Today we talk about credit cards. I watched part of the Victoria's Secret fashion show last night, and caught a commercial for Visa's black card . While it sounds impressive, being made of carbon graphite (because you totally need something that makes your wallet weigh twice as much as it does now), my personal experience of black card users has been somewhat negative. I do not move in celebrity circles, so I have not had the opportunity to see how the glitterati behave when deploying it, but the guy who used it at Michael's Arts and Crafts after cutting in front of me in line was not cool or impressive (in the way he so clearly wanted to be as he oh-so-casually waved it around before sliding it through the card machine), he was a douche. In fact, flashing your black card anywhere makes you a douche, because only douches feel the need to show off that they have money to burn on a credit card that costs $495 a year (I do not know about the spending requirements, but I don't think they're as high as the Amex Centurion Card, with a requirement that you spend a quarter million a year just to qualify). Honestly, if these people were as cool as they think their black cards make them, they'd have no need of credit cards - other people would pick up the tab for them. When one is really rich, one does not carry anything ; one has people to take care of that sort of thing. The fundamental problem with all these show-off methods of payment is that Americans do not have an aristocratic class to show them how to live elegantly. Due to several generations of proletariats getting angsty about the role of aristocrats in their life (oppression, oppression, taxing, taking advantage of the proles for cheap labour, oppression, etc.), we no longer have a ruling class that knows how to Do It Right [TM ] , and as a result, certain Americans suffer from a lack of finesse when it comes to the employment of cash (and the graphite substitutes they crave). They fail to reach the dizzying heights of coolness, but slide into douchedom. I think we can all agree that money alone does not make one cool . If you want to be cool, save the black card for when you're buying drinks for the whole restaurant (and that restaurant had better not be an Olive Garden). Use it when you're chartering a private jet. Slip it discreetly to the maitre'd when you're renting the entire garden rooftop floor of the hotel for a very private dinner. But don't use it for everyday purchases; it just looks douchey. Sadly, lacking the proper role models, many Black Card users think that the simple possession of the ready cash to afford such a superfluous method of payment is enough to make them cool, and they make the rookie mistake of using the card everywhere. Honestly, if you have a black card and insist on using it with a huge fanfare of fake casualness every single time you buy something, save yourself the effort, and just super-glue it to your forehead, because we all know that's why you really got it. You want to impress people. You want people to know you've arrived . You have bought into the sales pitch hook line and sinker . A credit card is a credit card. They all have "rewards", but those rewards are frequently contingent on you giving that credit card more money than most of those rewards would have cost you in cash. (Mind you, Amex sent us a free i-Pod Shuffle last Christmas. If you're going to spend the money anyway, you may as well use the convenient card.) But if you have the card for looks, and not for convenience, then give it up. A douche with a black card is still a douche, and you can't buy your way out of that. And if you think the black card gives you carte blanche ( ha ha, irony ) to cut in line ahead of me because you are too precious and important to wait two minutes for your cheap craft paint, then surely you are important enough to send someone out to do your shopping for you. Send someone with some damn manners.