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By Simbey

Credit is one of the biggest tragedies of so-called civilized life.  You have to earn credit to buy a house or car, unless you have the cash.  So the theory is, you go out and apply for a credit card.  Once you get the card, you go out and buy stuff.  If you're smart, you only buy the same things with the credit card that you were buying before with cash, and be sure to pay off the balance each month!  Now you're gaining credit, and the credit card companies are losing money on you (they still have to print, mail, and process your bills).  You do this month after month, and maybe you have enough credit built up to afford a house or car on credit.

But what's this?  You have one credit card, which means you were APPROVED for it at one point.  Now a horrible thing begins to happen called EXPONENTIAL PRE-APPROVAL.  This is when your original credit card company sells your APPROVED status and associated name, address, social security number, availability for a date Friday night, etc. to other credit card companies, who in turn sell your financial information to everyone else.  Now you no longer need to buy a house because you can simply build one out of the millions of plastic cards you receive.

What's more is that assuming you were "smart" and only applied for a card with no annual fee or other such ludicrous "features," your intelligence will now be tested as companies will send you cards with such "features," which actually only serve to further drain your wallet and/or sanity.

Recently, I received an offer from Gordon A. Smith.  You'd think this a great offer coming from someone like Gordon, the president of the Consumer Cards division at American Express.  I should be really excited about this offer because Gordon said he greatly looks forward to welcoming me as a Cardmember.  I'm not really sure why Cardmember is a proper noun, but if that's what Mr. Smith says, then it must be.

A    M    E    R    I    C    A    N          E    X    P    R    E    S    S

Mr. David W. Gould
1307 Madison St.
Aberdeen, WA 98520-2805



Plus, your Cardmembership privileges can be
shared with a FEE-FREE Additional Card for one year.
Dear Mr. Gould:

The road to financial success has many milestones marking how far you've come.  You've just reached one such milestone.

You're Pre-Approved for the American Express® Rewards Green Card - with no annual fee the first year.

You should know that Pre-Approved status is not easily achieved.  But with your excellent financial record, our decision was really very simple - we want you as a Card member.  In fact, we invite you to enjoy all the privileges of Card membership, plus, should you choose, an Additional Card for someone you care about - all with no fee for the first year.

With the American Express Rewards Green Card, you can enjoy the huge selection of travel and shopping rewards available through the Membership Rewards Options® program.  Make your first purchase and you'll get 5,000 Membership Rewards Options bonus points just like that.  Then, you can earn one point for virtually every dollar you and your Additional Card member charge on the Card.  You'll find plenty of ways to reward yourself with the Card at fine retailers such as The Sports Authority®, The Sharper Image®, and Tourneau.  If you like to travel, you can receive great savings from a wide array of domestic and international airline and hotel partners.  And with 5,000 bonus points, you can redeem right away for certificates valued at $50 or for merchandise from over 50 of the finest brand names.  Plus, points have no expiration date and there is no limit to the number of points you can earn.

You can also earn two Membership Rewards Options points for virtually every dollar you spend on purchases at stand-alone supermarkets, gas stations, drugstores, the U.S. Postal Service, and when you pay your wireless phone bill - to reward yourself even faster.

The Rewards Green Card comes with everything you'd expect from American Express.

You'll have the flexibility of no pre-set spending limit.  You've amply demonstrated your financial responsibility, so purchases are approved based on a variety of factors, including your account history, credit record, and personal resources.

As a Rewards Green Cardmember, you'll also enjoy an array of truly exceptional Card benefits, including a Year-End Summary of Charges, conveniently itemized in categories.  Not only does it take the hassle out of bookkeepting, it's an indispensable tool for preparing taxes and budgeting.

With Return Protection, American Express will reimburse you if you are dissatisfied with an eligible Card purchase and the merchant won't take it back within 90 days of your purchase.  Or, if you have purchased a covered item entirely with your Card, the Buyer's Assurance Plan will extend the terms of the original manufacturer's warranty up to one year.  Additionally, the Purchase Protection Plan provides added protection for accidental damage to or theft of eligable items, purchased with the Card, for up to 90 days from the date of purchase.

Our enhanced Global Assist Plus Hotline offers a wide array of complimentary safety and security services.  In addition to 24-hour legal, medical, financial, and other travel help, we'll provide emergency roadside assistance when you are more than 100 miles from home.  We'll also help you replace your lost cards or passport, as well as pay for emergency interpretation and translation services.  What's more, when you purchase Scheduled Airline tickets with the Card, you'll receive Baggage Insurance coverage.

Most importantly, as an American Express Rewards Green Cardmember, you merit an exceptional level of personal service.  We're here to assist you, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with everything from questions about your bill to replacing a lost Card.

Accept the Card today, and start enjoying the rewards of membership with no fee the first year.

We'd like to have you as a Cardmember.  And to do that, we're waiving your annual fee for the Rewards Green Card for an entire year (a $65 value).  Since you're already Pre-Approved, you can accept the Card - and an Additional Card with no fee the first year (a $30 value) - by calling 1-877-621-7778, going to americanexpress.com, or by completing and returning the enclosed Acceptance Form.

Congratulations on reaching this very special milestone.  I greatly look forward to welcoming you as a Cardmember.

Gordon A. Smith

Gordon A. Smith
President, Consumer Cards
Member Since 1984

P.S. Understandably, there's a limit to how long we can hold your Pre-Approved status and offer you the Card with no annual fee the first year, a fee-free Additional Card for one year, and 5,000 bonus points.  Please respond by the date on the Acceptance Form.

Well, I never wrote back to Gordon, so he wrote me another letter, which I received today.  This time he's offering me not Green, not Silver, but Gold!  Yes, he's offering me the American Express® Rewards Gold Card.  He reminded me that I need to act fast if I want to enjoy all the privileges of Card membership, plus, should I choose, I can give an Additional Card to someone I care about (apparently he already knows about Danielle), all with no fee for the first year.

I want Gordon to know how important Pre-Approved Status is to me, and that I'm so happy he's holding onto that status for me.  This is what I mailed to him today:

1307 Madison St.
Apt. 2
Aberdeen, WA 98520
June 20, 2004

Gordon A. Smith
Consumer Cards
2010 AXP Financial Center
Minneapolis, MN 55474

Dear Mr. Smith:

As you know, Pre-Approved status is not easily achieved, so I am pleased you took the time to notice my excellent financial record and offer me an American Express® Rewards Green/Gold/Platinum/Plutonium Card.  It is unbelievable to think I have finally reached such a milestone in my road to financial success that I should be offered a Card with such a huge selection of travel and shopping rewards, even though I have already been Pre-Approved for every other Card.

Before being offered this Card, I was relegated to using a simple CapitalOne® Card, for which I was once also Pre-Approved, and Pre-Approval is a very difficult status to achieve, let me tell you!  Although that Card offers just as many small-print terms and conditions (subject to change without notification) as the American Express® Rewards Green/Gold/Platinum/Plutonium Card, it does not offer the amazingly low annual fee of $65 after the first year plus $30 for each additional Card.  In fact, I don't believe my CapitalOne® Card offers any charges for additional Cards!  I would be so lucky to switch from a Card charging me nothing at all to a Card that costs simply because it's mine.

The American Express® Rewards Green/Gold/Platinum/Plutonium Card will go a long way in earning points I will never use, incorporating words I cannot pronounce like "Tourneau," and emptying my pocket year after year of great fees, hidden charges, and cramming down the road to financial success.  I will have to act fast on this offer since you cannot hold my Pre-Approved status forever on a Card with no annual fee for the first year.

Thank you again for Pre-Approving me.  I always appreciate being Pre-Approved since Pre-Approval is so rare, prestigious, and most importantly, not easily achieved.

David Gould

David Gould
President, Simbey.com

How do you stop credit card companies from sending you swarms of pre-approval offers?  That is the tragedy.  And how do you contact large corporations to tell them how worthless you think they are?  Well, I'll let all of you know what kind of response, if any, Gordon A. Smith sends me!

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