I discovered this week I’m one of the 1%. At least according to Visa. I received a lovely invitation (it was signed and everything) to get my exclusive Black Carbon Visa. The invitation is limited to only 1% of U.S. residents. I feel so privileged. Here’s part of what my invitation offers: “For those who demand only the best of what life has to offer, the VISA BLACK CARD is for you. THE BLACK CARD is not just another piece of plastic. Made with carbon it is the ultimate buying tool.” And for the privilege of using this carbon-not-plastic plastic, I only have to pay an annual fee of $495. Because I have $495 burning a hole in my pocket. I must, I’m one of the 1%.
They also supply you with your own call center in Mumbai 24 hour concierge assistant to let you ride the pampered wave. Maybe I could use the card on all those great deals I’m going to go into debt for purchase on Black Thursday Thanksgiving. There must be some electronic thing-a-ma-jig or a cute outfit I want need from my local Big Box store that I’m willing to stand in line for at midnight while retail workers miss gathering with loved ones to work a 12 hour shift on this reason to spend money you don’t have national holiday devoted to thankfulness. Besides everyone knows you need to go into debt get the best gift deals early to prove to all your loved ones you can keep up with the Joneses bless your friends and family for Materialism Day Christmas. Maybe the concierge service can hold my place in line.
Here’s something to think about if you’re like me and you’re trying to get out from the mountain of consumerism dumped on the holidays and remember the real reason for the season. More than 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. Could you? I don’t know if I could. Am I saying you shouldn’t buy gifts and get good deals? Should you feel guilty that you have things when others don’t? Not at all.
But maybe we should work on being content with what we have and find satisfaction in more meaningful things than THINGS. Then we, both as individuals as well as a society, might not be in so much debt and have the means to help others who aren’t as fortunate. Maybe Congress will listen to Occupiers and Tea Partiers and Regular Joes who are all crying out for the same thing: change the status quo. Well, I can dream, can’t I?
Check out these two links for an interesting perspective:
Although I’ll have plenty of opportunities to rant this holiday season, I pledge to limit myself to this post. I’m a recovering pessimist, you know. I’m not going to let consumer overload steal my joy so I’ll be working hard to focus on thankfulness. I’m not going to let VISA steal my $495 either. Sorry, VISA, I’ll be declining your invitation without regret.