Actually, credit this guy.*click here*
I know how he feels. I got a Discover card in '91 in order to do some emergency auto repair. Cost me $300 and I had to use the cash advance, because the repair place didn't take credit. Neither here nor there, but I had it paid off by the end of the year, and my math major girlfriend (maddmom in a previous life) quietly and sympathetically told me how stupid cash advance was. I agreed that paying over $400 bucks for a $300 job was pretty stupid, but did she really have to call me a douchebag?
Needless to say, once I figured out that a Discover card came with a 28% interest rate and a monthy minimum payment on $100 that was roughly Ghana's monthy interest payment to the World Bank, I cancelled the card.
Or so I thought.
When I cancelled the card, because I was making, roughly $5.50 an hour and could never, ever pay Discover the rate they were asking. The
customer service rep I spoke to told me that they would waive the $55 annual fee and deactivate the card, but all I had to do to reactivate the card was to use it again. "Keep it for emergencies," said Lucy,
"You'll never know when one might come up.
So I did, every year or so, I'd get a new card in the mail, and put it, activation sicker and all into my wallet, for emergencies. Emergencies that, thanks to the small blond bundle of common sense (with an extremely stron grip) that follows me where ever it is I go, never came up. The only problem, I thought, was the adhesive from the activation stickers gumming up my wallet.
Until 1995, when maddmom, the Prince and I were living in Atlanta and decided that maddad's salary of $14 per week was enough to buy a house. And we decided to pre-qualify for a mortgage.
That's when Discover Card found me and told me that I owed them three years and eleven months of annual fees.
Needless to say, I called Discover Card, and after a couple of conversations, (mostly on their side consisting of, "Sir, please don't shout" and "I can't respond to language like that, sir.") I suceeded in completely
cancelling my Discover card. Fee free, I might add.
Until I moved to New Jersey and actually did buy a house two years later.
In the mailbox one fine day came a NEW! IMPROVED! NO ANNUAL FEE! Discover Card. Not a pre-approved card, but a renewal. At the time, I was getting about a million pre-approved cards in the mail a day. For instance I received a TITANIUN NO LIMIT! Visa in the mail one day, pre-approved. Just the thing for a guy with a $30k a year job with a non-profit, two kids and a house, car payment and wife addicted to TJ Maxx. (To be fair, she never bought anything for more than two or three days, but the potential was there.) But the Discover card was the same account I had previous, as it said "Member since 1991" right on the card.
I called and cancelled the card. They said, "We'll deactivate it, keep it for emergencies." I told them to cancell the card completely, I didn't want it for emergencies unless it was made out of beef jerky and I was lost in the Great North Woods and had already eaten the good parts of my children. After being tranferred to many different
customer service reps I made it to a supervisor who at first asked me to, "play a nice game of Solitare" and then, what seemed like hours later, I awoke with a knife wound in the New York City Subway with a note pinned to my chest that said they had removed my account completely, thanks for calling Discover.
Two days later I recieved a Pre-approved Discover Card in the mail. I would continue to get one a day for about three years. No, I am not kidding. I checked each one to make sure it wasn't a renewal of my "closed" account.
Now in a desperate effort to remain a single-income family in a multi-income world, and also to maintain our white-midwestern-Christian stereotype and partly to annoy readers of the New York Times, maddmom and I have, over the past couple of years fallen into the "cult of Dave Ramsey". In other words, we use cash. Failing cash, we use debit. Failing Debit, we don't buy it.
It annoys the hell out of me, because we weren't in debt when we started, but now I'm not allowed to buy anything
unless it's in the budget. Which means I have to wait. And I hate that. Not that I buy much anyway, but when little things, like ice cream, run out and there's no more cash in the "ice cream" envelope you think, "hell, what's three bucks?" Well, two years in I can tell you that that three bucks is three bucks toward the new tires you need on the van, and nothing beats walking into a tire place and knowing you won't still be paying for the tires three years after you've sold the car. (Because you've been paying for them the previous two years, that's why you have no new socks and have lost so much weight. It's a tradeoff, like I said.) So after the failure of the international banking system, while the rest of you are freezing to death in the new Ice Age caused by Global Warming, I'll have plenty of readily availible green tinder to start camp fires while my sons and I drive around in the last of the V6 minivan interceptors, wearing motocross leathers and looking for good breeding stock to repopulate the world with mail carriers so we can deliver twenty years of backed up credit card offers to the people of America, restoring hope and national pride. Except for where it's flooded, of course.
Anyway, last night I gave the camera to The Beast and he filled up the memory card while we were playing with Play-doh and the Prince and Dangeresque! were doing homework. I'll get those pictures up later.