When I moved to the States, I realized that I forgot to pack my golden Japanese credit rating. As it turns out, three decades of dutifully paying my bills on time meant nothing on this side of the pond. I figured my debit card worked fine but it would be good to have a credit card, just in case. (In case what? Earthquake, tsunami? I doubt a little piece of plastic will stanch an onslaught of boiling lava, but still, it’s good to plan ahead.)
Every store encouraged me to apply for a card, all offering tantalizing treats like discounts and cash back and pony rides, but one after another, they all refused. Macy’s sent me packing. Old Navy said forget it. The lady at Home Depot was very nice about it, telling me that I got a soft ‘no’, not a slam-the-door-in-my-face ‘no’, but nevertheless a ‘no’.
So I tried online applications. Hawaiian Airlines? No. Chase? No. Capital One? No. The bank where I’ve had an account since junior high school–and once happily gave me a Visa card? No.
I may be stubborn but I know when it’s time to circle the wagons. I applied for a Discover card. Much to my joy, they said ‘yes’ right away. A nice young man even called me on the phone. I could hear the treacle in his voice when he asked if this was my first credit card but at least he didn’t call me ‘sweetie’.
Armed with my $500 credit limit, I started using my pretty blue card, once again dutifully paying my bills. After six months they told me my credit rating had been raised to ‘fair’. And then they doubled my credit limit. And they they raised my rating to ‘good’.
About that time, Capital One changed its mind. At first, it was a casual invitation to apply for a card with an annual $99 fee.
‘No,’ says me as I dropped the envelope into the trash.
So they tried again the next day. This time saying $75 annual fee and I was ‘pre-approved’.
‘No,’ says me and the envelope joined its brother in the trash.
The next one had no annual fee but was slightly threatening, implying that if I didn’t accept I would be regret it for a very long time. With a heavy heart, I said, ‘No,’ and my trash can threatened to overflow.
Yesterday’s Capital One offer came in a much nicer envelope but had nothing original to say for itself, so it met the same tragic fate as its siblings.
Today, when the little truck from the post office stopped at my mailbox, I hurried out to see what the latest offer might be. Do my grocery shopping? Take the cats to the vet? Clean the wax out of my ears and the lint out of my belly button?
Alas, there was nothing. Capital One seems to have abandoned me. Although the environmental side of me was starting to resent the amount of paper they were wasting on me, I am oddly bereft. But will I miss them?