16 March 2009

Who's In Your Wallet...er Blog?

OK, in my last post I rambled on (among other things) about receiving a letter from Capital One changing the terms of my credit agreement. Imagine my surprise I when I received a comment from someone purporting to be a customer service representative with Capital One. Here's the link if you're interested.

When I read the comment I laughed and said... "Boy, I am in the big time now. Capital One has folks commenting on my blog." Now, none of us really know for certain that this is a person who works for Capital One in any capacity. It could be a really good prank or someone phishing for information. I just know that I am not clicking any links or trying to contact anyone with the email address that was provided.

I read the comment shortly before having to jet to work.... that would be an idiom meaning I was running late and had to drive quickly and directly, not that I am accepting bail out money like some companies who are using tax payer dollars to fly in corporate jets...At any rate, and I am up to 35.99% now, while at work I did lots of thinking about the post. Here are some of the things that bounced in my little head.

First thought, "What if it really is someone from Capital One?" That sorta spooked me. Do they have people who use google reader so they know when Capital One is mentioned? Should I have done something to try and disguise the name? Cap it all won? Is there a chance that those Viking guys are going to come pillage my home now? Those were great commercials, but I don't think I have seen them for a while... could it be because of the new business decisions?

Next I had to wonder, "Am I offended?" I mean, was Kathy intimating that I had not paid my bills on time with her response? Nah, I think I clearly said I asked the customer service rep (who was using the name Judy but was probably really named something like Jayashri or something similar) if I had been late or if there was a problem with my account and was told no, that it was a business decision Capital One made. Perhaps she was simply trying to explain the policy of default rates thinking that I was blissfully ignorant? Either way, if it is an actually employee of Capital One, I am happy to give her the benefit of the doubt, I think. Perhaps she reads my blog and just happens to work for Capital One and thought she was being helpful. It could happen, I suppose.

My mind ran amok with me after those thoughts. What if she is like the Coke spies my very first boss warned me about? My first real job was working at a miniature golf business that served Pepsi from an old fashioned root beer barrel. The boss warned me if someone asked for a Coke to say, "It's Pepsi, is that OK?" She told me that there were Coke spies that went to businesses and ordered Coke and waited for you to serve them a Pepsi and then they made trouble for you and your business. Why? Because Coke is a trademarked product. Now, I confess, I thought my boss was a little paranoid and then one day it happened. Two men dressed in business casual attire came up to my window and ordered Cokes. I started pouring the sodas and said, "It's Pepsi, is that OK?" That's when the man with the money said, "No. I only drink Coke." With that he pulled out a business card for Coke and asked to speak with the owner. Where am I going with this story? What if there are Capital One spies who go around the net looking for bloggers to use their name in vain? Will I need to go into some sort of protection plan? Will my other creditors assume a watchful position over my blog? What if I say something about Chase? Will they comment too? Are they keeping score? Do I need to say something nice about Capital One?

Right now I am too tired to worry about Capital One and increasing interest rates. I am going to go to bed before there's a knock at my door and the Barbarians let themselves in.

08 March 2009

Bail Me Out, Please.

It's been a very long time since I have written anything of substance. Some may argue that I've never written something of substance in the first place. That would put me in the company of many who have blogs.

I have thought about several topics I would like to sound off about. Most of what I would have to say is either sarcastic or humorous only to those few who have a really twisted sense of humor. Examples? Newsflash! President Obama is black. Yeah, I know it's not politically correct to say this, but I am sick to death of his being a black man being pointed out. I want to say things like, "If the object is equality despite race, ethnicity or creed.... why do you keep telling me the man's race?!" I also want to say, "I understand that the man is black, do you understand what his politics are going to do to this nation?" That's the part I am interested in, not his skin color.

I got a letter in the mail from Capital One. They decided that they needed to increase my interest rate to nearly 30%. I have worked so hard to rebuild my credit. I had been injured on the job and inherited two kids to raise at almost the same time. Life events like that make it difficult to pay your bills and so 15 years ago my credit tanked. Anyway, because I have worked so hard to rebuild my credit, I called to ask them (Capital One) if this had been some sort of mistake. Didn't I pay my bills regularly? Had I been behind on a payment? Did someone steal my identity? I was told by the nice woman with the heavy foreign accent that it was simply a business decision Capital One has made. With that I told her to close my account. We had to discuss that for several minutes. She didn't have a script to read to me in order to answer the questions I had regarding that business decision.

Folks, Capital One is not the only company doing this. My CPA said that she had heard this would be happening. If you didn't have stellar credit before, I guarantee you will receive similar letters. They are hoping, of course, that you will not read them or that you don't mind a 23% increase in your interest rate. I have had similar rate increases with other cards and will be closing them too. It's just as well, I can live without them. It does make me wonder if President Obama has a script to answer this:

"I have been paying my mortgage for the last 4 years, I pay it on time every month. I pay my credit card bills. My credit rating, which had been steadily improving, is now in the toilet because those who have extended me credit are deciding to take the bailout money you are giving to them and charge me ridiculous interest rates. I refuse to accept these astronomical interest rates so I am closing my accounts. Closing accounts this way reflects negatively on your credit report. Mr. Obama, the very same irresponsible jerks who are taking the government funds in one hand, have their other hand on a computer keyboard and are sending information to the credit reporting bureaus about how they are closing my accounts because I refused their terms. So, not only can't they manage their businesses, not only do they thumb their noses at you and ride their corporate jets to posh resorts with government money... they are now making my life miserable for being a responsible debtor. My question? President Obama, please tell me who is going to reward me for being responsible? Actually sir, I don't want to be bailed out, but who is going to protect me because I am being responsible? Is there a new government program for that?"

All this talk about President Obama reminds me of some insight I had into my besetting sins. I don't care for Obama's politics but I respect the office that he holds. I was talking with a young woman who wants to get into some sort of law enforcement career and we talked about my jobs in public safety. I found myself telling her that if I had received any encouragement as a young woman, I know I would have tried to work for the Secret Service. She asked me why and I told her I thought I would be good at it because even though I don't care for our current Commander in Chief's politics, there is no doubt in my mind that I would throw myself in front of a gunman for him right this minute. OK, maybe not throw myself because I am old and fat and not that physically fit. However, I am serious. I would protect POTUS with my life. No hesitation. And no, I don't think that the inclination to do that is sinful. But here's what I realized. I have the same mentality about my Savior.

It is easier to think about jumping in front of a bullet than actually denying myself the things that I think I want or need. Who am I kidding? How absolutely prideful and arrogant and upside down is that? I would take a bullet for Jesus?? Like, He would need me to intercede for Him in this manner? I am telling you, it was an "'Oh!' face moment" for me when I realized how that backward notion had come into my head. I thought I was pretty together but I had managed to negate the wonder of the gospel- that the Son of God would die for me. Me- the sinful one with nothing of value to offer Him. Almighty God threw himself in front of a bullet meant for me, one with my name on it and one I fully deserved. Not only that but, because He did, I get to go into the Oval Office of the Universe and talk with the Father while He holds the fabric of everything there is and will ever be together.

I could keep rambling, but that's all for now. I have to work in the morning.

Col 3:1-4
1 If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.