About a month ago, jim over at Blueprint for Financial Prosperity (easily my 8th favorite website after Punny Money repeated seven times) suggested that his readers sign up for a free trial of Citi’s Credit Protector in order to take advantage of their $100 gas cashback gift certificate. And since I listen to everything jim tells me, I did just that.
Here’s how this crazy cashback gift certificate works:
- I drive around a lot.
- I buy lots of gasoline.
- I send Citi my gas receipts.
- Citi reimburses me for up to $100 in receipts.
Sounds awesome, right? Just two problems. First, the deadline for submitting receipts is December 31, 2006. Second, my MINI Cooper gets approximately 60 bazillion miles per gallon, so $100 of gas by December 31st would be tough to pull off. I could just pick up receipts off the ground at the gas station or steal them from my neighbors’ trash cans, but both of those would be morally and ethically wrong. And one of them would be legally wrong, too. (In Maryland, you’re not allowed to pick trash up off the ground. We’re pro-littering.)
Instead, I just decided to do what anybody in my position would do: reduce my fuel efficiency as much as possible. Here are some steps I’ve taken to ensure my vehicle gets a hearty, proud-to-be-an-American 11 miles per gallon until December 31st.
- I volunteer to drive the entire cheerleading squad home from practice. Not surprisingly, all 27 of them fit in my car without trouble.
- I set the heat in my car to HIGH, but only when I’m not in it.
- I reduced my tire pressure to zero.
- Rather than walk to the mailbox, I drive. Yes, the mailbox is on my front porch.
- Yellow stop lights mean give it more gas. Red means even more.
- Instead of parking at home in the evening, I set my car to Knight Rider Mode. It fights crime all night long.
I thought the hard part of all this would be cancelling the Citi Credit Protector coverage. Citi’s by-phone customer service reps are infamous for keeping you on the line as long as possible to “break” you from cancelling. Prompted by a reminder from jim, I called Citi this morning to cancel. Here’s how the call went.
Citi: Hi, thank you for calling Citi–
Me: Cancel my Credit Protector, please.
Citi: I’d be happy to help you discontinue your Credit Protector coverage. But first, would you mind telling me why you are choosing to discontinue your coverage today?
Me: Michael Jordan came to me in a dream and said I had to cancel it or his hopes for a return to the NBA would be shattered.
Citi: Ah, one second. Let me just check off reason code 12. All right, now if you decide to stay with us a little while longer, I can offer you a free $50 gift card to–
Me: No, thanks.
Citi: How about a $100 gift card to–
Citi: Okay, a $100 gift card and a $50 statement credit?
(Next five minutes omitted.)
Citi: Okay, okay, here’s my absolute final offer if you keep your Citi Credit Protector coverage. All you have to do is say yes and I will send you the following: a $100,000 gift card, a $5,000 statement credit, six tickets to the 2007 Super Bowl, a lifetime supply of Swiss cheese, two dozen assorted figs, the original cast of Saturday Night Live, all twelve days of Christmas, a mint 1965 Ford Mustang, a solution to the War in Iraq, and a case of dill pickles.
Me: Can you make that a case of Gherkin pickles instead?
Citi: Gherkin? Yes! Gherkin! Absolutely! So you’ll be staying with Citi Credit Protector then?
Me: Eh, mmm, sorry, I’m allergic to figs. Just cancel the service, please.
Citi: Gyaaaaaaah. (Explodes.)
Cancelling was much easier than I thought. The end.
Oh, the penguin thing? Yeah, that’s totally unrelated but still a funny story. A guy put a pool in his living room in order to get a penguin as a pet. (Here’s a mirror of the story in case that link is broken.)