Well, I am home sick now for five days with an URI (Upper Respiratory Infection) so I have seen lots of Travel Channel, Food Network, and Ovation TV, have you seen this ridiculous Amex commercial that’s being shown again. The first version was shown without subtitles and was just as annoying but now the second version has added subtitles to make the point a little clearer for those who didn’t get to Berlitz.
Let me set it up for you-business lunch set up by two I’m guessing small time business people, white guy and Indian looking girl both in say early thirties hosting three German business people, two older men and a youngish woman. Everything seems to be going well, the deal is going to be made. But when the check comes, the white guy offers to pay saying “Let me get this.” and happily pulls out a credit card, which everyone seems to focus on for several seconds.
The catch is that the card is from some unknown bank and depicts a superhero I’ve never seen, dressed in light blue tights with orange piping and a mask. The German woman turns to her comrades smiling and says “Vas ist das kindergarten kreditkarden!” and her companions add a few more words in German and laughs of disapproval, and with little ceremony they all say “Thank You” and leave, our confused hero sits back down and says “That went well hah?” The Indian girl says “Yeah” a little less enthusiastically. Then she whips out her card and says “Let me get this OK” and puts down her Amex Gold Card!
Now, I may just be a middle class guy, but I got a few problems with this whole scenario. Number One – who cares what bank issued the credit card in the first place, it’s his card he has to pay it. The bank is called “The Vista Bank”, I wonder if that’s a thinly veiled reference to the operating system (never mind this is not a conspiracy theory post). Number Two – are we actually supposed to believe that this superhero punching his way thru good taste and social etiquette was the deal breaker in all this? When was the last time you even looked at the card that was used by someone to pay for a meal you just enjoyed, unless your taking a survey there’s no need to see it at all! I mean who does that? If you do-why? Number Three – If we accept that this is a real thing that happens in business today (and just for the record I don’t get to have 3 course lunches in my line of work-so maybe I’m naive-sorry) then all I can say to those who believe in such attitudes as right and proper is “Are you out of your bleedin minds!”
Have you/we as a people sunk so low that every minute has to be filled with every available form of upscale cultural influence in all of it’s most grandiose forms? Does our food and drink always have to be top shelf? Do all of our clothes have to be designer names? When we go out on dates or business meetings do we have to implement a new screening process to prevent the slightest possible occurrence of “Credit Card Graphic Embarrassment” (CCGE for short), or should we just stand up and point with eyes wide and make a loud guttural shrieking sound so those who haven’t been turned yet can be taken away, put in their pod and changed into a spoiled, snobbish, whining, mamby pamby child. Like some uptight Martha Stewart version of the movie “Invasion of The Body Snatchers.”
In conclusion, all I can say is that anyone who wants to take me to dinner is more than welcome to use any credit card they want, with any graphic they choose (it’s your card whatever turns you on is OK with me) hell I don’t care if you get a card with a picture of your own ass on it! Tell you what though, if anyone ridiculed the graphic on my card I would pick it up and put it back in my wallet and let them pay the check, screw you guys I’m goin home.
In kindergarten we made fun of each others lunch boxes sometimes but we were always glad to compare foods and make trades for things we didn’t get from our own Moms, it was a chance for future foodies to taste other worlds. Now, as it was then, it’s all about the food and the people you share it with, and the lunchbox or the credit card is merely the vehicle that brings it to be shared and enjoyed.