By Marc J. Randazza
I have a pretty awesome American Express card limit. If I decided to go on the lam, I could probably just buy a plane and worry about it later. I carry no balance on it, but it’s nice to know that if I gotta grab a car in a hurry, I can buy it.
I’m not bragging. Any twit with a decent paying job who pays his bills can get that kind of credit. You just start early, never fuck them over, and agree to pay a somewhat outrageous membership fee. But, you see, I love the little privileges that come from getting “status” with companies. For the most part, it just allows me to cut in the front of a lot of lines. It may not seem like a lot, but flashing a card and getting escorted to the front of a line is just about the closest thing to super-powers that a human can have.
Its also nice to check into hotels, and have them say “here’s a suite instead, and you can check out at 4 pm if you like, Mr. Randazza.” When the regular customers are dragging their shit downstairs asking where luggage check is, I’m eating eggs benedict in bed, watching hotel porn.
I like it even better when I get on a plane and the stewardess has actually been studying a sheet so that she knows my name, knows what I want to drink, and knows about how often I want another one. She comes by ALL the time, and she smiles. She smiles the whole flight. She doesn’t wank at you. And she takes your coat and hangs it up for you before takeoff. Coach and Southwest suck.
Status is not cheap, but it’s not really that expensive. I love it. And I’m
a little wicked frigging spoiled and used to it.
So I get this email from American Express. The subject? Exclusive Invitation from DEPARTURES. Departures is the magazine they send you, which I always used to just throw in the trash, still in the plastic wrapper. My assistant at my last firm asked if she could have them for the office, so the staff could all look at cool places they wished they could go… and then she’d take a vacation that even I couldn’t afford. So go figure.
Back to the email. Who knows what it could be. Why, it was so majestic, that I won’t just quote it … I’ll reproduce it below.
Well, this looks AWESOME. The Departures ADVISORY BOARD? Okay, sure, I figure… I’m not rich enough that this is like “come stay in free resorts every day.” But, maybe I get a free night at a resort once a year? Or, maybe a free yacht rental or something. I’m a guy who they trust with about $1,000,000 in credit on four different cards. If I ever want to murder someone, I bet I can get away with it, because I could buy a plane, fuel, and still have money to bribe the guys in the Seychelles to let me stay. I use those cards so much that I earn enough points all year that I can’t remember what it feels like to fly in coach, but I pay the same amount for my plane tickets that you do — SUCKERS. You would think that being on the Advisory Board would get you something… right? Some perk?
They charge me thousands of dollars a year in membership fees. I get a special telephone number where I NEVER have to talk to some jagoff from the Republic of Nagheenanajar who can’t do anything but read “I am sorry that you are feeling badly about the service….” They just GIVE me first class plane tickets, which come with free booze, free pillows, and stewardesses who wouldn’t think of acting like the raging unionized fucking assholes on power-trips that you get back there in coach. I am a good boy, I pay my bills, and I could hire a live in maid for the cost of my membership fees alone. I could probably hire an English Butler who would politely dab my balls dry while telling me the latest financial news, if … well, okay, you’d have to be Jennifer Lopez rich for that, and so that’s a bit of a side track… because I’m not in THAT income tax bracket.
But anyhow, look, I’m special. American Express tells me that ALL the time. The two people I can count on being there for me no matter what I do, are my mother and Amex.
And being THIS special, they invited me to Join the Luxury Advisory Board!
“The Luxury Advisory Board provides DEPARTURES with key insights and information on style, real estate, culture, dining, travel and much more. Share with us what you are doing now and planning for the future.”
And so the LUXURY ADVISORY BOARD is just a bunch of schmucks who signed up to get junkmail? Jesus christ.
Maybe I am madder about this than I should be. Maybe its not such a big deal in the grand scheme of disappointments that life can dole out. But it pissed me off.