Sign up for our Mastercard or this Envelope will Self-Destruct

21 April 2001

News flash! After I wrote this article, I received several late arrivals from Capital One [pic], and Citibank [pic]. I wouldn't want to leave them out, so I'm posting them here too.

Over the past six months, I have been the lucky recipient of the following serious-looking envelope:

Now, other than the annoyance of having them send me yet another copy of this envelope about twice a week, I think there's something disingenuous (that means "fake") about making your credit advertisement look like you're trying to be a bill collector.

Admittedly, this is a slight improvement over the credit card ads I used to get. One of the companies copied the FedEx packaging, colors, format, everything. Except, it was definitely not a FedEx package, and it definitely was another credit card ad.

But the thing is, these marketing guys are nuts. They're working on trying to sell Mastercards, and somehow it's supposed to go like this:

Me: Oh, did I forget to pay my phone bill? This looks serious.

Letter: Serious.

Me: Oh, I better open that right away.

Letter: "Vinny" will be at your door with a baseball bat in an hour if you don't.

Me: (fumbling with the envelope, ripping): Oh, it's a Mastercard offer!

Letter: I was just kidding about the bat.

Me: Well, you tricked me. Guess I should get another credit card then. I'm running a little low, only three cards left from last week.

Letter: Would you like some checks to transfer your balance? We're offering 22% APR for a limited time.

Me: Sure!