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November 28, 2004

What's In Your Mailbox?

Yeah, I'm pretty much sick of this:

What's in my wallet? Bah. How about . . . "What's in my mailbox?"

I'll tell you what: Three separate mailings from Capital One. In one day. And none of them a statement. (I happen to carry a Capital One card, it so happens. Zero balance, thank you very much, and it's going to stay that way.)

So let's take a look at the mail, shall we?

Envelope #1:   Addressed to "Preferred Plus Cardholder." Envelope says "Good news inside." Oh, look — it's a fresh batch of Purchase Checks. "An easy way to access your credit line," it says. "Take care of holiday shopping. Use these checks to travel. Purchase big-ticket items. Transfer balances at your great purchase APR." And the first check is already made out to me. I do so love convenience.

Envelope #1 Destination:   Shredder.

Envelope #2:   Written on outside: "WE HEAR YOU!" Boy, am I glad about that, as I was beginning to wonder whether they were paying attention to my never-again-paying-you-a-penny-in-interest shenanigans. Turns out this is a balance-transfer offer. Fixed APR of 3.99 percent, with no transfer fees. "And there is no 'catch,'" they reassure me. Such a deal . . . except that my only credit-card balance ANYWHERE is at zero percent interest thru the end of December. And that balance will disappear entirely in a matter of weeks. Thanks, Capital One, but no thanks.

Envelope #2 Destination:   Shredder.

Envelope #3:   Bigger than the other two. Message on outside: "Refinancing isn't just for mortgages anymore." Well, whaddaya know? It's the same balance transfer offer, only spun a different way. "With our 3.99% fixed special transfer APR, you can transfer higher-rate loans and save big. Transfer a car, home improvement, or student loan." Hmmm . . . it all sounds so familiar. Wait — no, actually, I can't transfer any higher-rate loans, because I have none. Darn near unpatriotic, I know, but I'm weird that way. But there’s more: "Simplify your credit down to one payment," they urge. One payment? How about zero payments? I like that much better. And did I mention how much I love my Royal 9X Crosscut shredder?

Envelope #3 Destination:   Take a guess.

If anyone ever had any doubt that credit and debt rank near the top of the most aggressively marketed items today, then they’re not paying attention. Apparently Capital One has big things in mind for me. Namely, they want me to borrow, and borrow, and borrow some more. However, I have goals, discipline, and determination — none of which mesh with Capital One in the slightest.

Lately my mailbox has been absolutely bombarded with this junk. I feel for those people who cannot walk away from offers like these.

Michael | November 28, 2004

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