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Archive for June, 2008

Maxed Out on Credit Cards

June 8th, 2008 at 02:30 pm



As I was researching a story on aggressive credit card marketing tactics for a story I was writing at work, I came across mention of a James Scurlock film called Maxed Out. The independent documentary was filmed in 2007 as a result of a lawsuit the Ohio state attorney general brought against Citibank and a sandwich shop which got students on college campuses to sign up for credit cards by enticing them with free food. The suit was dropped against the sandwich chain in exchange for their cooperation in making the film.

I'll be watching the Netflix movie tonight.

Credit card marketing on college campuses was never something that was done when I attended school, but it apparently became a nearly universal practice not long after I graduated. Nearly every major university developed "affinity" relationships with credit issuers, a partnership in which the credit card companies paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to budget-strapped schools in exchange for exclusive rights to market to college students.

The schools provided credit issuers with students' contact information, disregarding students' privacy rights. I wonder what most parents would think of this. It's not something that comes up when you're getting the campus tour.

Coping With High Fuel Prices

June 7th, 2008 at 11:45 am



Rising oil prices have me thinking more and more about rising fuel prices and my 48-mile daily commute.

I've looked into our local Metro Pool, which matches up commuters who want to drive together, www.nuride.com, the trains and even buying a scooter. Working from home is not an option. Since my town lacks a train station, taking a train is a less attractive option for me, while a scooter would only be usable for half the year and also presents safety issues.

Then, in speaking to my neighbors, I discovered that the husband not only works in the same town I do but his office is located just three miles north of my office, on the same highway.

His hours are a little different than mine; he gets out 30 minutes later than I do. (When my summer hours end, his start time will also be 30 minutes earlier than mine.)

I spoke to his wife, who will speak to hubby and let me know if he's interested in car-pooling.

My proposal is that we share rides 4 days a week; he drives 2, i drive 2.

By car-pooling four days a week, we'd both eliminate two days of driving, or reduce our gas usage by 40% a week.