My bad reputation

hookers at dawnFirst I had bad credit. It seems I wasn’t consuming in quite the right way.

Now I’ll have the opportunity to improve on that. Woots for me.

WTF is credit, anyway? I like to think of it like this:

Your neighbor sits on his porch and writes down every time he sees you do something. What a douchebag. He writes down when you pick up your newspaper, get the mail, mow the lawn, leave for work, get home from work, and anything else he might be able to see.

He’s not breaking any laws. He just sits on his porch and records information that you’ve chosen to share with the public. You know, by being alive and doing things and shit.

Additionally, he’s doing this for every house on the street within his field of view. He can’t see everywhere, though, so he hires people to do it on every street in your town.

He does this every day, 24/7, 365 days a year.

All of this data he has collected gets fed into a massive computer and creates something he calls your “file.” If you pay him a fee, he’ll allow you to look at it. If anyone else pays him a fee, he’ll allow them to look at it, too. He’s not discriminating as long as you bring the green stuff.

And that’s pretty much credit. A sleazy, greedy neighbor recording information that is, by necessity, considered to be “public” but is really none of their bloody business.

But that’s old skool. Old and busted, Experian! (One of the “Big 3” credit bureaus and the wonderful folks who bring you shitty mortgage ads on the internet and sneaky “free” credit report commercials on TV.)

What could be newer than credit?

Consider the world that eBay brought us. (Now a little old and busted themselves.) The feedback world.

If you were buying and selling on eBay, how in the world could you know who to trust? After all, these were strangers, not stores.

Those little feedbacks (positive and negative) became a reputation system that enabled people to determine if they could trust each other – or not.

Reputation and identity on the internet is about to become a very big deal. I’m guessing your online persona along with your avatar and publicly-identifiable information (harvested by the likes of Google, Facebook, and their ilk) will form your new “file,” a reputation “credit” score for the future.

Want to participate in the next big thing, like co-ops that share cars to produce organic crops used to produce gluten-free beer? You’ll need to bring your online reputation if you want to play well with others.

Imagine. Your every status update, blog post, and tweet will be recorded and live on. The record you create today will be online and last longer than it would take for Yucca Mountain to be a vacation spot. And the way you perform on every social media, barter, buy, sell, trade transaction will become a part of your permanent reputation file.

Remember the joke about trying to buy a pizza but the debit card knew your cholesterol score? That’s going to seem like small potatoes.

Gee, I wonder. Should I give a flying shit about my online reputation or not?

Anyone have examples of this reputation thing coming down the pike? Share it in the comment section below…

13 responses

  1. The online marketing jerks are working on a reputation equivalent to personal injury attorneys and child molesters.


    1. Nice comment. You said a mouthful in just a few short words. Well done!


  2. My credit “mojo” must be okay…I keep getting applications to up my credit line or change to a higher limit credit card. These offers must be legit, right? I mean…these companies are all fine, upstanding banks and credit agencies. Nothing nefarious going on here…

    The one time I really got pissed was when I was buying my first car…a cherry red Mustang hatchback. Used. I had a new job as an account executive and needed wheels to visit clients. I worked with the guy at the dealership, getting some scratches fixed, etc. He was great. Until the day came for me to actually pick up the car. I had to take out a small loan (a few thousand), I got approved for the financing and I proudly walked in to sign the final papers and pick up my keys. Ah…no. Turns out I needed someone to co-sigh the loan. I was spitting. At no point in the discussions did the dealer say anything about a co-signer.

    I was working full-time with a decent salary, had a house (paid for), was married and raising a child. And, I had perfect credit.

    Why did I need someone to co-sign a loan that I’d be paying back…me…not my husband. The dealer basically said it was because I was a woman. I almost didn’t buy the car but I needed one pretty much right then for work. To this day I regret not pulling out of the deal. Every time I drove that Mustang the experience was a little tainted…the bastards.


    1. I’m sure your mojo is stellar, but I really don’t think that has anything to do with getting offers. My score is a negative number and I get like 20 offers a day.

      It works a little like this: Any company that makes me an offer is a company I know I can’t trust.

      I loved your story and I feel your pain. Been there, done that. It’s funny how many of my financing experiences were remarkably similar. It’s almost like that industry is especially fucked up or something.

      One good story deserves another, so here’s a few quickies:

      I got a signature loan. It might have been 20 years ago and I no longer remember the name of the company. They included a “membership” to some bullshit thing in my loan that I paid for every month. Yet I didn’t know about it, never was told how to use it, and never received any benefits or services from that membership. I only learned about the bloody thing when I discovered I was part of a class action lawsuit against the fuckers. I won that lawsuit! 🙂 This is eerily similar to what happened to my wife last time (and the ONLY time) we ever bought a plane ticket from that little travel gnome fucker. They latched onto our credit card and developed a case of lockjaw. Oh Lord was it hard getting them to let go. What’s in our wallet? An evil and greedy gnome!

