My Walmart Credit Card Application
Like most people, I receive unsolicited credit card offers, on occasion.
Whether we like them nor not, credit cards have become a modern-day necessity. So, I try to maximize their purchasing power by using them to accumulate free airline mileage or bonus cash.
Just about every major retailer now offers either a Visa or MasterCard. I even received an offer from PetSmart, recently. PetSmart! I declined their generous offer. Sorry kitties, I’m not paying a 23 percent annual interest rate so you can stockpile a cabinet full of Pounce and Whiskas.
The most insulting credit card offers I’ve received are usually by the bottom feeders, which are banks that prey upon the financially insolvent. These are nothing more than seedy loan sharks masquerading as a major financial institutions. A typical offer includes a low credit line (sometimes as low as $500), a ridiculous interest rate (typically 29 percent), a preposterous number of penalties if you dare miss a payment or exceed the credit line, and a whopping annual fee. These dope dealers essentially prey upon the vulnerability of millions of desperate people — including millions of unemployed or under-employed Americans — taking advantage of those who are least able to afford bondage to the banking industry.
When I get these offers in the mail, I have a ritual. Here’s what I do.
First, I take the application and unfold it on the table. I get a heavy black-ink marker. Then, I write one of the most profane comments I can possibly think of on the application, and stick the paper into their envelope (the comment above that’s shown in the photo is about as mild as it gets). Fortunately, these thieves almost always provide a postage-paid envelope. So, they get to eat the 43 cents in postage (or whatever a stamp costs nowadays). It’s a small protest. But a valid one. I want someone opening this application to think about the manipulative slime for which they are working, and to realize that this kind of marketing amounts to nothing more than legalized financial servitude to the banks.
A few days ago, I received yet another offer for a credit card. This one came from Wal-Mart. The devil.
Imagine the giant ego trip and crowing power of reaching into a Velcro wallet and flash your very own Wal-Mart MasterCard.
Dazzle your friends!
Impress your co-workers!
Show the world what a success you are! Your Wal-Mart MasterCard is just a short application away!
Well, fuck them.
Hey Wal-Mart. You can stick your credit application up your Chinese-sweatshop stoking ass. Not only would I never be caught entering one of your union-busting, minority-wage paying junkyards. I would never let you rape me with a $75 annual fee and a 24 percent interest rate. Who does Wal-Mart think their customers are — a bunch of dumb shits?
Wait. Don’t answer that.
Of course, my tiny means of protest — writing a few choice comments on the application and mailing it off to Bentonville, AR — isn’t going to change the world. I suspect the $10-per-hour servants working without health insurance who staff their processing centers may even get a good laugh from reading “protest mail.”
So be it.
But political and economic victories come in small doses. One protest moment at a time. One boycott at a time. One asinine comment scratched on a credit application at a time. One obscure blog post at a time. One person reading the crazed blogger’s post at a time.
Lost in the world’s largest retailer’s symphony of ringing cash registers sucking up billions in profits are voices that will not be silenced. As Americans continue to funnel into Wal-Marts everywhere, we’re now paying the devastating price for outsourcing millions of manufacturing jobs overseas. The evidence is everywhere. Empty town squares. “For Lease” signs on strip malls. Small family businesses completely wiped out. More people drawing unemployment and welfare.
The bottom line is — our nation’s plight will only worsen unless there are more means of protest, and ultimately increased consumer activism.