What Drives My Road Rage

I’m a pretty calm driver, not much given to road rage or maddened careening and cutting off of my fellow drivers.  (My episodes of road rage mostly culminate in a shouted “you are a MORON!” and the occasional hand signal (unless you’re my mother in which case I never resort to hand signals, I don’t even know what that means).

Actually, in the interest of full disclosure (and so that this post makes some sense) I should point out that I’m not particularly prone to road rage directed at other drivers.  The radio on the other hand, well that’s another matter entirely.

I’ve mentioned my annoyance at certain radio commercials before but there’s a new one that drives me up the wall.  It’s a debt consolidation  commercial as the majority of the really offensive commercials are (followed closely by diet commercials and then those for used car dealerships) and the thing that gets me is the reasoning, laid out step by step as if it’s the most logical thing in the world and it’s a wonder that I didn’t come up with it on my own.  It goes something like this: 1. the credit card companies have been “sticking it to you” (that’s a quote) for long enough.  2. Now the government is bailing them out 3. so you shouldn’t have to pay them.

In his book On Writing Stephen King said something to the effect of, no writer should ever say “I just can’t express it in words” because we’re writers and that’s what we do, express things in words (so if you find that you can express it in dance, I guess it’s time to switch careers).  I think Steve’s a pretty smart guy, and he certainly knows his craft so I’m not going to disagree with him.  But I am going to continue to call myself a writer (of sorts) while professing that I don’t think I can express how much the above line of reasoning irritates me.

Let’s take it apart shall we?

1. The credit card companies have been “sticking it to you” for long enough.  Exactly how are the credit card companies “sticking it to you?”  You got a contract, it was your responsibility to read said contract (I know that none of us really does but whose fault is that?) you signed said contract therefore you are obligated to abide by said contract.  I’ve gotten, skimmed and signed my fair share of these contracts and without exception the deal is something like this, well lend you money and you ‘ll have to pay it back with interest.  The amount of interest varies as do some of the penalties but well, that’s the deal.  Now I’m not the champion of the credit card companies, in fact I think that the entire money lending industry is evil and immoral. (Except what you do Chris, you are in the only decent sector of the whole evil thing and even your sector has been run by a lot of immoral folk more interested in making money than helping their customers for the majority of … well forever.)   But the morality (or lack thereof) aside, they are pretty straight forward in what they do and what they expect.

Now, I’ve been on the wrong side of credit card penalties.  A few years ago I missed two credit card payments to two different credit cards.  (I had written them in my checkbook, I had entered them on the spreadsheet I just hadn’t actually sent the payments.)  As soon as I realized my mistake, and make no mistake about it, it was MY mistake, I called both companies to see if they would waive my penalties (they’ll do that sometimes).  Company A.  said, “no problem, we’ll take that late fee right off and have a nice day.”  Company B said “we’ll take off part of the late fee but it’s still going to cost you about $30.  The amount owing to that particular company was only about $12 if I remember correctly (which I probably don’t) so I wasn’t too happy about that but well, I signed the contract, I made the mistake, so I put on my big girl panties and paid the bill (and then promptly closed the account) all the while vilifying company B and praising company A.  Until I got my next bill in which credit card A, the card with, up until that point, the lowest interest rate of any of my cards, and saw that my little bitty interest had suddenly gone from something like 9% to 32.5%.  I wasn’t happy about it.  The rate was too high, the bill was more than I could pay and I ended up refininacing my house because of it, but not once did I suppose that the credit card company was at fault.  They weren’t sticking it to me, they were running a business.  Is there anyone out there that views credit card companies as anything other than sharks?  I doubt it.  So here’s a tip, swim with the sharks and you’ll occasionally get bit(ten).

2. Now the government is bailing them out. Now I’m not really in favor of bailouts of any kind, but well, you’ve got a company that you promised to pay later so that you could have that new pair of jeans now so they paid the store that had the jeans and you took them home but when it came time to actually pay for the jeans you, well not YOU necessarily but a lot of people, refused to pay.  That leaves the company out of that cash and without the jeans.  I think they deserve one or the other and I wonder how most consumers would feel about having their lattes repossessed?

3. So you shouldn’t have to pay them. What? Please someone tell me how this makes sense!  Other people didn’t pay causing the company to nearly go bankrupt, resulting in a government bailout because the government’s not going to let one of its country’s major industries (and make no mistake, Credit is one of the county’s major industries) implode, so now, even though you had been paying up until now, you shouldn’t have to any more.  Gaaaaa!!!!!!

Can we please stop being victims and take a little, just a tiny bit of responsibility for our actions?!

I’m not trying to condemn those who get themselves into credit trouble, as I mentioned before, I’ve been there.  Nor am I saying that it’s somehow wrong to try to work out a deal with your credit card companies to get your rates lowered, maybe come up with a new, lower one time pay-off amount, I’ve done that too, and I took the credit hit for it.  But I never once thought that it was the credit company’s fault.  The fault, well, I suddenly find myself wanting to quote Shakespeare.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. flip flop mama
    Aug 01, 2009 @ 11:19:00

    I 100% agree. I hate it when people don’t take responsibility for their actions. Instead they make the rest of us pay for them.

  2. Kristina
    Aug 01, 2009 @ 11:28:42

    This is the kind of thing that has completely fueled my mom’s entitlement. She too believes that she shouldn’t have to pay her credit card bills

    Oh, and what fuels my road rage? Those stupid loan commercials that sound like popular songs on the radio, and then I feel like an idiot when I’m singing along about buying a car for 4% interest.

  3. Julie
    Aug 01, 2009 @ 19:00:22

    Amen, amen, and…amen.

  4. Migillicutty
    Aug 01, 2009 @ 20:59:43

    I don’t think I can really comment on this since I’m not an adult and i don’t have a credit card, but it does bug me as much as the next kid when people won’t take responsibility for their actions.

  5. Julie
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 09:26:37


  6. Chris Jones
    Aug 02, 2009 @ 20:08:24

    32% is pretty good right now. I know many card companies that START at 32%, and their average rates are a bit higher than that.

    Thanks for the hat tip, sis, and this is a great post, which I will be cross-posting to my blog as well.

    You signed for it. You pay. That’s how adults work.

  7. Susan M
    Aug 03, 2009 @ 15:36:32

    I wouldn’t know because I don’t have a credit card and never will, but I heard some credit card companies do things like delay sending out your bill in the hope that it’ll make you late on your payment. And I wouldn’t be surprised. But then I’m cynical.

  8. madhousewife
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 08:07:35

    How interesting. I just made a late payment to Citibank. Last time I was paying my bills, I hadn’t gotten the Citibank bill yet, and my statement wasn’t available online yet (even though it usually is that time of the month), so I told myself I’d go back to it later, and of course I forgot to because I forget everything. EVERYTHING. Which is my fault. I hate when crap is my fault! It gives me road rage! Just kidding. (Incidentally, I still haven’t gotten the bill that I was late paying. Which is NOT my fault, but what are you gonna do?)

  9. Susan M
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 08:10:03

    What I do is pay all my bills online in automatic recurring payments. Never late! And I don’t have to think about paying bills at all. Which is good because I’d never remember to do it on time on my own.

  10. Melissa
    Aug 04, 2009 @ 09:43:05

    I hate credit cards, and as much as I’d like to have someone else pay mine off, I don’t see how anyone would consider that responsible. However, if some billionaire decided to take pity on me and pay off every single debt I have AND deposit an additional $5 million dollars into my account – – well, then I wouldn’t really be complaining.

  11. Trackback: And the Winner is…. « Alison Wonderland

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