      You can’t really fault the finance companies in these next two stories…

      I bought a motorcycle. Everything went great. Until we signed papers. The dude at the dealership told me it was just a “formality” and that I had to check and initial a box that authorized insurance on my note. It was required or the deal wouldn’t go through. Even though the box clearly stated that the insurance was optional. I quibbled and it was the only thing holding up the deal, but they were adamant. I was young and stupid so I checked that box. As the dude handed me my helmet and I prepared to ride away, he said he hoped I was happy with everything. I said, “Everything except that insurance box. I think I’ll have my lawyer take a look at your contract.” Ha! Like I had a lawyer! Funny thing, though, by the time I got home there was a message from the dealership fucker saying he had “good news.” It turned out the box wasn’t required after all. I dropped by the following day to sign off on a revised contract without the fucking insurance.

      Lastly, like you, there was also a time when I was buying my first new car. I was established with my credit union and pre-approved for a new car loan. All I had to do was pick one out. I wanted a Honda Civic with a hatchback. I told the dealership dude I already had a new car loan from my credit union. He then talked me into a deal for a car that was a floor model. It already had plates. I was young and didn’t know the difference. Apparently, neither did he. I drove off the lot with my first new car. I was excited. My friend and I drove to the big city and spent the weekend going everywhere. We put 1,000 miles on that car. Come Monday morning, though, there was a snag. It seemed the credit union put the kibosh on the deal. The problem? The car wasn’t officially “new.” As far as they were concerned it was “used.” They wouldn’t finance the car. So I had to take it back. Wow, was the dude at the dealership mad as hell. Spitting mad. I just shrugged and thought, “You should have known what you were doing, fucker. You do this for a living. Not me.” I flipped him the bird, went across the street to Volkswagen, explained the situation, and drove away in a brand new Golf. I made sure to swing by the Honda dealership and wave at him to let him know how he had fucked up.

      Good times!


      1. Love it! Especially the Honda “drive by.” Funny but our replies seem to be in direct proportion to our short stories. Words must out I guess.


  3. Any company that makes me an offer is a company I know I can’t trust.

    Right! Well, I used to (dunno) have “excellent credit” but I think I’ve only paid on cars (student loans didn’t count, such a pity as I did FUCKING FANTASTIC, making double payments and paying off in 6 years FUCKERS). Sorry.

    I don’t buy stuff on credit ::touch wood:: cos I was raised to ya know, not do that? Let me rephrase that: I wasn’t given an allowance, although I worked like a dog. When I moved out at age 15, I had no cosigners and nobody to back me in other ways. If I didn’t have cash, I didn’t get anything (except those fing school loans–which for all my anger only had to cover 1/3 of my tuition as academic scholarships covered the rest–which btw I EARNED, too).

    Anyway, I don’t have shite but I don’t have debt. It’s a lose-lose. Wait. Win-win. Something.


  4. I wrote this last night while (overly) exploring Hornitos tequila. Probably doesn’t make much sense and I left a few key points out. Oh well.

    “Any company that makes me an offer is a company I know I can’t trust.”

    Well said!


  5. I SO don’t understand this stuff. I keep telling myself that it’s okay because I’m still in college and real life hasn’t started yet, but I know I’m just kidding myself…


    1. I often think about tribal life. We have a myriad of things to worry about that they didn’t. The plethora of pressures of modern existence. Can you imaging trying to explain a concept like a credit score to a tribal warrior, elder or medicine man? They’d think you were nuts.


  6. I had to buy a deluxe shredders just to keep up with destroying the credit card offers. I’d tear them up, but I’ve seen people going through my smelly trash! And what’s with all of these offers anyway? I thought that credit had dried up?

    I lived without a credit card until I was in my thirties, and I won’t tell you how long ago that was, but it’s been a few years. I spent a lot less, and I had a lot less junk when I had to pay cash or write a check. I finally applied for a credit card when I needed to order a plane ticket. Madtante has got it right when she says “Anyway, I don’t have shite but I don’t have debt. It’s a lose-lose. Wait. Win-win. Something.” I still don’t charge any more than I can pay off at the end of the month, which means I didn’t own much furniture or much of anything for years. I was raised to be very frugal, and even when there is more money than back in the lean days, the frugality gene has a strong pull.


    1. When I get a credit card offer in the mail, I think to myself, “Hey, assholes! I know my credit score. You guys are friggin’ morons.”

      I know that anyone willing to extend me credit is going to charge something like 47 percent interest compounded hourly.

      Not too long ago I had perfect credit and zero balances carried over. I always paid them off. The credit card companies have a word for people who carry balances, and that word is “sucker.”

      They count on human weakness to eventually kick in. For me, it did. I made a decision to finance a new computer. Then, in quick succession, a bunch of life shit hit me hard, including a 20-minute trip to an emergency room that cost me $1,200. That went on the card. In the blink of an eye I was totally fucked.

      I’ve lived without credit ever since and that’s the way I like it.


  7. So I joinded a credit union and did a big consolidation loan in an effort to pull back from the gaping black hole of misused credit in my youth afforded me! I though I was being sooooo responsible! Turns out they don’t report to the credit burrowing whores…what does this mean? That even though I have not missed a payment and have even over paid in the last 3 years it has not worked to improve my score AT all….of course I didn’t learn this until last week when I started to go look at buying a new car to replace my older car!

    You can’t win! Period!


    1. That sucks! I do agree with you, though, that the game is completely rigged.

      Maybe you can get the auto loan from the credit union? Or perhaps they can produce a report of your payment history to show other lenders?

      Good luck!


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