What's In Your Wallet?

Last night decided to close an account for a credit card we don't use and that has a zero balance. This card had a huge line of credit available and a very low interest rate. That being said, I decided to do a little plastic surgery.

First, I looked over all of the literature that came with the statement. There were all kinds of information on how to pay, ask about, increase, delay, negotiate and look at your account BUT there was NO INFORMATION listed on how to CLOSE your account!

I decided to try the 'Questions About My Account' phone number. After wading through four different voice menus (if you like purple, press 2, if you had chicken for dinner, press 4, etc., etc., etc.), I FINALLY got 'if you want to close your account' person. I explained that I wanted to close my account. He asked me WHY??? I told him that I believe in cutting up plastic. He tried to plant doubt. I persisted. He then said he would have to transfer me to the 'close the account' person. Wait, wasn't that the person I just chose on the phone menu? He put me on hold, an especially obnoxious elevator music selection played and I waited and waited and waited. After 5 minutes the 'I can't close your account' person came back on, apologized for the wait caused by a high volume of calls (funny, they answered IMMEDIATELY when they thought they could SELL me a card) and he offered me the DIRECT phone number for the 'close the account' department and even volunteered their working hours. I'm a mom and I can smell a STALL a mile away! I thanked him but asked to be left on the line and decided to wait. TWENTY MINUTES later someone answered!!!

"I want to close my account!" I said with resolve.

"What can we ADD to your card that would change your mind?" Person #2 asked.

"Nothing, I want to close my account."

"But you have such a HUGE line of credit and such a LOW interest rate."

"I believe in cutting up plastic. Please close my account."

Well, wouldn't you know - Person #2 apparently did not have the authority to close my account.

I was beginning to get a little aggravated (okay, A LOT aggravated). In this time of economic turmoil fueled by creditors lending to people unable to pay them back, wouldn't you think that canceling a card would be a little easier than this. I am fully aware that I have this huge credit line and low interest rate BECAUSE I PAY MY BILLS and I want to keep it that way.

I'm transferred to Person #3.

"How can I help you?", she asked.

"I want to close my account."

"Ms. Nancy B., I'm surprised you would do that. You have such a LOW interest rate! Why would you want to close your account?"

"I believe in living within my means. I don't need this card and I don't plan to use this card. Given the current economic climate, I think this is a great decision."

"Well, given the current economic climate, you may NEVER GET ANOTHER CREDIT CARD WITH THIS MUCH CREDIT AND WITH SUCH A LOW RATE! If I had this card, I would NEVER cancel it."

That's it - I was going to cancel that card TONIGHT!

"It's funny that you say that because I shred a pre-approved credit card with an incredible interest rate AT LEAST THREE TIMES A WEEK! I know your job is to sell credit cards and to talk me out of closing this account but nothing you say will change my mind. In a time of foreclosures, bailouts and stock market chaos, I think I'm being very responsible. You've given me the sales pitch, now please CLOSE MY ACCOUNT!"

She finally agreed and finished by reading me a 'terms of agreement' (I'm sure made mandatory as a result of dicey behavior by some lenders).

Thirty minutes after dialing the phone I hung up, wrote 'CLOSED 10/20/08' on the statement, turned to my teenage daughter and said, "This is why you don't sign up for cards 'so you can get 10% off today's purchases'.

Now that I have done my patriotic duty to the floundering economy, I have decided that next time I cancel a card and I'm asked why I'm doing it I will reply -

"Because I choose to follow the living prophet and his counsel to get out and stay out of debt." I can't wait to hear the reply!


Where's Susie? ? ?

