From the Columbia Chronicle
March 15, 1993

Come discover the world of financial insecurity. Feel the massive weight of impending debt. Experience the joy of cold calls from crabby bill collectors. Here's a game you can play, try and detect the underlying tone of intimidation in the voice of the bill collector of your choice. C'mon, it's easy:

"Ve vould appreciate it very much, Mr. Auman, if you would come down to one of our offices and pay your debt us... in person."


"Vich of our offices vill you be coming to, Mr. Auman?"

"The post office, you bloodsucker! I ain't comin' within ten miles of you!"

Nazis is what they are.

This is what gets me about credit card companies and the tremendously huge balls they must have. They have the nerve to peddle their plastic to poverty-stricken kids, like you and me, on our college campuses, a place of supposed refuge from the savagery of the "REAL WORLD". These companies stick their applications for seemingly free and easy money in the grossly overpriced textbooks we are required to buy. These heartless swine send us pre-approved credit cards in the mail.

Free if you never use the damn things.

"Here is instant access to anything you could possibly want, up to, but not exceeding, the ridiculous amount of $1000. You won't touch it, will you? You won't be so immature and irresponsible as to abuse our trust in you, would you?"

They're banking on it.

Your own school, after it has sucked you dry, won't even protect you from these wolves. No, no, no, my little lambs. You may have noticed that inserted in every copy of the Chronicle two weeks ago was a big ol' brightly colored, two-page flyer for the Discover Card, complete with an application that has about three questions on it: What is your name? Where do you live? Do you have any physical handicaps that would prevent you from writing us checks or money orders? They don't ask questions like, do you have a job? Have you ever done time? Are you a gun-toting, crack-addicted, compulsive-gambling schizo who signs contracts with no intention of honoring them?

They don't care.

It says on the Discover Card flyers that there is "No Annual Fee" and that they are offering "New Low Rates," what a wonderful (big bold letters) OPPORTUNITY. What is the occasion for these new low rates and the absence of an annual fee? No special reason, they just understand how financially difficult college can be and they want to offer you the opportunity to completely destroy your credit rating before some other company gets the chance. But wait, there are a bunch of pesky asterisks tacked onto a couple of these groovy new terms. No Annual Fee means that if you let the card sit in your underwear drawer for five years, then hey, they pick up the tab. New Low Rates means the interest on your purchases is only 8.9% (aww, hell let's just call it 9%) to start, but unless you charge over 1,0000 bucks in a 12 month period, it jumps up but doesn't go down. But wait, they even offer you a Cashback (it's a word they just invented) Bonus Award. An award for me? Just for using my credit card? Could this be true? Sure, because: "The more you use your Discover Card, the more money you can earn. An award just for using my credit card? Could this be true? Sure, because: "The more you use your Discover Card, the more money you earn." Damn, I'm quitting my jobs tomorrow.

So what do you do for a living, Mr. Auman?"

"I charge things on my Discover card."

"Wow, you make a living doing that?"

"Well, let me just say this, the more I spend, the more I make (wink)."

Ordinarily, I would say this makes no sense whatsoever, but if there's money involved, I trust it completely.

I know what you're thinking. You're sitting out there somewhere reading this right now and you've got so much plastic in your back pocket that there are gangs of Environmental Nazis out there hunting you down, ready to club you to death with their Birkenstocks. You ain't alone. I say we melt down all our plastic into guns and hole up somewhere in Montana, and if they've still got balls big enough to come after us.... well, we'll charge those bastards for a change.

1993 © Chris Auman