Sound the rant alert. I've written here before about how much I don't like getting credit card offers in the mail, but I've learned to deal with it. Or, I thought I had. Then came the onslaught of offers from the Miami University Alumni Association for a card branded by Miami - "support us and save with our low introductory rate!" Groan. One of those mailings I could have dealt with...but I've gotten four identical offers in the last two months alone - and I didn't even attend Miami. So, that means that not only does Miami (and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the organization they're working with to make this offer) not observe the national "do not contact" lists I've subscribed to, but that unless they are *trying* to tick people off, their mailing list management also stinks. Apparently they have some data privacy issues to work through, too.
Don't get me wrong - I really like Miami University (located down the road in Oxford, Ohio), and they're just one player in a widespread practice. I have friends that graduated from MU, friends that work there, they've hired Summersault for various projects over the years, and they have a great frisbee golf course. So it's even more painful to see them tarnishing their good image by having their name and logo plastered all over what is essentially junk mail.
In September, I wrote a letter to Raymond Mock, the Executive Director of the Alumni Association, saying so:
I hope you can appreciate that in an age of incessant junk mail and credit card offers, it is especially disheartening to see seemingly repeated unsolicited mailings from an institution of which I am otherwise fond. I would suggest that, whatever the financial benefit that might be received through your partnership with Visa for this offer, sending multiple unsolicited copies of credit card offers simultaneously creates a negative image of the University’s opinion of its neighbors in surrounding communities.
So far, I haven't received a response, and now one month later, another offer arrived in today's mail. Sigh. I guess what I can't understand is why an institution of higher learning wants its name to be called to mind every time someone thinks about going into personal debt. Are the kickback fees really that great? Is the brand recognition worth it? What's next - a Miami University auto loan? An Earlham College IRA fund? An Indiana University Section 8 housing voucher? (I've no indication that Earlham and IU are headed that direction, just ranting here, remember?) It seems to be the equivalent of people selling ad space on their foreheads to make a quick buck.
Okay, fine, do what you have to do to get your name out there, you don't have to clog up my mailbox with it, especially when I've asked not to receive these offers. Maybe I'm the only one who cares. But I wouldn't be surprised if someone else takes notice and says "hmm, that institution isn't quite as admirable as I thought it was," an inevitable side-effect any time we sacrifice integrity for a few more dollars wherever we can get them.
Maybe I'm asking too much? What do you think?