Ready to do something really exciting for your credit card company?
Every week since I moved out of my parents' house in the fall of 2000, I've gotten at least two of those 'pre-approved' credit card offers from CitiCard in the mail. That works out to over 1,150 CitiCard applications.
You know the ones I'm talking about, don't you? They each come with a 'personalized' letter from the CEO of the bank, an application that's mostly filled out, a three-fold document that has all of the terms and conditions listed, and a postage-paid return envelope. If you want to start wrecking your credit, simply take twenty-seven seconds to fill out the application, sign it, and return it in the postage-paid return envelope.
Or, you could visit the bank's website, type in the handy online 'approval code' from the paper application, and complete the application online.
I've actually gotten one or two weekly offers from numerous banks and credit card companies during the past ten years, in addition to Citi. However, the Citi applications stand out to me because I already have a CitiCard Mastercard. I've had it for almost eight years, but I don't use it very much anymore. I originally got it for the rewards program. When I first started using it, I'd charge everything I could on the card, and then pay off the full balance at the end of the month.
I get at least four or five of these damn things every week. Four or five of them... every... week.
In almost eight years, I've never paid even a penny in interest to Citi, and I've probably collected almost $500 worth of 'rewards' from them. They're certainly not making any money off me. Instead, they're making me money. I'm sure they hate me, and that's OK.
I stopped using my CitiCard just over three years ago, when I got a letter in the mail saying that the rewards were going to be reduced all across the board. Once I started investigating other cards, I realized that I could do much better. Within a month, I had a new 'Cash Back' Discover Card in my wallet. All of the monthly purchases started going on my Discover Card. In almost three years, I've probably robbed them of several hundred dollars in rewards.
But I still kept my CitiCard account open. As long as you don't have a bunch of credit cards, it never hurts to have one or two extra lines of available credit. And the CitiCard pre-approval applications are still coming... twice a week.
At first, this was very puzzling to me. Why would CitiCard be sending me an application for a new credit card every week, when I already have an active Citi Mastercard? They obviously know that I still have an account. Just a few weeks ago when I opened our mail, I found my new Citi MasterCard waiting with the updated expiration date... along with two 'pre-approved' offers for a new Citi MasterCard.
Hmmmm... I thought to myself. I must be missing something. There must be something really deep and meaningful going on here.... There's a significant message here, and I'm not picking up on it.
When life gives you used coffee
filters, send them to CitiCard.
I frantically looked around the room I was in, which happened to be the kitchen. After a few moments, my gaze settled on the Clever Coffee Dripper sitting on the counter. I had used it to brew a cup of coffee that morning. I wandered over to the counter and peered inside at the used coffee filter and spent coffee grounds.
"That's IT!" I blurted out. "Citicard wants me to send them used filters and spent coffee grounds twice a week! They must want me to help them start a compost pile!"
As any serious gardener knows, spent coffee grounds make a great addition to the backyard compost pile because they contain lots of nitrogen... an element that's vital to the composting cycle. By sending me two postage-paid envelopes every week, CitiCard was providing me the means to mail them my used coffee filters, along with a modest amount of spent coffee grounds.
I breathed a sigh of relief, as I felt the weight of the CitiCard mystery lift off my shoulders.
Fold it up for a better fit.
I enthusiastically reached for the postage-paid envelope from the most recent application. Gently, I lifted the used coffee filter out of the Clever Coffee Dripper and placed it inside the envelope. I tried to seal the envelope, but the flap wouldn't close because there was too much spent coffee inside.
"Ah-HA!" I exclaimed. "I'll bet that I can close the envelope if I scoop out some of the coffee!"
I shoveled out two spoonfuls of spent coffee grounds and dumped them into our compost can by the sink. Then, I folded the coffee filter in half and stuffed it back in the envelope. Crossing my fingers, I tried closing the envelope again.
"BINGO!" I roared, as the envelope closed completely. "Like a glove!"
I sealed the envelope and dropped it in my brief case. The next day, I walked across the street during my lunch hour and pushed the envelope through the 'Out-of-Town' slot inside the post office.
Go ahead. Stuff the coffee filter and
grounds in your postage-paid envelope.
Then seal it and send it!
Guess what? There's more good news. You can all join me in participating in the CitiCard/Compost Challenge.
Check your mail every day for 'You're Pre-approved' credit card offers. If you decide that a particular offer looks good and you actually want to apply for the card, simply complete the application and return it in the postage-paid envelope.
Or, if you're not interested in a particular offer, you can shred the application, along with the tri-folded document with the terms, conditions, and fine print. However, don't shred the postage-paid envelope. Instead, find a recently used coffee filter, fold it up, and seal it in the envelope, along with some spent coffee grounds.
Then, drop it in the mail.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. That's another benefit of the CitiCard/Compost Challenge. By sending away coffee filters several times a week, you're helping to keep the United States Postal Service in business.
And that's all there is to it. Wasn't that easy? You should be very proud of yourself, knowing that you're helping large banks in Wilmington Delaware start a gigantic compost pile.
OMG it hurts so good MOL!