Sunday, August 27, 2006

Why I Hate the Republic of the Banana: or the Most Boring Come-back Blog of All Time

I love the idea of having a Banana Republic card, but the reality is oh so inconvenient. I have been a loyal customer since it's days of safari hats and jeeps crashing through contrived display windows, but having grown up with the yuppie clothier I feel that their approach to in-store credit is severely underdeveloped.

I opened an account last year because I started a new job as an executive where the expectation was perpetual business attire. Where else to build a work wardrobe but the Banana? I wasn't even seduced by the additional 10% by opening an account, it was the free alterations and reward points system (any in-store account that does not offer money or gift cards back for frequent shopping is not even worth considering) that attracted my patronage.

However, to my incredulity and dismay, you cannot pay your account at the store. You cannot even pay your bill over the phone without a $10 service charge. You can only pay your bill with a check (or is it spelled cheque...who knows...who uses those anymore?) or online.

Well, their website has been down for ages and I get a bill for my fabulous sapphire-cut "diamond" ring which only cost me $37 and the bill reads $69. So I call customer service and reach "Jerry" in India and ask him to remove my late-fee as a one-time courtesy. (Did you know you could do that folks? It's true, if you are a responsible credit user and you incur a late fee most companies will waive that late fee at least once if you call and just ask them to.) Jerry complied, but I am still left with waiting for the web-site construction to wrap up. I searched around for some paper money devices on which you can write in your desired amount, but to no avail.

I hate you Banana Republic.

Cards that are worth having:

Costco's American Express (1% cash back, 2% on travel and 3% on meals)
Macy's in-store card and visa (use your macy's visa anywhere and receive 1-3% back in store gift cards plus free alterations and gift wrap services depending on your spending per year...i love it)
Southwest visa (Todd and I got free tickets to go everywhere we needed to go for about two years...we even earned enough for a buddy pass one year)

Not that I endorse credit. We use credit when it is to our definite advantage. We bought a Dyson vacuum cleaner through our credit card perks. But we rarely have a balance. That'll kill you. Be wise people.

Oh, yeah, one other bit of unsolicited advice...if you happen to decide to open a credit line at a department store or with a 0% interest card, you need to know that you shouldn't open an account to get the extra 15% off and then expect to close it right away. If you close a new credit line within 6 months, it actually counts against your credit rating; it can take as many as 30 points off your score. Wait before you close an account. On the flip side, if you have a department store line of credit (one or two not ten), and you pay on time or use it and don't carry a balance your credit report looks good. Just be smart.

16 comments:

mo said...

I want to weep...we all do. Carrie is back. Do you have any idea at all how all of us have been clicking on your site with hope in hearts only to have that hope dashed to pieces by the same old "Why I Love the Gastineaux Girls" title? I don't even care that your first blog back was all about the pluses and minuses of credit cards. We love you Ceeb! We love your blogs! We'll take whatever we can get. Now excuse me while I step away from my computer and wipe away my tears of joy.

Suzie Petunia said...

Haven't read it yet. MUST COMMENT!!!!!!!!!!! YOU'RE BACK! You are really back! Oh, welcome back, darling sister! *tears of joy* Now I must read and make a real comment.

Suzie Petunia said...

As clever and informative as ever. I love you.

Someone else I know hates their Banana Republic card as well. Now I know.

Abby said...

Welcome back, jerk. There was once a time where a stop at the Banana was as natural to me as stopping at cold stone. The other day I found myself picking up a shirt at Walmart and thinking, "Hmmm...not bad!" What is happening to me? All these changes, these strange feelings. I'm scared.

Anonymous said...

Credit cards are evil and you should get rid of all of them. Especially Banana. In fact, shopping is evil, and you should probably stop that as well. Wal-Mart has great clothes at very affordable prices, and your husband probably wouldn't mind seeing you dressed in D.I. t-shirts and second-hand capri pants for that matter. And flip-flops. You can buy those new if you would like.

brittany said...

Oh, my sweet, sweet Carrie. I am very joyful to view your blog and know for surity that you are the same girl I have always known and loved. I feel lighter knowing that my good friend is back in the blogging world. I love you. (insert hugs and kisses here)

Kacy said...

I heart James Dyson. I pour over the propoganda that came with my Dyson just for fun. James Dyson is really, really special.

DW said...

Man, good thing you started blogging again, beacuse I was even getting ready to make a comment. Yeeeeesh!

Carrie Ann said...

I have boycotted Wal-Mart.

Lucky Candice said...

You're back baby - you're back!! Is it real? If I check in another couple of days will it still be a post about the Banana? Happy happy joy joy - Stuff-n-Stuff is BACK!

Okay, now down to business. I am old enough to remember when Banana had great prices and affordable wearable clothing. Really. Over the past, oh 5 to 7 years, they've gotten snooty and expensive! Besides, I'm a soccer mom and old navy and the gap are the only places I seem to be able to buy clothing. Oh, and Costco.

LOVE THAT YOU'RE BACK!!!

LC (lucky candice)

JP said...

Seriously excited that I just happened over here!! My beloved C.A.!!!

And if you do buy flip-flops...I would emplore you that you DO buy them new. ;) The thought of wearing someone's discarded flip-flops envokes thoughts of gross foot fungus and germs.

Svenska & Sheaux said...

i will pay the extra dollar just about anywhere if it means not going to walmart. but enough about that. welcome back sister-o-ours.

Hjalmar2 said...

Down with all the competition. Macy's rules!
Thanks for the plug for the big red star! And keep on pluggin!

Lucky Candice said...

Uh-oh - I'm getting nervous. Will there be another post?????? Was I celebrating too soon? Are you back??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

LC

Yolanda said...

Carrie, Carrie, Carrie...So nice to have you back...But...I hope you aren't teasing us?! I CAN'T go back to the way it was before...I CAN'T!!

Amy Lynn said...

You are back. And I am 3 months late acknowledging that. Welcome. I love the Children's Place card. 10% off EVERY purchase, EVERY time...clearance, sale items, etc. plus cool stuff in the mail. Love their clothes, love their store, in love period.