Friday, February 19, 2010

Dear Citibank

Mr. Ken Stork
3545 S. Spencer Blvd.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

February 19, 2010

Dear Mr. Stork,

I received your letter detailing the important changes to my Citibank MasterCard recently. You cite the rising cost of doing business as the primary reason I’m being hit with a sixty-dollar annual fee. In the interest of fairness, I should add that you have also provided a generous option—you will negate the annual fee if I will just charge $2,400.00 a year to my Citibank MasterCard.

Somewhere, Mother Teresa is weeping.

The rising cost of doing business. Hmmm. I’m pretty sure you’re not giving raises to the poor folk who man your phones. And I doubt the cost of paper and plastic and telephone service has increased sufficiently to warrant this charge. No, I think there’s something else going on here. I think Citibank is in a snit about the passage of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act. I think Citibank is looking to offset the twenty-six billion dollars it sunk into sub-prime loans.

I mean, I’m sorry about that, guys. Really. It couldn’t have been easy. It’s like totally embarrassing. But as much as I’d like to cut you a sixty-dollar check for the privilege of stuffing your card in my wallet, I’m out of work right now. And I expect to be for some time. You see, I’m one of those people you might have heard about on the news. I’m a government statistic. And um, I blame you.

Remember how you guys played around with accounting methodology to disguise losses in order to boost share prices? Well, I like to play around with methodology, too. And the way I see it, you owe me. You and AIG and the Bank of America and Countrywide and Goldman-Sachs and all the other cunts who have sentenced millions of innocent people to suffer the ravages of unemployment.

Were my sexual orientation different, perhaps I wouldn’t be made so, um, uncomfortable by this offer. But as someone who wants only to be self-supporting and is being denied that opportunity as a direct result of your greed and your irresponsibility, I am just a little bit pissed.

So. You want sixty bucks a year from me so you can charge outlandish interest rates and hit up the retailers, wholesalers and anyone else I purchase something from with your outrageous processing fees.

I don’t possess an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, but even a bumpkin like me can see you’re charging cardholders to hold open the door to Citibank making still more money from vendors. I have to admit, it’s pretty clever. It lends a whole new meaning to 'get them coming and going'.

You've been talking to Bernie Madoff, haven't you?

Of course, I have the option of paying-off my balance every month—which I have been for twenty-four years now. But then I run the risk of becoming—in the inverted parlance of the credit card world—a deadbeat. Someone who doesn’t generate profit-swelling fees and charges. Someone who selfishly looks after their own finances at the expense of corporate ones.

As much as I’d like to participate in the new and improved Citibank, I’m afraid I must decline, Mr. Stork. Whatever your addled view of things, mine is that I’m already paying for Citibank. But thanks for asking.


La Piazza Gancio

P.S. How appropriate your new policies take effect April 1.

cc: the World Wide Web

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