Greenwood Encyclopedia of African American Literature

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Platinum Card

One with whom I live reported that I received an offer in the mail for an American Express Platinum Card.

Before the economy got as messed up as an election in Florida, I (and every other American adult, I assume) received an offer for a new credit card every day. There's probably a correlative if not a causal relationship there somewhere.

At any rate (so to speak), I don't like get into the details of such offers, even in the rare instances when I pursue them. I just assume I'm going to be had, so to speak. So I asked whether the one with whom I live knew any of the details.

"Well," she said, "it's a sign that your credit-rating is good. I might add that the annual fee is about 500 dollars. They also claim you never have to wait in line--you know, like, at car-rental places."

Of course, she was not persuaded by the "argument" American Express had advanced, nor was I. My own objections included the following:

1. If I signed up, they'd send me a plastic card, when in fact they had offered me a platinum card. I wouldn't mind owning a rectangle of platinum. I don't think I'd carry it in my wallet, but I'd still like to own it. Besides, if you say you're sending a platinum card, then send a platinum card.

2. In most places where I stand in line, no none will know I have a platinum card until I've stood in line already, and I'm not about to raise my voice at the grocery store and proclaim, "Hey, I have a platinum card!" --Especially when the card is plastic, not platinum. So by the time I get up to the cashier and show her or him my platinum card (which I wouldn't use to buy groceries anyway), the cashier would simply say, "How tragic, my good fellow. You had a platinum card, and yet you still had to stand in line. I think the Greeks wrote about such ironies."

3. Five hundred dollars is a lot to pay somebody for the privilege of making them money. I assume American Express would make money in several different ways were I to accept the platinum card and use it.

4. I think this card might have one of those mystical APR's, which I think are partly responsible for the economic problems out there. APR stands for adjustable percentage-rate, I think. I'm not sure it qualifies as a euphemism, but it doesn't quite convey the peril involved. I believe "Apocalypse Probably Results" might be a better statement--hyperbolic, certainly, but at least people would be more cautious with their funds and less vulnerable to predatory lenders, not that American Express is predatory. I think they're more like grazing lenders, steadily munching on people's money.

5. This item may seem unrelated, probably because it is, but I think American Express needs to publish an anthology of great poetry and send it for free to all card-members, even those at the iron, tin, and aluminum levels, not just the gold and platinum levels. How hard would it be for them to do this? Not hard at all. I think Starbucks, GM, IBM, et al., should do the same thing. I would be willing to accept slight alterations, such as anthologies of great essays, short stories, or cartoons. Society would benefit immediately from such a capitalistic re-distribution of ideas and language. The power of poetry is highly undervalued. In fact, Poetry isn't even listed on the New York Stock Exchange! What a glaring oversight! Moreover, poetry comes with 0% financing.
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