Thursday, March 5, 2009

the party's over

You know the hype when the party starts? You read the invitation--full of promise, maybe even a free gift if you arrive early. Everyone's excited you showed up, they shove a drink and a plate of food into your hands. The hostess makes you comfortable, acts all friendly and makes you wonder how you ever get along in normal life without having more moments like these.

Then the party drags on, it's late--the guests have grabbed their coats and left, one by one. You're sitting alone in their living room and your hostess is clearly ready for you to make your exit. She brings you your coat, holds it up to help you slide it on. She calls you a cab. She pushes boxes of leftover party food into your hands--Please leave. She's trying to be polite, but she's sick of your company. In fact, she'd be glad to never see you again. Ever.

Credit card companies are kind of similar. They stood on every corner stuffing our mailboxes with their invitations to their party in the 90's. Free bonus frequent flier miles! T-shirts! Cell phone minutes! Come--sign on the dotted line! Use our card and let us love you all over with perks and benefits. They lined my student union at college with booths and stalked us on the beaches during Spring Break. They were relentless in their begging--worse than all the sororities asking me to pledge.


No, we didn't get much mail...just this stack of 500 credit card applications.

Fast forward to 2009. You're only paying a minimum balance. You're not making any new purchases. You're a lump on their couch, not budging and not much fun anymore. They don't want you around and can't exactly call a cab to take you away. What's a credit card company to do? American Express has the solution! They've offered $300 to "preferred customers" to close their accounts. American Express. You're everywhere they don't want you to be.

This makes me wonder what their next ad campaign will look like...

Disclaimer: I'm not nor was I ever an American Express cardholder. And I was never approached by any sororities either.

20 comments:

  1. Love that post!!! We were mailing the apps back to them with giant "NO"s written all over them - just so they'd take us off their mailing lists. Did it work? "NO"

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  2. Oh, I'd like to get in on this $300 action.

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  3. Credit card companies- please pay me not to be your customer.

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  4. What? You're kidding! Strange.

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  5. Wait. I'll TOTALLY close my account for $300!!!! Where do I sign???

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  6. aww...I was totally looking forward to hearing about your fabulous sorority experience! *heh* & American Express can succkk ittt...elitist consumerist credit-tease freaks! I never loved them! *hahaha!*

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  7. amazing. i'd take that $300 -- why havent' they offered it to me?

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  8. Hilarious post. Strangest marketing tool I've heard of in a long time. For me their one redeeming quality was that Tina Fey and Ellen did their commercials - but I'm not sure that's even enough now.

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  9. Careful!!!
    We closed our Amex account years ago after they refused to refund me for concert tickets I charged on the card but were not at will call when we arrived at the event.

    Next thing we knew, we had a $250 collections notice. Apparently Amex had assessed a $250 annual fee to renew our CLOSED account.
    It took several months to get that stupid thing cleared from our credit report.

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  10. Credit card companies hate my husband and me. We each have ONE credit card that we got through our credit union (no annual fees). We pay our balance off every month on time.

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  11. Oh that's funny.

    And just for the record, I was never approached by any sororities either!

    You are in good form today.

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  12. The times they are a changin'.

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  13. I never went through rush, either - joined a musician group with a Greek name instead. As for amex? No thanks.

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  14. No American Express, not for lack of them asking, and no sororities. Okay, they never asked.

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  15. That's interesting. And I thought Am Ex wasn't really a credit card and that you had to pay the full balance each month.

    I just discovered a $243 "foreign transaction finance charge" on my AT&T Universal card statement. Apparently they sent out new terms of use that allow them to charge fees for every time you buy something in a foreign country, and my airline tickets, which I bought in my house, in a price quoted in dollars, count as "foreign." I am so mad at them. Way to screw responsible customers.

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  16. I've not heard that one before. It's getting strange around here these days.

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  17. We use to get inundated with credit card applications....We got sooo fed up, that we started stuffing their own postage paid envelopes with all their paperwork, plus a few odd extras and send it back to them...minus our names of course. I'd like to think it made a difference in the big picture.

    Sweet Wishes,
    Sara

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  18. Is this your way of letting me know I SHOULD NEVER INVITE YOU TO A PARTY, YOU BIG LOLLYGAGGER?

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  19. I really wouldn't close my
    Amex for $300. I have found them to be so great about backing me up on disputed charges for faulty goods and services--they've saved me thousands over the years.

    It is an odd, odd policy that's for sure.

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Spill it, reader.