Untapped talent

Our oldest three children were born in the space of four years. Every six months as LDS General Conference rolled around, I tried to think of ways to foster an active 'Watch, Listen and Learn' attitude in our children as we turned on the TV to receive counsel from our prophet.
My attempts include but are not exclusive to:
* bribery (in the form of candy that could only be consumed during conference),
* BYOB&P (bring your own blankie and pillow which ended up encouraging napping - not my intent),
* threats (always helpful when trying to invite a spirit of peace and calm into your home),
* Smartie Bingo (you know - put a Smartie on your card wh
en that General Authority gives a talk - which only works if everyone refrains from eating their Smarties halfway through the first session),
* turning on every TV and radio in the house s
o that even a sleeping teenager will have 'The Good Word' permeate his soul,
* putting up a card (Uno of course) table and choosing a gospel-centered puzzle (sounds odd but there are those kinds of puzzles available) to work on . . . this was an attempt to keep the hands busy so that they would not be used to torment siblings,
BUT my all-time favorite and the one I have
used every General Conference for the last 20 years is . . .

WHERE'S SUSIE? ? ? (like where's Waldo?)

When I was growing up in the little farming town of Pleasant Grove, it was BIG NEWS to KNOW someone personally who sang in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. You had your 'good' singers (and sometimes not so good) who sang in the ward choir. Then you had your 'better' singers who might solo in sacrament meeting or be asked to sing solos or duets at funerals. But then there were the 'great, practically professional' singers who auditioned and were chosen to sing in the Tabernacle Choir! Those singers were rare indeed.

About 20 years ago (sorry Susie, I don't know your 'official' starting date), my friend, Susie, auditioned for and was chosen as an alto member of the choir. It was then that every conference when the choir was singing, I asked my children "Where's Susie?" in a good faith attempt to get them to either 1) wake up and look at the TV or 2) stop fighting long enough to look for Susie.

Our search was made a little easier because, beginning in kindergarten, the universal rule was always 'Tall ones to the back'. It's easy to spot me, Susie, Jeanne and Mary Ann (all tall since birth) in our school class pictures (or any picture for that matter) because we're ALWAYS either on the BACK row or seated in chairs on the front row. It seems to me that the choir has held fast to this rule because we generally find Susie on the very back row or very close to it (refer to picture from last conference). And, for a reason unknown to me, she seems to be placed close to the women/men boundary of the choir.

I admit - I always feel a little 'reflected glory' when I spot Susie in the choir and shout out "There's Susie!" It's still a big deal to me to know someone in the choir.

After years of looking for Susie, one conference one of my children turned to me after I asked "Where's Susie?" and said, "Mom, you realize it doesn't really mean anything to us when we find Susie (or when you ask for the millioneth time where she is). You're the one that has the connection to her. We don't."

It's true. As much as we might wish to, we can't 'transplant' relationships, memories, emotions or even testimonies on others. Life's experiences are ours to have, to learn and to remember. We can share them in an attempt to pass along the experience but in the end they belong to us. My children will have their own life experiences. I can only hope that as adults they continue to watch General Conference not to look for my childhood friend, Susie, but to listen (and then follow) a prophet's voice.

By the way, I found Susie last week and she sounded GREAT!


Decision '08

(a very pregnant mayor :)

As I've watched the economic news grow dimmer every day (it seems) and the political rhetoric ramp up, I pondered . . . what other mayors might be viable candidates for the pres./v.p. slot.

I present to you the possibility of The Munchkin Mayor!

Think about it - His constituents always seemed to be happy and singing. Really, their only pressing problem seemed to be a wicked witch here and there (no financial bailouts). He seemed to handle tornado immigration with ease. He was helpful and generous with his directions to Oz. His ability to mix greens in his wardrobe was unparalleled! And, if you needed to know what time it was, you could just look at the gigantic watch strategically placed where all could see. He showed grace under extreme conditions when his airspace was compromised (wicked witch flying around with creepy monkey/bat soldiers threatening any one who crossed her path) and his city was tidy and blooming.

I'm not sure of his party affiliation (Independent I would guess) but I'll be thinking of him when I cast my vote this November.

If only the Munchkin Mayor was a US citizen . . . oh, the possibilities!