Grist to the Mill

16 March, 2004


Writes a journalist… “‘Come the credit revolution of the 1980s… lenders clamoured to cultivate a more welcoming image: an image that said “Why should it only be rich people who can accumulate massive, crippling debts? Now you can too!’ These days, credit lenders are shameless whores who’d dish out a platinum card to a child and point him in the direction of Woolies if they thought they could get away with it.”

Quite! - today I had to reply to the following letter which ended up on my desk, presumably because no-one else could be bothered to deal with it. It was written in shaky handwriting on A5, Basildon bond-sized paper:

[A bucolic-sounding address in rural England]
Dear Sirs,
I thank you very much for a Platinum card from [a trade union] but I have no idea how one uses it. I am 85 and thought one just went to a shop and bought what one wanted and had enough money in one’s purse to pay for it. What does one do with a card? Please tell me. I’ve read the papers with your letter but I don’t always understand them, sorry to be so foolish now, I was a headmistress years ago. Please tell me what to do with a Platinum card when one has one.
Yours sincerely,
[name from an older generation]
PS I live on an ‘age’, old-age pension and savings and my husband died about 2 years ago, aged 81.

I assume she was ‘playing dumb’ re. not knowing what a credit card is for, so I wrote a nice, ‘dumb' letter back to her, ignoring her irony (if that’s what it was).

| | |