Friday, January 21, 2011

“Credit Card Conflict”

c. 2011 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

Note to Readers: What follows here is creative satire, not a literal depiction of past events.

Millions of Americans experienced a period of financial chaos during the year of 2008. In the midst of this social and political turbulence, my friend Ezekiel Byler-Gregg found himself unable to maintain his household budget. As a result, he fell behind on regular payments to his creditors.

Eventually, this homegrown mess was reorganized. But with a return to normalcy came something completely unexpected – irritatingly persistent solicitations from a bank that had earlier taken him to court.

What follows here is a transcript of his phone call to this financial institution:


Operator: “This is Kendra at Capital Continental Bank. We are the bank of choice – giving our customers a voice in the marketplace. How may I help you?”

Ezekiel: “This is Ezekiel Byler-Gregg from Burton, Ohio. I would like to request that you stop sending me credit card offers in the mail.”

Operator: “Umm… would you like to begin an application by phone?”

Ezekiel: “I don’t think you heard me. I want to request that you stop sending solicitations to my mailbox, immediately.”

Operator: “You don’t want to begin an application?”

Ezekiel: “Do you speak English, Kendra?”

Operator: “Of course I do, Mr. Byler-Gregg. That is a silly question.”

Ezekiel: “Then why are you ignoring me?”

Operator: “Mr. Byler-Gregg, we are the bank of choice – we give our customers a voice in the marketplace.”

Ezekiel: “Kendra, I am a newspaper editor who endured an extended period of financial difficulty in recent years. If you look at my account, it will show that I was delinquent on payments as a result. When I tried to negotiate with Capital Continental, your response was to sue me in a local court.”

Operator: “But according to our records, your account was paid off, Mr. Byler-Gregg.”

Ezekiel: “That’s right. I had to retain legal counsel, but a settlement was reached.”

Operator: “So… do you want to open a new account?”

Ezekiel: “Kendra, are you a robot?”

Operator: “Mr. Byler-Gregg, I can assure you that I am quite human!”

Ezekiel: “Very good. Then please stop sending me credit card offers, immediately.”

Operator: “I don’t understand…”

Ezekiel: “Kendra, I wouldn’t take out a new line of credit with your bank even if it meant sparing my soul from eternal punishment in the dark realm of Hades.”

Operator: “But… why? Don’t you want to rebuild your credit?”

Ezekiel: “Look, the nation’s banking system was exhausted in 2008. Our government, in its infinite wisdom, chose to spend billions so that none of you would have to endure the stress of working at a place like Walmart or Taco Bell. But for regular people like myself, there was no such protection. Instead, I faced intimidation and legal action.”

Operator: “That wasn’t our fault, Mr. Byler-Gregg.”

Ezekiel: “But I think it was, actually. Because you used the cover of being ‘too big to fail’ as a strategy to swindle taxpayers out of billions while the national economy suffered. Working people like myself were left out in the cold by politicians from both major political parties. The end result was that, like many other citizens, I had to seek legal counsel to keep from losing my home and everything I own.”

Operator: “I don’t understand what this has to do with a canceling credit card offers.”

Ezekiel: “You don’t? I think it is obvious. I am living within my means, now. Something our government ought to do.”

Operator: “But we want to extend you a new line of credit, Mr. Byler-Gregg…”

Ezekiel: “Your proposal is a demonstration of sheer hypocrisy.”

Operator: “What??”

Ezekiel: “Look, you were unwilling to show mercy when I was struggling. In spite of the fact that millions of Americans shared my plight. You ignored my longstanding financial history and previous good credit rating. So… to badger me with credit card offers in the New Year seems a bit strange, wouldn’t you say?”

Operator: “Not at all. We are Capital Continental Bank. We are the bank of choice…”

Ezekiel: “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve heard your spiel.”

Operator: “Would you like to begin an application by phone?”

Ezekiel: “R2D2 is your cousin, isn’t he, Kendra?”

Operator: “I don’t get your point, Mr. Byler-Gregg.”

Ezekiel: “I really think you must be a robot.”

Operator: “Please Mr. Byler-Gregg, you are making no sense.”

Ezekiel: “I am asking you to stop mailing me credit card offers, immediately!”

Operator: “You are not interested in receiving these offers?”

Ezekiel: “No! No! No!”

Operator: “You don’t have to shout, Mr. Byler-Gregg.”

Ezekiel: “I’m trying to get through to your robotic ears!”

Operator: “Mr. Byler-Gregg, please!”

Ezekiel: “I’m the one who’s saying please. Please, Kendra. Stop mailing me credit card offers! I do not want your services.”

Operator: “Should I take your name off our list?”

Ezekiel: “Yes, damn it, yes!”

Operator: “Mr. Byler-Gregg, you need to control yourself.”

Ezekiel: “What I need is a cold adult beverage!”

Operator: “I am now removing your name from our list…”

Ezekiel: “There is a God in Heaven. Thank you!”

Operator: “We are Capital Continental Bank. We are the bank of choice…”

Ezekiel: “Goodbye, Kendra. The choice I am making now is to hang up my telephone.”

Operator: “Have a good day, Mr. Byler-Gregg…”

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