Be very afraid. Supervillains do exist in real life. And they are not far removed from the Mavel Comics/James Bond cartoony types like Dr.No, Goldfinger, The Joker and Megatron – They have large and pointless facilities, hordes of mindless people working for them and they nurture that evergreen dream of world domination. And have a plan to achieve it. But since Hollywood has shown us that plain old terrorism, nuclear weapons and space-time-morphing superpowers can be thwarted by James Bond, John McClaine and Batman, these new age villains have come up with a much more lethal, sophisticated and indestructible Weapon of Mass Destruction. Which will have us hand them the control of the world, one swipe at a time.
Yes, they are watching you. They know everything about you. And they want everything you have – From your house and car to your stinking couch and unwashed underwear. And they are The Banks. And the Weapon of Mass Destruction which lays waste the moneys of generations is – No prizes for guessing – It is called a Credit Card. The irony is that this WMD even our heroes will have to use (to fight crime, no less). You think you are clever and can outsmart them? No. You are screwed. They will catch you. Using YOU. How?
1. The Lure of the Words
“Convenience”, “Spending Power”, ” Exclusive”, “Unique Needs”, “Tailor-made”, “Cashless”, “Cash-Back”, “Privilege”, “Premium”, “Rewards” are just some of those fancy terms they throw around just to make us feel as if all problems in life will be solved if we get a credit card and to lure gullible people into their trap. The fact is that all that metal named plastic (Gold, Titanium, Platinum etc.) are just there for ‘them’ to decide the level of how much you should get screwed.
“But it’s convenient!”, “Carrying cash is dangerous”, “Emergency use”, “They will reward you”, “OMG! Revolving Credit!” and of course “Everyone uses them!” These are the signs that you have fallen. You utter these words and before you know it, you are in possession of that shiny piece of plastic of financial freedon, the key to success in life, but you have just sold your soul for it.
2. Aspirations – The Beginning
They know that we can’t resist the lure of the douche and the flash. “Only this one time. I promise myself. After that I will pay it back.” “Why can’t I splurge on a bottle of ridiculously high priced Vodka and be the envy of the club?” Or “Why should I not have a spanking new Sony Bravia 43″ instead of this stupid ancient Onida 21 inch?” Or “Why should I carry around this age old Nokia when I can have a Samsung Galaxy S?” You can’t cough up enough dough for it, so flash that plastic, baby! Now you are at par with your peers, the envy of the world, the rockingest guy around. You could use a Debit card too, but there is no way that hot chick at the bar is going to be impressed with your Rs.26.85 bank balance.
3. The Point of No Return
It has been a couple of months and now your statement(s) look like an address book for Bars, Clubs, Department & Elecrtonic Stores. You have all that you ever wanted. You eat, drink, party and watch HBO like a king. The only small point is that now the total amount you owe them is about the net worth of your entire family. Things start going really wrong when you suddenly realize the total monthly minimum payment amounts are more than your monthly salary! They have you. They are one more step closer to their goal.
4. Your Ass Just got Handed Over.
“Of course, I will pay it all back.” Of course you will. Like sometime around May 5981 AD. Or later, depending on how much screwed you are. This is because once you start you are designed to Credit cards are designed to work on a heady mix of Psychology, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Laws of attraction, Laws of Human Tendency and really complicated Rocket-Science like Finance. And that magic figure known as “Minimum Balance’. Oh, and did I mention the interest rates? 42.5% per annum? Calculated on a daily basis? Holyshitgoddamnit do you have any idea how f***ed you are??? You will never, ever pay it off!!! (Click)
5. For Customer Service, Please Press WTF
This is the most brilliant part. Customer care option is carefully designed to make sure that you dont get any care at all. You need to be a CA to decipher some of those f***ing statements! Try calling them? Make sure that you have atleast 30 minutes to spare and a phone which has a tough keypad. And of course, you will end up with more problems after the call is over. More about this coming soon.
6. (Das Untergang) The Downfall
It is done. They are chuckling in their boardrooms. They have your soul for all eternity! They will hound you through debt collectors, strongmen and court notices. Want to run? Hah! Ever heard of Credit Bureaus? Unless you are planning to colonize Alpha Centauri and settle down there, you will never be able to buy a house, a car or anything else that cant be bought by paying direct cash. Oh including foreign travel. No, you are not going to get that VISA to show your little kid the London Bridge. Hoo boy is she going to hate you for that! Yes, unless you pay the entire amount to the last paisa (Including interest, which will be around twice the amount you spent) you will have to face the brunt. No, settlements will not do.
They are now one step closer to total world domination. You will have to sell everything you have (except your soul, which is already sold). And there is no damn thing you can do about it!!
How can we thwart these attempts? Do we have a masked savior (CreditBusterMan!!) for the credit card world? Do we have a super spy who will smooth-talk them into reducing interest rates while pursuing hot damsels in his Aston Martin? You will soon find out! Go on to Part 2!