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There must be enormous, super-sized, colossal profits in the credit card business. Not a week passes without my mailman bringing me four or five solicitations containing applications for new Visa or MasterCards. My favorites are the ones that say, “You are pre-approved for yada, yada, yada”

Okay. I found the card that is free for the first year and will give me many thousands of miles after I spend the required amount within the first three months. Great. I signed the form and mailed it back to them. One week later, that signed form was mailed back to me with a message that I forgot to fill out the necessary information. I mailed it back once again with a note saying that since I was pre-approved (in bold caps), there is no need for me to fill out the form. Now things were beginning to get interesting.

The company’s next communication stated that it would like to talk to me about this matter and since the form wasn’t filled out representatives there do not have my current telephone number. Would I please telephone customer service? I did just that. The woman I spoke to sounded like she was about 12 years old and could not understand why I didn’t fill out the form.

I politely told her the same thing I wrote in my note. I followed with, “It is obvious that the good people of your bank do not know what the term “pre-approved” means. The definition, from my American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2000, tells us that pre-approved is “To approve or qualify before the usual procedures or formalities have taken place;” and “To approve in advance.” Therefore, I do not have to fill out that form.”

It was obvious that I was not getting through to this child. I was about to hang up when she asked if I would please hold for a supervisor.

“As long as I don’t have to wait a long time. I will give you exactly sixty seconds before I say bye-bye and go to your competition.”

I was looking at my wristwatch and at exactly 59 seconds I heard, “Good day, Mr. Gershbein. What seems to be your problem?”

“Me? Problem? I don’t have a problem. You do.”

I explained and she understood. She responded by saying that they have enough personal information about me and that I will be receiving my credit card within the next five days.

“Just one more thing,” she said. “In all the years I’ve worked here, I have never run across this situation. I am very curious. Why is this relatively trivial matter so important to you?”

“It isn’t important to me,” I said. “I’m a writer and I just thought that it might make for an interesting column.”

I am asking my readers, did it?

About 10 days after I called, I received a solicitation that read, “You’ve been pre-selected for…”

Read Stan Gershbein's column every Monday on
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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