Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Friday 27/02/2004I'm bashing away on the keyboard at home when the phone rings. It is a cheerful Northerner, who is keen to sell me on a fantastic offer my bank is doing on credit cards.

Friday 27/02/2004
I'm bashing away on the keyboard at home when the phone rings. It is a cheerful Northerner, who is keen to sell me on a fantastic offer my bank is doing on credit cards. It sounds like a good deal -- six months' interest free transfer of my existing balances, decent rate thereafter, of the sort I know a few friends have been taking up. It's cheaper than getting a normal loan. Ah, how much we all owe! What will become of us? But that's a problem for later.

So, unusually for a cold call, I'm receptive to the man. We go through the usual preambles and I'm mentally ticking off my normal reservations, when he says something that rings a warning bell.

"You understand that this will be a contract between yourself, the bank and MBNA..."

"Ah, hold on," I say. "MBNA?"

"Yes, the bank is the branding but MBNA runs the card... they're a big independent credit card company."

"Yes, I know. Sorry, I'm not interested."

"Eh?" says my friendly telesales bod.

As luck would have it, I'd been rummaging through some US political activist blogs last night and come across a campaign to boycott those companies who contribute most to the Republican election funds. High on the list was MBNA: people who were perhaps not keen on Bush's re-election were being encouraged to cut up their cards and write a stiff note to the company. I didn't have a card, but here was an even more convenient way to register my dislike of the chap. I rattled off a Google search.

"MBNA," I said. "Four million dollars to Bush last election, and probably more this time. I don't support the man and I don't want to help him. So, sorry. Not interested."

Ooops. We've gone off-script.

"I've never heard that one before! So you'll not be rooting for him in November?"

"No, I really don't approve of anything he does. There's an Internet campaign underway to stop people using MBNA, so you might hear it a few more times now."

"I completely understand. I feel just the same way myself. Sorry for bothering you!"

And with that, our brief conversation ended. Last week in San Fransisco, I had to disappoint a couple of register-to-vote campaigners by saying I very much doubted the American state wanted my opinion on such matters.  But now I hope there's a call report percolating upwards that will do some good in some way.

And who else is on the list of big Bush boosters www.boycottbush.net/consumers.htm - above even MBNA? Why, it appears to be Microsoft! Five million dollars, you say?

Thanks, but I'd rather pass.