Black Coffee and Black Cards (A)

10 Pages Posted: 20 Aug 2019

See all articles by Gregory B. Fairchild

Gregory B. Fairchild

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


This case follows the recently married Shane and Erin as they explore the world of credit cards. Shane, a musician with an irregular salary and a spotty job history, was raised to avoid credit by his parents who had emigrated from a communist Eastern Europe. Erin, a marketing manager in a baby-formula company, has a steady salary but knows little about credit cards. Shane offers to do some research and report back in a week.This case reveals the complexity of the credit card business and the risks and rewards to a consumer that uses a financial product. In particular, users should recognize that the risk of having a credit card is how it might influence their consumption behavior. Credit cards offer a variety of conveniences, but they are an expensive form of short-term debt that can become an onerous burden if used beyond the means of the cardholder. Thus prudent use of credit cards is a key learning objective of both the A and B cases.



Aug. 5, 2019

Black Coffee and Black Cards (A)


“Need a warm-up?” The scent of fresh coffee drifted over from the pot in the waitress' hand.

“Sure,” said Shane, “and when you can, please bring us the check.” As the couple shared what would be their final cups of coffee in the diner, Erin noticed that she only had a $ 10 bill in her purse. “How much cash do you have? With the tip, I think we might be a bit short. I used to be a waitress, and I hate not tipping adequately.”

. . .

Keywords: credit cards, budgeting, finance, financial planning, risks and rewards, Resilience Education

Suggested Citation

Fairchild, Gregory B., Black Coffee and Black Cards (A). Darden Case No. UVA-F-1882. Available at SSRN:

Gregory B. Fairchild (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States


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