Are Companies Desperate Yet? (Yes)

I’ve been wise to company hoop-jumping-tactics for a while now. Loyalty points, membership plans, “special selections” they’re all tools to ensure repeat business. TD used to hammer into our heads that if you can hook up a customer with 4 or more separate products, customers would likely stay with a company no matter what, because people are lazy. It’s too much work to transfer a chequing account, savings, brokerage account, credit cards and mortgages to another bank.

That’s their hook. Go far enough down the rabbit hole and eventually it’ll be too much work to get back to the top. Some people are comfortable with that. Fine, let them be comfortable with it.

However, never believe you’re special when a company tells you that you’re special.

This arrived in my mailbox on Friday:

Dear Mr. *name*

It’s great to get a break on interest rates. And that’s exactly what you’ll receive with this time-limited interest rate offer on purchased made between July 1 and November 30, 2009, available exclusively to selected TD Visa Cardholders, like you. Better still, you’ll have more purchasing power: your TD Visa credit limit was recently increased to $*amount withheld*.

Between July 1 and November 30, 2009, it pays more to use your
TD Visa Card on purchases more often!

You’ll automatically receive a low interest rate of just 8.9% on all purchases you make with your Card during this offer period. This is the ideal time to buy bigger-ticket items, such as electronics, appliances and furniture you’ve been considering. And, of course, your Card is great for day-to-day purchases, like gas and groceries.

The sooner you start using your TD Visa Card for purchases, the more interest you could save. As shown on the chart below, you could save money on interest with this special low interest rate, compared to other higher-rate credit cards.

I hope you’ll take advantage of the increased credit limit on your TD Visa Card. And remember, your special 8.9% interest rate starts automatically on purchases from July 1 and lasts until November 30, 2009. The sooner you make purchases, the more you could save on interest.

Questions? Please do not hesitate to call *number withheld* for more information.

Sincerely,
*name withheld*

PS: Don’t delay: This 8.9% interest rate is available only on purchases made with your TD Visa Card between July 1 and November 30, 2009. All you have to do is charge purchases to your Card: the special low interest rate is applied automatically.

Yep. That’s the letter exactly as it appears. Minus a graph and some small text on the bottom re-affirming everything said in the letter itself. (In big business nothing is official unless it’s repeated four times and once again in small text.)

Earlier this week I had a discussion with two co-workers about the professional writing hierarchy. We foolishly placed the poor fucks who write restaurant menu’s (Red Robin’s menu specifically in this case) for a living at the bottom. I’d like to amend that and place the poor bastard who was actually paid money to write the above shit at the bottom of the totem pole. I know as an unpaid blogger I’m not much better, but still. I’d like to think that even if I volunteered my time I could write something shorter and more informative.

I wouldn’t sell my soul to get into a position like that, but if I were working along side the person who wrote that gem, I’d have no problems with my job security.

More to the point is the offer itself. It could come from years upon years of building mistrust towards large companies, but anytime I see mail like this, I see it as a sign of weakness. “We need to coax you into spending more by convincing you that you need to spend money to save money so we can squeeze into our quarterly profit sales targets.”

When we buy into this bullshit. That’s where we lose our way. I need to spend more to save more? How is buying that item I don’t need going to save me money? Will those perceived savings enrich my life? No. They won’t.

We need to move past this concept of the society of debt. It didn’t work out for us. Game over! Start again? Sure! This time lets try a different strategy and see if that works.

I’m all growly and ranty tonight. Typically I’d run with it, but I’ll axe this here and leave you guys with a word of advice:

In the eyes of a large corporation, no one is special. Don’t let any company tell you otherwise. You are a dollar value. Your worth is measured in baseline profit. If there’s a chance that your spending will be reoccurring, a company will tell you what you want to hear. There’s a reason that companies toss that “The customer is always right” bullshit out there.

We’re in tough economic times and companies are not above begging you to spend if it means they get a slice.

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