Having recently bucked the American way of life by paying off all my credit card debt, I now feel the need to observe and critique the corporate machine that encourages a debt-ridden lifestyle.
Recently, I’ve been seeing a commercial by Capital One, one of the worst piranhas in the industry, that features a couple and their kids at the concession stand at a football game. The family is loaded down by t-shirts, popcorn, and soda. This commercial is so many shades of wrong.
First, the couple don’t flinch when the total of their purchases comes to $120. One hundred and twenty dollars?! For soda and popcorn and t-shirts? Are they serious? Sure, I was guilty of consistently purchasing the $25/30 concert t-shirt back in the day, but does anyone really spend triple digits at a concession stand?
Next, the husband, clearly calm and in control of the situation and not at all concerned that not only does he not have the money but that that doesn’t matter to him, busts out his credit card and says, “Don’t worry, honey. I got it.”
Cue music: The Boys are Back in Town.
The Boys are a gang of barbarians who come charging into the stadium, ready to attack the couple not for using a credit card for their extravagant purchase — that’s to be expected — but for using a card with high interest rates. This is the next shade of wrong.
That interest rates are even factored into the decision-making process suggests, of course, that the couple has no intention of paying off this debt. They’re financing their popcorn purchase.
But wait! The clever husband, Master of the Financial Universe, has a trick up his sleeve. This is no ordinary credit card. This is the Capital One Prime Lock card! (Whatever the hell that means.)
The Boys are disappointed because they are no match for the Prime Lock card. They retreat.
The wife is relieved that she only has to pay the Prime Lock interest rate. Capital One to the rescue.
Of course, what the commercial doesn’t show us is that the popcorn and soda will be gone within the next few minutes and the t-shirts for the kids will end up in a Goodwill donation bag within the year.
But this smart couple used the Prime Lock. So they’ll only be financing all those disposable goods at 9 percent interest instead of 21 percent.
The moral of the story is this: Pay off your credit card debt, good people. It’s a wonderful, liberating feeling. The money you spend and save and invest will be yours and you will no longer be at the mercy of these credit companies who prey on us all.
The one thing the commercial gets right is the gang of barbarians. Who knew Capital One could portray itself so well?