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.
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.