When I heard that the Visa Chase Freedom Credit Card came with a concierge service that would do anything I wanted, I had to put them to the test. Don’t we all want to make our credit card company work for us for a change?
TEST #2: CROSSWORD PUZZLE
“I’m really stuck on 62 across,” I complained to Maurice, the concierge who helped me the following night. I came to learn that I would get a different concierge every time I called, but they were all quite helpful, with none of the attitude that you normally get from customer service reps.
“What crossword puzzle are you doing, sir?”
“It’s the USA Today puzzle,” I said. “The clue is BLUE GROTTO LOCALE. I have no idea what that means.”
“Blue Grotto locale,” he repeated, writing it down.
“The only Grotto I have ever heard of is at the Playboy Mansion,” I told him. “But this is 11 letters, and starts with I.”
“Okay,” he said. “You want to hang on?”
“Sure,” I said. He put me on hold for about two minutes—the same amount of time it usually takes me to get through to someone at Visa—and came back with the answer.
“You ready?” he said.
“What, you already got it?”
“The answer is ISLE OF CAPRI,” he said. “11 letters, starts with I.”
“That’s incredible!” I exclaimed. “Are you like an idiot savant of puzzles?”
“You just happened to get someone who likes crosswords,” he said, modestly.
“I will call you every time I need a clue in the future!”
“Uh … okay!” he said, as brightly as he could.
How many times have you been at a restaurant, arguing with your friends about which President was the fattest, or whether Kevin Bacon has ever done a nude scene? Now you don’t need to pull out your smartphone and Google it, you can just call Visa and have them look it up for you.
Having a Visa worker do your bidding: much classier than an iPhone.
TEST #3: DAILY AFFIRMATIONS
“I suffer from low self-esteem,” I told Jamie, my new concierge. “My psychologist recommended that I give myself a daily affirmation. You know, something like, ‘I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.’”
“Okay,” said Jamie, not sure where this was heading.
“But that’s a lot of work, so I’m hoping you guys can do it for me. Just call and give me a daily affirmation.”
“You want us to call and tell you you’re a good person?”
“That’s right. I mean, if you think so. I’m not so sure myself.”
“If you can hold for one moment, I can check on this for you,” Jamie said.
I bit my lip to keep from cracking up as she went to check with a supervisor. She came back with bad news. “I’m afraid we can’t do this for you,” she said, “but we can look up services that would do this for you.”
“What?” I asked. “Why? Am I not good enough? Oh, I knew it.”
“I’m sorry, we’re just not allowed to do anything of a medical or emotional nature.”
“You can’t tell me I’m good enough because I’m not,” I moaned. “Which is exactly what I thought!”
“Sir,” she said patiently, “I’d be happy to look up other services that can send you these affirmations, and e-mail you that information.”
“Could you at least attach a little positive note to the e-mail?” I begged. “Just like, ‘Thanks for being you?’”
“Let me check with a supervisor,” she said, a little less patiently this time.
I pushed hard on the affirmation, and she asked a supervisor three times before I relented. Apparently Visa Signature couldn’t do quite anything, but I have to admit she did eventually come through on her promise, sending me this via e-mail:
Visa Signature Concierge
Dear John Hargrave,
Thank you for using Visa Signature® Concierge. The information you
requested is provided below.
Motivational Message Service
Please Note: Please find below one option for a company that
is able to provide phone, texts, and emails reminding you of “what a good
person you are.”
Company: MedVoice Inc.
Cost: $89.25 per month for
I decided to let Visa have this round, since they did technically satisfy my request, which was to find someone who could send me love notes. But now it was time for a real challenge.
- The Credit Card Concierge Experiment: Part 3
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