Everyone knows that, when buying pretty much any kind of merchandise, paying with cash is by nearly all accounts the best option. Sometimes, though, cash isn't in plentiful supply for the average American consumer, and some items need to be procured post haste. Enter the wide world of credit.

But what if you don't have a credit card? For many consumers, the rent-to-own industry is waiting in the wings to provide the item they need with a payment plan they can afford. One consumable we'd never have imagined for the rent-to-own business, though, is tires. Somewhat surprisingly, it's apparently a booming business.

Back in the heyday of the early 2000s, a number of businesses sprouted to provide consumers will new wheels for their cars and trucks – mostly gaudy oversize chrome ones, we imagine – but that business model dried up when the recession set in. The solution, according to Ken Butler, chief operating officer for rent-to-own superpower Aaron's, was to offer the customer something they'd need instead of something they merely want.

Bingo. Tires are a necessity for every car and truck on the road, and, in case you haven't gone tire shopping recently, they're expensive. Thing is, they are also wear items, and we're not certain how that works into such a rental scheme. If nothing else, it makes these parting words from Butler sound somewhat ironic: "The sustainable part, the legitimate business, is the tires."

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