Monday, August 08, 2005


I don’t know what happened, a good mood must have hit me but I made the godawful mistake of opening an account at a large clothing chain. It must have been the cute young eager puppy behind the counter that made it all look so easy, plus I got R300 vouchers, what an irresistible deal. I had a weak moment I said alright so I’ve nobody else to blame for this but within a matter of weeks my postbox became stuffed with so many desperate attempts to fling money at me that the real post ended up on the post office floor. Worse yet, my cell number has been acquired by that evil List in the Sky and I get chirpy people informing me that I, the valued punter, have been pre-approved for one of their splendiferous credit cards.

If I took up all these offers I could spend weeks in Mauritius, own the car of my dreams and pay tuition ten times over for the kids I don’t have. I’m not ready to die yet so sending me a 6-page spiel about funeral plans is a waste of tree and I’m really not interested in gold coins even if they have Nelson Mandela’s face stamped into them.

Problem is I'm a good customer I’ve got one perfectly good Mr. Plastic in my bag and I treat him with the utmost respect, which makes me a bad customer and I pay up before they run my statement so the only thing they get out of me is the yearly fee. I like to pay in a bit extra over my balance because there’s something curiously satisfying about squeezing 6 cents in interest out of VISA. The fact that I'm a bad customer hasn’t filtered into the database which sells me as a good credit risk, therefore send me all those credit cards so I will lose my head and buy all those yachts. What should I do to get rid of them, become a bad customer? Skip payments for a month or two?

Once you’re on that List it’s tickets for you all your life belongs to them and even after you die you’ll still be getting meatworld spam, which you can’t delete like e-mails for penis enlargement or Powerpoint presentations about angels. There's no meatworld spam filter, there's nothing between you and endless inducements to own the life in easy monthly payments.

I can tell when I’m being schmoozed when a voice I don’t recognize on the phone asks me how I am. An icy hostility kicks in, I get shirty from years of getting rid of any number of people selling insurance, timeshare, bed linen and waterless cookware.

I must have been in a good mood or maybe it was the “gold” thing that triggered my inner snob because once I’d assured the young lady from the Barclays gold card division that I was well thank you, I let her launch into her script, which is always a fatal mistake. I was a bit curious about the Barclays thing because at that time, the Barclays ABSA takeover was far from being finalized and it seemed odd that they’d already bought The List and were shilling away for all they were worth. It became apparent to me just how shiny the Barclays gold card was when she told me anyone with an income over R5,000 could have one and was desperately astonished when I said no thanks.

The Standard Bank card lady, not so much, she fought back and I was in no mood. I try not to insult the poor person on the other end of the phone, their jobs are crap enough as it is, but the sign of a good experienced telesalesperson is they can take the abuse without flinching and if they’re superb at their jobs they will choke off the aggression with an instant apology. Not this cookie, she was highly insulted that I would turn down a genuine Standard Bank credit card and felt compelled to tell me off for being rude. She's new I can tell, she’s not going to last the week.

Woolworths sent me a card. I didn’t ask for it or anything, it just floated out of the sky, nicely presented with a sweet little R25 gift voucher and all I have to do is take my ID book down to my local and fill ‘er up. I like Woolworths, I go in there every now and then, but I’m too scared to use the card. In fact, I’m just going to snip it into pieces now along with my Truworths card.

There, now I’m in a good mood.

No comments: