I used to think that having bad credit was a bad thing. Since I got my first credit card at age 18, I’ve always done my best to make timely payments and never exceed my limit. At times I even purposefully purchased things with credit just to build up my rating. It wasn’t long until I noticed that the frequency of credit card offers I was receiving began to increase at a frightening pace.
I adapted by learning to handle unsolicited credit card offers with extreme prejudice, usually ripping the envelopes apart without even opening them. I could spot junk mail from 20 feet and eventually caught on to their tactics of not printing anything on the outside of the envelopes so that unsuspecting recipients were forced to open them in case they might for some reason be important.
One day, though, while ripping through the day’s waste of virgin rainforest, I happened upon an envelope that contained a very special surprise. What’s this? A fake card? That’s right, they had sent a cardboard replica of their card in hopes of getting me excited enough to want the real thing. Endless possibilities were forming in my twisted mind until I flipped it over and saw the big, bold print: “This is not a valid credit card.” Crap, what a way to burst a man’s bubble. Ah well, I kept the card anyway. How little I knew what I had set in motion.
Not even a week later, I get the same offer in the mail again with yet another spiffy card! Then other companies followed suit, fueling my collection of little fake credit cards. I began to wish for more. That’s right, I wanted more credit card offers. It was like a sickness.
My meager collection of fake credit cards.
Perhaps my hoarding of fake cards is some strange coping mechanism. It’s difficult to describe how tempted I am to place those “Business Reply” envelopes back in the mailbox empty. As funny as it would be to make them pay even more postage for their garbage, I harbor a certain amount of paranoia that several men in black suits would eventually find their way to my house, throw me into a black helicopter, and fly me out someplace where they can lock me away and pretend I never existed.
My stack continues to grow steadily, each new card adding to the absurdity of the whole notion. I can’t help but think how much money and resources are wasted on this stuff. I’m not exactly sailing around with Greenpeace every chance I get, but I sometimes find myself wanting bad credit just so I can help out the environment a little.
Of course then I can starting getting a whole new kind of paper treatment: Reams of paper touting, “Bad credit? We can help!”