it's the holiday season once again at Meijer. actually, I'm writing this about a month and a half late as according to the indicators at Meijer, October 29th was the actual beginning of the Christmas season. at that time the indicators were subtle; specially made green, red or silver garland-ish snowflakes hung haphazardly around the store's much-too-high ceilings, partial signs were hung in flowing script wishing us a "season's" without it's "greetings" and the center store aisles were stacked with green and red storage bins, on sale.
but now we are in full Christmas mode, all holiday caution thrown to the wind! cashiers are sporting their peppermint candy earrings, the pharmacist has donned his much-too-small Santa cap, and the tunes of yester year have been replaced with a really old, tone-deaf, don't-remember-the-words-to-any-Christmas-song guy with a mic and a keyboard. three foot striped candy canes are all a go-go throughout the store and (my personal favorite) the tiny Christmas trees decorated with Meijer credit card applications have sprouted. I smell Christmas!
so, Meijer has discovered the money-making machine known to financial institutions as the credit card. as a former loan officer, I know the amazing potential for easy cash a credit card brings to a store. marketing a credit card has very little overhead with huge returns, it literally is a cash-cow for any sponsoring institution. now, having given you this little side-tour, let's move on to the real show...
when I first noticed the Meijer credit card pusher (the name has evolved, first I called her the credit card lady, then the annoying associate, now she's the pusher) she was idly standing at the front entrance with a few credit card applications in hand. she would try to catch my eye, immediately putting me into "vacant-look" mode. after two weeks of that, came the credit card stand with huge banner, then the "incentives" began and pusher went on tour.
the tour was a very irritating turn of events for me. no longer could I just whiz by pusher in mid-sentence--"would you like to open a Meijer cred-". no, now she is equipped with a cart loaded with stacks and stacks of applications and she follows you 'til sentence is completed. "would you like to open a Meijer credit card and save 10% percent today on your grocery bill plus save money for your kids' college tuition?" she asks the customer cornered against the microwave popcorn and pringles.
I have jilted her hopes of getting me on a Meijer credit fix for weeks now. and no, it's not a case of her not recognizing me because I will get the "have you reconsidered your decision?" pitch. once, I came this close to reciting my favorite mom montra, "no means no", but decided she would finally get tired of my negatory answers and give up on me. my plan was simple, stick to my pat "no" reply and move on. pusher, on the other hand, had a different tactic...
bread and cracker aisle, saturday, 13:00 hours: the kids are with me as I'm trying to wrangle some bread, hamburger buns and crackers in the people capacity-limit aisle. I'm deciding between original Triscuits and nearly-break-your-teeth reduced fat Triscuits when I hear pusher begin her schpeel on me. pretty much tired of the whole repetitive nonsense, I don't even look at her when I interrupt her with a sing-song voice, "nooo, thank youuu!" expecting to hear her say, "okay, thank you", she switches gears and replies loudly and seriously, "you know, I'm surprised at you. with all your Christmas purchases, our credit card can help you pay for your children's college with the U promise plan. are you really going to turn down free money to help pay for your kids' future? or do you just not have a plan for your kids' future?" the bustling aisle is suddenly hushed, carts have stopped moving and all eyes are nervously on me.
friends, you know I grew up in the home of a lawyer--I ate manipulation 101 for breakfast, Socratic method for lunch and well-timed sarcasm for dinner! who in the H-E double toothpicks does she think she is dealing with here?! is she really trying to manipulate me with guilt to open a credit card?! my mind is whirling with all the account numbers to my kids 529 plans, ugma and utma accounts not to mention the huge jar of coins sitting on the kitchen counter! besides all that, a Meijer credit card is not giving me free money, and it will not finance my children's education! saving money not spending wads of money on a credit card will finance my kids education, since when does spending $1000 dollars on select, participating groceries to get $50 (that's 5% before the NV state 529 plans fees take their hit, so actually about 2.4%) make sense?! do I really have to divulge/explain all this to the pusher and the surrounding minions?
I casually toss the original Triscuits in my cart, turn to her and say, "Nao 'brigada. nao quero sua carta." (translation: No thank you. I don't want your card.) I smile smugly as I move past her, nodding my head to the gawkers, saying a loud "hello" in perfect english to each of them. now, maybe using portuguese to deflect an obvious credit card confrontation is a little immature, but that's my plan and I'm stickin' to it!