):

1) (UK): A paved area at the side of a highway designated for drivers to stop in, for emergency parking, or where vehicles can wait, with larger lay-bys possibly having facilities like food vendors or public telephones.

2) (UK): A railroad siding; a second, short railroad track just to the side of a railroad track, connected with the main track by a switch and used for unloading, bypassing, etc.

3) (Nautical): A widened section of a narrow river or canal, formed to one side so as to leave the channel free, for mooring of vessels, where vessels can lay over or allow others to pass.

The following quotes from archived sources are for the purchasing plan meaning of lay-by:
<2001 “An instalment warrant is rather like purchasing an item on lay-by. When an investor purchases an instalment warrant, he or she usually pays a little more than 50% of the underlying share price, with the right to pay another instalment in the future.”—ABIX Australasian Business Intelligence, 21 October) [[Notice that ‘installment is spelled with one ‘l.’]]

<2005 “Make no mistake, this will be a Labour lay-by budget with hollow upfront promises and delivery on the never-never.”—Scoop Independent News (Wellington, New Zealand), 17 May>

<2008 “Layby offers and interest-free deals were rife, said Allan, but customers had to check the terms and conditions. With layby, it was important to get a written note of the agreement signed by the retailer.”—The Herald on Sunday (Auckland, New Zealand), 13 July>

<2011 “. . . but written little about the provisions relating to lay-by agreements. . . . Previously, the law allowed the consumer to cancel the agreement at any time, and the store had to repay all monies paid, minus 10 percent as a cancellation penalty. But in practice, many smaller independent stores refused to refund customers at all.”—The Star (South Africa) 21 December>

2013 “Take 50 per cent off your next Bali holiday when you stay at the Alam Bidadari Villas in Seminyak. . . Blackout periods apply. Lay-by plan available.”—The Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia), 10 November> [[You can’t visit Bali in pieces, but I guess you can pay for it that way.]]
And here’s the ugly small print for Australia’s ToysRus Lay-Buy plan.


Ken – November 11, 2013

Re: lay buy

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:38 am

When I mentioned this posting to my wife, she pointed out that another feature of the {layaway / lay-by / lay buy (etc.)}-type purchase plan is that it provides a way for people with bad credit, or with no credit history, to pay for expensive items that they would otherwise require credit approval for.

The Wikipedia article is well worth a look for its concise but informative description and historical account.

Ken: I agree -- the Aussie Toys"R"Us small print is ugly indeed.

Re: lay buy

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Thu Nov 14, 2013 11:47 am

Thanks, gentlepeople. I see that the famous toy company does spell it using the verbal alternative - but then they can't even spell 'R' the accepted way.

Re: lay buy

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:36 am

.. but Ed you can also realise that the "Famous American toy company" has no history of the word and what it actually means .. so in their naive American way they screwed up and invented something that they "thought" was correct .. ooooops !! .. so the verbal alternative exists no more than if you went around inventing alternative spellings simply to satisfy some wordish itch that you needed to expand upon .. in those countries where they actually use lay-byes the spelling is clear .. oh and please don't give me ghits as some kind of evidence .. or is it N-grams? .. with the extensive advertising of Toys R Us there will be lots of ghits for "buy" .. also see HERE for the current government regulations and consumer rights published by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission for lay-byes ..

.. my own memories of my Mummy and Daddy using lay-by are fondly remembered .. there was no alternative for poor working class people .. it had nothing to do with "bad" credit as the concept of credit checks didn't even exist back then .. it did provide an avenue for lowly paid workers to acquire goods, often simple necessary goods like cooking utensils and furniture, that a weekly wage could not secure .. the alternative was trying to save the necessary money for a cash purchase .. once the lay-by had been made I can remember that the excitement would build just knowing you had something new coming .. I can remember Mummy clearing a space for a new sideboard that sat vacant for what seemed to me as a child an "eternity" until the lay-bye was completed .. going and looking in a shop window knowing that you had "one-of-those" coming for your very own .. lay-byes in those early times had no time limit just as long as you made regular payments .. it was not unheard of that a lay-bye might be forgotten, say in the preparation for Christmas, and in those cases a letter would come from the Lay-bye Department of the store to remind you and ask for a quick payment, not a full payment, just something in good faith .. it was not really an instalment plan as there was no necessary plan to it .. you paid what you could when you could .. the picture I am trying to paint is that the lay-bye was an important part of the economic social fabric of industrial coal mining towns such I grew up in ..

.. there were of course the funny stories and what would now be called urban myths remembering that there were no computers to keep track of what belonged to whom and where it had been stored .. simple systems involving massive storerooms with tickets that were often not much more than a raffle ticket; one for you and one for them .. but about those stories >> the person who took their lay-bye home and then discovered that it was the wrong one and found it contained a fabulous diamond ring !!! .. the moral dilemma of keeping it or taking it back >> the prim and proper elderly lady who opened her lay-bye to find, much to the enjoyment of her elderly husband, that it contained a a black lace bra and scanties >> the family member, with similar name (there are 3 Janet Hodges in our family) who opened their lay-bye to find that they had received their birthday/Christmas/wedding present early .. and of course endless stories of getting the wrong thing or going in to find your lay-bye gone or misplaced, often to turn up later during a stocktake .. AND there was always a Dulcie or a Nettie or a Harold who had worked in the Lay-bye Department for 20 years and who could "divine" where lay-byes where simply by looking at the customer; finder of the impossibly lost; organiser extrodinaire who could store more things in less space than ever thought possible ..

.. but all things change .. the advent of Hire Purchase saw the beginning of the gotta-have-it-now mentality .. the big stores introduced limits on the amount of time you had to pay off lay-byes and the idea of "minimum" payments .. limits were placed on the minimum value of items that could be lay-byed .. "administration" fees were introduced that meant you paid extra for lay-byed goods .. and fees for discontinuing a lay-bye; this was previously a matter of cancelling and then receiving a full refund of deposit and payments .. still no credit checks because if you didn't pay you simply lost the goods and any money paid (win/win for the company) .. there were also long contractual agreements to be signed where previously it had been done at the till and was seen simply as a kind of purchase; honesty and trust given by both parties .. then came in-store credit cards with their accompanying fees and interest payments .. big stores changed their tune as they did not favour lay-byes as they took up valuable commercial floor space for storage .. and so it moved on to the have-it-now-with-nothing-to-pay for some fabulously long period of time .. when you think of it this is a return to the lay-bye system except you now store the goods and pay them off with no fees or interest over an extended period .. funny that ..

.. no doubt there are hundreds of memories out there about lay-byes .. stores here still use the system with storage off-site .. it is particularly good for the purchase of kids birthday/Christmas presents as it takes the hiding factor away .. but that of course takes away another glorious childhood right of being allowed to play hide'n'seek for presents ..

WoZ who lay-byed his wife for 33 years
Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: lay buy

Post by tony h » Sun Nov 17, 2013 12:03 pm

I knew this as asking the shop to "put it by" and for the shop to describe it as "laid by"
Signature: tony

I'm puzzled therefore I think.

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