None For Gretchen Weiners

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An open love letter to American Express

While I was at lunch today, I was trying to think of a product that I use every day. Pondering the ins and outs of my daily life (no pun intended) in the In-N-Out drive through, I was reminded about how exciting it is that In-N-Out now accepts American Express. Enter: Stream of Consciousness….

[Aside: All these thoughts dawned on me this afternoon as I was in the drive-through of what I thought was In-N-Out, before realizing it was Chick-Fil-A]

The first time I ever tried In-N-Out burger, I knew I was on the precipice of greatness.


My two- or three-year-old mind had been thinking, ‘Wow, my dad is a total dick for taking me to the not-chicken-nugget store,’ but once I took a bite (I had been strong-armed, obviously), I had a quick change of heart. ‘Okay, this not-chicken-nugget meal is actually pretty good. Don’t let dad know, though. Feign disinterest.’

As a tiny human/huge cheeseburger skeptic, I was super hesitant. But In-N-Out broke through my distrust and cynicism toward all things not-chicken-nuggets, and frankly, changed my life. But that’s another story for another day.

basically exactly how i looked at age 3

basically exactly how i looked at age 3

Although I don’t eat In-N-Out burgers every day because I have things like self-esteem and a general knowledge of human physiology (and I DON’T have things like the metabolism of a hummingbird), I do use my AmEx every day. Well, probably every day. When In-N-Out started accepting AmEx, my complete lack of self-control was brought center stage. It was the synergy of two of my vices: eating and spending money.


I had similar sentiments the day I got approved for my AmEx as I did upon first experiencing a Double Double as a small child: as if I was on the precipice of greatness.


I earned the card; I didn’t use my parents for their names or credit, and I was approved regardless. It was my first (and remains still) my only credit lender. It made me feel powerful and professional and important when I was 20 years old, so that was huge for me. It also was a total enabler of absent-minded spending, which I’m super good at.


Fortunately, my AmEx keeps me from completely going over the edge – it’s not actually a credit card, but a charge card. I can’t spend more than I earn (and if I do, I’m screwed). The particular card I have is the AmEx Zync card, which is essentially the opposite of a Black card in all aspects (including the fact that it is literally white). I call it AmEx junior, sometimes the AmEx Unicorn (it’s super rare, apparently). It only costs $25 a year, but I get very similar benefits to the other cards: super ambiguous spending limits, purchase protection and insurance, travel deals, etc.

As aforementioned, self-control was not one of the gifts God bestowed upon my personality, so it’s nice to know that I haven’t completely indebted myself to a credit lender with crippling amounts of interest. I have student loans for that, thanks USC!


A few moments that stood out (I hope this doesn’t sound like a love letter to an inanimate object, but if it does, so be it):

* I bought a pair of Warby Parker prescription glasses. My friend’s dog chewed them the night I received them. Super cool. Called AmEx, explained the situation, offered to send photos of the dog-damage (they said thanks but we’re cool), and was immediately refunded the full price of the glasses so I could get a new pair. They refunded me SOLELY ON TRUST.

* I called them once to ask if I had a spending limit, and got the customer service rep version of “LOL that’s cute what’s a spending limit.” I also called to let them know I was going to Mexico and not to stop my card they said “yeah we know it’s chill.”

* Ordered some janky stuff on eBay (obviously my own fault but we don’t need to focus on that); the overseas scam operative company refused to refund me; AmEx said, ‘eff that, those suckers aren’t getting any of our money!’ *cue the hi-fives all around*


* Had this dilemma once where I had no money but did have a boyfriend (same dilemma exists today) and it was Christmastime. Cue AmEx travel, double points, and a free trip to Park City, UT. Also cue girlfriend of the year award, because I’m ready to accept it.


TLDR; I have had the best possible credit card scenario for $25 a year since I was 20 years old. No interest, low B2E, unparalleled benefits, and the nice little boost to your ego for being an AmEx member.

AmEx brought me in – fresh, unaware and unencumbered – and took care of me as if I was an abandoned baby on their doorstep. And they gave me the confidence to shop more than I’ve ever shopped before. So I’m pretty sure they’re on the winning end of this deal, but it feels pretty awesome to me.



One comment on “An open love letter to American Express

  1. Pingback: in the bag | beauty & the beach

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This entry was posted on March 26, 2015 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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