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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Random Thoughts (Blog)

I'll take it Blackened

Posted on August 3, 2010 at 3:30 PM

This couple just walked into our store. A woman who at first I thought she was attractive. Then I saw her again and she wasn’t. Then again later and she kinda was. It was like I was looking at her through a heat-haze of beauty or like one of those weird, texturey 3D pictures where it changes when you move your head from left to right (and if you scratch your fingernail over it it’s all wicka-wicka).


Anyhow, our salesman, Andy, is helping them and I notice that they are spending a long time in our high-end theater. I hear booms and rumbles coming from some over-the-top demo (thank you, Trinity Reference subwoofer!) and don’t really think anything of it.


Then Andy walks back and asks me if we’ll consider taking American Express. Now, he knows that we don’t, due to the fact that A) Every AmEx owner carries a back-up Visa or MasterCard so there is really no point to and B) AmEx charges us a transaction fee that would likely be considered usurious in any other civilized land.  So I ask him rather snidely, “Why? Do they have a Black Card?”


To which he answers, “Yes.”


To which I shut the hell up.


A Blackity-Black. In the wild. In my store. I’m giddy!


For those of you who don’t know, the Black (or more accurately named “Centurion”) Card is the mightiest of credit cards. So mighty, in fact, that AmEx decided that plastic was far too pedestrian a material and opted to instead make the Black Card out of titanium. And nothing impresses a low-paid sales clerk like your credit card being so heavy it audibly clangs and chips their counter when you nonchalantly toss it towards them. And the next time you find yourself in a credit card street fight or if you’re out MacGrubering and have just seconds to stop a nuclear reactor from going hypercritical, you gonna pull out plastic or a super-alloy? Or the next time you’re lying in bed and want to know if you can have some water from the Dead Sea over-nighted to you or if you’re in the Lamborghini dealership and gosh-darn, you left your checkbook at home, or if you decide that you actually DO want to buy and sell someone…all of these are times to reach in and pull Black.


But spotting Black in the wild is rarer than seeing a Bugatti Veyron accidentally driving off the road into a marsh. To date I have seen...NONE.


Why so rare? Because you used to have to wait for AmEx to personally invite you to apply. And they didn’t hand these invites out all willy-nilly. You had to be a year’s long Platinum Card holder plus have a credit rating that basically said, “I don’t really even *need* a card, but if the right one came along, I’d consider it.” But if you’ve been waiting by your mailbox for that Black Envelope to arrive, you can go back in your house and just pick up the phone and call. But before you start dialing, you DO spend $250,000 or more a year on your credit card, right? You also won’t flinch at the $5,000 initiation fee will you? Because AmEx will DEFINITELY give you two for flinching. And then deny you. And shame you by sending you a Green Card. Then after the initial $5,000 “welcome to the Club” fee, there is a yearly $2,500 fee to prove how much you enjoy belonging to the Club.


They didn’t buy anything on this go-round, but have an appointment on Saturday. And they didn’t flinch when Andy told them our high-end room cost $100,000. That’s when she asked, “Do you take American Express? Because I earn points on my Black Card.”


Then, suddenly she was beautiful again!

Categories: August 2010, CTA