The young couple stood together as they fed the shredder. Gone was the torturous guilt and the suspicion, the fear of answering the phone, the dread that rose at the sight of a stranger on the doorstep. The machine spewed out the last of its now benign plastic contents and whirred into silence. The couple looked at each other and vowed silently that they will stay clean this time.
Even if American Express offers them two months with no service charge and unlimited credit.
This is the downtown office of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service, a 40-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to healing the overextended, the bill-collector fugitives, the plastic junkies. An 80-year-old man on Social Security charges his way into a $30,000 debt; a young actress besieged by more creditors than casting agents; a woman gambles away her house at Gardena card clubs--counselors finally convinced her that perhaps she should tell her husband about that 30-day eviction notice.