Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Peter Rost: The Lounge

The Lounge


Peter Rost, M.D

We all get them—the credit card applications. The better credit you have, the more letters you get in the mail, proposing that you should get one more credit card.

Funny thing is that many of those cards advertise themselves as a way to buy more, as if you’d never have to pay back anything. I can’t stop being amazed at the promises they make, as if they were little magic wands.

And when you try to find out how much it would actually cost to use the cards, you find microscopic, dense, text with all kinds of legal mumbo-jumbo. In the end, it usually says that the card company can change any of part of the cardholder agreement whenever they want to. And you can usually say goodbye to that bold introductory rate pretty much as soon as you get the card.

Many fall into the credit card trap and end up with debt on their back and nothing to show for it except exorbitant interest rates and sky-high penalties when banks “forget” to apply payment to the balance. A big part of this industry is really nothing but a legalized scam.

No wonder that there is not a single industry with more consumer complaints lodged against them than the credit card companies.

But sometimes the credit card companies do something really unexpected.

Yesterday it was American Express, which really surprised me. As I walked though the local shopping mall I suddenly discovered a fancy new café. Only it wasn’t a café, it was an American Express Lounge. I’d never seen anything like that, except for the business class lounges at airports where the wealthy travelers with expense accounts separate themselves from the poor peasants who have to pay for their own ticket.

In fact, this new facility looked just like a very exclusive airline lounge.

So I asked what was going on, and the gentleman charged with admitting only American Express card holders informed me that American Express wanted to “give something back to their customers.”

Of course, I’ve never met a single corporation who didn’t want something in return for “giving something” to their customer.

But as I took a tour of this secluded oasis, free of people who hadn’t had the foresight and wherewithal to get an AmEx card, I had to admit that this concept was pretty smart. I mean, I know all those card companies waste endless amounts of money on ads, commercials, and other things that give me no pleasure whatsoever.

But here, in an attempt to make the AmEx card really cool, they offered a free lounge, with designer furniture, coffee, and other goodies.

I think such an initiative should be encouraged.

Imagine if we could get more corporations to do the same thing? Instead of advertising and direct mail, you’d have the Chrysler Lounge, the Mars Chocolate Bar, the Citigroup Funplex, and so on. All of them free for their customers.

That would be marketing which actually returned some value to their customers.

Of course, American Express offers other rewards as well. If I spend a minimum of $250,000 per year I may be offered a Centurion card, made of hand-crafted titanium, which reportedly makes it feel more solid than a conventional “plastic” card. Allegedly it offers a desirable “plunk-factor” when dropped onto a desk.

I can’t imagine every reaching such a spending level, so I guess I’ll have to get used to the thought of continuing to use plastic. At least now I’m welcome in my own private lounge.

Then again, I can’t help being reminded by Groucho Marx’s famous words: “I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.”

*************

Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Vice President of Pfizer. He became well known in 2004 when he emerged as the first drug company executive to speak out in favor of reimportation of drugs. He is the author of "The Whistleblower, Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman." See: http://the-whistleblower-by-peter-rost.blogspot.com/

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: Biden’s Victory: A Eunuch Presidency Beckons

Whatever was set to happen on November 3, President Donald J. Trump would not lose. Falling in that establishment firebreak against democracy known as the Electoral College would not erase, let alone repudiate him. His now victorious opponent, far ... More>>

Reese Ehrlich: Foreign Correspondent: The Challenge For Joe Biden

If he’s smart, the likely President-elect will stop the unpopular endless wars and use the money to help our domestic economy. By Reese Erlich I’m pissed. I’m pissed at Donald Trump for trying to shut down the vote count early and at Republicans More>>

Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

The Conversation: Biodiversity: Where The World Is Making Progress – And Where It’s Not

The future of biodiversity hangs in the balance. World leaders are gathering to review international targets and make new pledges for action to stem wildlife declines. Depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person, you’re likely ... More>>

The Conversation: The Numbers Suggest The Campaign For Cannabis Reform In NZ Will Outlive The Generations That Voted Against It

Like Brexit in the UK, cannabis reform in New Zealand fell into an age gap — given time, a second referendum would probably succeed. More>>

Gordon Campbell: 22 Short Takes On The US Election

Finally, the long night of Donald Trump’s presidency is over. To date, the courts have been given no cause to conclude that the exhaustively lengthy counts of those mountains of mail ballots was anything other than legal. Stacking the US Supreme ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On How The US Supreme Court Is Undermining American Democracy

If Joe Biden is elected President next week, here comes the bad news. If Biden tries to defend Obamacare, combat climate change (via say, a variant of the Green New Deal) or tries to improve the access of US women to abortion services , he will run afoul ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog