Saturday, May 30, 2009
Adventures in Real Parenting; This Mama Don't Raise No Idjits
The long version....
Dear Credit Card Companies:
I realize that over the last few years, and with the help of our Congress, and, yes, even our now Vice President Biden, you have pretty much gotten your way on everything. You've been allowed to write your own laws, "regulate" yourselves (the idea is laughable), and pretty much thumb your nose at good business practices, ethics and just plain old humane behavior. Things are changing for you at the macro level and I hope like hell that they are going to change at the micro level, too.
I am prepared to do my part.
Brace yourself, old chums, because you're about to hear a word you're not used to hearing. And you're about to hear it repeated. Repeated repeatedly. A lot.
No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. And NO.
No, you may not have our oldest daughter. You may not have her heart, her soul, her social security number, nor her future. None of it. As long as I am here, you will not have her.
Look, I am not an unreasonable woman despite what you might have heard. I understand that you are in the business of making a profit. I am in full support of profit, but I believe that companies can do business in an ethical manner and still make a profit. If not, get the hell out of the business. If you must behave like thieves to make the kind of money you think you should be making, then you must reconsider your choice of business. I mean, what if we all used that philosophy? Where would it end?
Consider, if you will, what would happen if all of your customers decided that they were going to behave like thieves, too. We would all just mail you back your postage paid envelopes filled with clever and disgusting things (the imagination runs wild). I, for one, would take great pleasure in mailing you a hand made smiley face with the message "Get Stuffed" scrawled underneath. There would, of course, be no check enclosed.
Even using legal methods, we were unable to treat you with the same disdain you treat your customers. According to the laws that you've had a large role in writing, our Chapter 13 bankruptcy required that we give up our home - the place where we lived - and a car - the thing that got me to my job so that I could pay those bills. But you? Oh, you're still getting your money with payroll garnishments. Yes, you are taken care of. You saw to that when you purchased all those lawmakers over the years.
So please consider this your cease and desist letter from one mother of a recent high school graduate with no means of supporting herself. Stop sending those solicitations now. Because as taken as she was with your wicked cool choices for card decor, our daughter has been made painful aware of the role you've played in her family's financial mess.
If any good has come from our mistakes, it's the life lesson for our kids. They have been thoroughly schooled on the evils of credit and living beyond your means. For every vacation not taken, every lean holiday season, every time the purchase of clothes, food or shoes have been put off with the stock answer that there is no money, they are reminded that the lack of funds is due in large part to the fact that even though nearly all the items and services purchased over the years on those credit cards have been paid for, we will still spend the next three and a half years paying off interest, crazy charges and junk fees because credit card companies have better government representation than consumers do.
Look, you blew your chance. I tried to give you The Dancer back when your abusive collections agents started calling me at work, at home, on my cellphone. Remember that time when I'd probably had a bit too much to drink and I felt like so many things were just crashing down around me? I called you for help. That at-first friendly young man with the tell-tale accent (overseas call center, cough, cough) thought I was joking when I said perhaps you would take our first born in exchange for wiping out our debt. Remember that?
He laughed oh so heartily at what he thought was my cliched joke. But then I started to cry and he realized that I wasn't kidding. He started calling me ma'am at the end of every sentence he uttered. (You know that customer service agents are getting exasperated when they start ma'aming and sir'ing you all over the place.) I cried harder and asked if his supervisor could talk to me about working a deal. Wouldn't a young white girl be worth something to them? All I've heard on thinky news shows is about the Asian sex trade.....
So you see, you could have had her then, but no. You thought it would be more fun to garnish my wages and go through the bankruptcy process. Well, you got your wish. And now you come sniffing around now, but not for an exchange, but to snatch her up, handcuff her and metaphorically do to her what would have been done to her had you gone for my original plan.
Well, we've wised up to you and your wicked ways. Her parents may be your indentured servants, but The Dancer will never be as long as I draw breath. We've educated her and her siblings about your tricks, seductions and lies. The transfer your balance bait and switch. The low interest rate tease. The hard to use travel discounts and nearly impossible-to-redeem airline miles. Hell, I even had one credit card company tell me that if I took their card, my boobs would shrink to a more manageable size and my crows feet would disappear.
Now I know better. And may your siren song of Have It Now fall on deaf ears from now on.
So...........once more and for all time (because we have two more children to usher into good money management adulthood) NO. No. No. And finally NO.
As an added protection, we have added The Dancer to the credit card solicitation opt-out list. (See Federal Trade Commission info here.) So suck it.
With all good wishes,
The short version.....
Dear Credit Card Companies,
Please take those smiling cherubs and peace signs that you think an 18 year old want on their shiny new financial handcuffs and shove them straight up your collective, money-grubbing, unethical ass. Also, do the same with all your solicitations, fees, charges, lobbyists, collections agents.......you get the idea.
Thank you and best regards,