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I Hate Linux

Monday, January 31, 2005

What’s Not in My Wallet?

Bulk e-mail marketing (aka spam) is one of those things I have a hard time understanding. Yes, the numbers are easy, one sends out millions of nearly free messages to addresses they have on file in the hopes that a miniscule fraction of them will buy some Viagra, sign up for their porn site or take out a mortgage through the bank they referred. That part is easy, what I don’t understand is how anyone would willingly buy from such a marketing campaign.

I’m a guy. When I want to buy something, I know it and know where to get it. Before going to the store to buy a foo I will have researched the heck out of it and know it better than the salesman. To me, spam is completely worthless. I have no need for a larger male piece, porn or a mortgage and should I want/need something advertised in spam, I will find it on my own, without constant bombardment.

Since I moved out of the dorms a year and a half ago, the volume of credit card offers I have been receiving has been surprisingly high, averaging 2 offers a week... often from the same small list of companies (CapitalOne and Providian most of all).

Not long ago, I had a CapitalOne card. I had received it not long after turning 18 and in the years after, my interest rate only went up and they refused on multiple occasions to raise the limit (from $200 or cut the rates). After many years, they finally upped the limit (to $600 from $200 (impressive I know)), but refused to cut the rates from the 24.9% I was at.

I had enough, and having plenty of plastic room from more reputable and customer friendly credit card company, I canceled the account. Funny thing, was that just prior to my decision to cancel, I had received my replacement card for the one that was about to expire.

I opted to go a slightly different way for my cancellation, I cut both cards in half, and put half of each into two envelops. The first was to their normal customer service and cancellation department and the second was to the CEO. Both laid out why I was canceling my account and expressed my anger with the way I had been treated by them over the years.

No, I did not expect to receive any kind of response or have my letters impact them in anyway. I am a firm believer in telling those who you refuse to do business with (at all or anymore) why you do so, offering them the chance to change, no matter how unlikely it may be.

I find it rather sad, and entertaining that every week or two, I get a new credit card offer from CapitalOne. One would think that they would have the ability to link their systems and be able not mail those who currently have accounts with them... or vowed never to again. Of course... they do not have such a system, and I receive plenty of offers from them.

No doubt, this method of marketing, like spam on the internet is effective enough to warrant the bother and cost from the prospective of the seller/marketer, but that doesn’t mean I find it particularly flattering or.

I do make it a point to mail back all credit card offers I receive, yes, I could throw them out, but I figure I’ll make their ineffective marketing campaign (IMO) cost them a few cents more.

When it comes to credit offerings, or anything to do with banking and investments my motto is simple (albeit long), “Don’t call, write, e-mail, contact, think about, beg, offer, ask, or solicit, me. If I want to do business with you, I’ll tell you so, just have the information available to me on your site, something I will find on my own.”

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