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AMEX wants you to be “in-the-know”
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Ever since the days of actual paper mail, I’ve been a sucker for surveys. I love ticking off the answers to questions about which laundry detergent I use and how long I go before replacing my toothbrush and whether it really irks me when WalMart is out of my favorite brand of ammunition.

Now that surveys show up every few minutes in my email bin I am far less likely to answer them. But yesterday’s promise by American Express to pay me $10 (WOW) and to donate some unnamed amount to the Red Cross enticed me to take their survey. Even if I had known I was going to spend 30 minutes of my life on it, my unemployed sense of frugality would have kicked in and reminded me that $10 will still buy about 2.5 coffees at Starbucks.

The survey started out with the basics – what credit cards I have (too many) and how often I use them (too often) and how much of a balance I carry on each (zero – my father taught me that plastic is merely a convenience, not a means for racking up debt). Then the questions started to get a little odd, asking how strongly would I characterize myself as having certain qualities or beliefs (example - it’s important for me to be “in-the-know” – they must have used that phrase a half dozen times which became very creepy, the implication being that I want to know things before anyone else and that that’s a guiding principle in how I select credit cards). They asked for the top priorities in my life (being creative, being in control, finding time for what’s important, etc.) and how I would relate them to credit card use (answer – not at all). Eventually they got around to inquiring about my reaction to a credit card with a $125 annual fee that would provide certain privileges; presumably being “in-the-know” would be one of them. I finally told them they should spend their budget on innovation - like a laptop I can wave my credit card at to make a purchase (on second thought, that might not be so good for *my* budget) – rather than this silly marketing clap-trap.

I’m willing to bet they send me my $10 in pennies.

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