Monday, March 7, 2011

American Express-ions

It's been 5 months since Margaret died. In December I went to Washington, DC, taking along hundreds of cards and letters and countless acknowledgements of contributions made in Margaret's memory. Accepted etiquette says thank you notes for sympathy gifts, letters of condolence, or favors can be written by any family member not just the recipient. I insisted I was going to handwrite a personal note to every sender. I left the notes and addresses (some completed) in a DC hotel. Weeks later I got them back from the Marriott's lost and found. I wrote Marriott a Thank You.

Further complicating matters, I was unable to begin 2011 on January 1st due to what I can only describe as a leisurely shipping policy in place at American Express.

The following letter to Kenneth Chenault, CEO, Chairman and President of American Express explains my extreme delinquency:

Dear Mr. Chenault:

I ordered American Express Appointments Calendar on November 4, 2010 and have yet to receive them. Yesterday for the second time I called American Express Publishing and spoke to a very nice representative who informed me that the 3 to 6 weeks for delivery promised when I placed my order was actually the time it would take to process my order. And although I had been told a month ago that it would go into the mail "in a few days," it actually was mailed February 10 and "would take 3 to 6 weeks from that date until it would be delivered."

I asked "why so long ... is it being sent by Pony Express?" He said it was being sent by Ground Shipping, Bulk Rate. I asked if he has had many calls from unhappy American Express card holders who have the same complaint I have. He said "MANY!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I said I was glad I was not alone and that I would write to Mr.Chenault in my behalf and for all the other people who have not yet been able to start 2011.

I am sure, Mr. Chenault, if you ordered an appointment calendar November 4 and were told on February 16 that it would be there by the end of March, you would cancel your order and cancel your half-century relationship with the company you ordered from.

I can get the items below for $8.80 including Shipping and Handling in 2-3 business days from Costco which has a close relationship with American Express. I am sure that Jim Sinegal or Jeff Brotman would be appalled if I got the same service from Costco and would have had the merchandise delivered the next day after my first call. Thank you in advance for your early response.

My appointment calendars did arrived February 24. Adding injury to insult, an enclosed letter from the Vice President for the Publishing Group said: "You are among select Cardmembers to enjoy the privilege of acquiring these books."

On the 24th of February I celebrated New Year's Eve and began 2011 on the 25th, 56 days late. I expected to earn $150,000 this year - so I'm already $23,013.98 under water.

On Tuesday, March 1, when I officially began 2011, I wrote this FLOG and also the following letter to Mr. Chenault:

Enclosed please find pages 18 through 49 of my 2011 American Express Appointment Book and the pages for January and February, 2011 from my 2011 Pocket Diary, which I was unable to use because American Express took 92 days to get them to me. My calculator says if you weren't able to start 2011 for 59 days you'd lose $808,219.75.

Please credit my American Express Gold Card account .0180952 for my lost 59 days. I have to go now. I only have 273 days left this year.

It should be noted that on February 27, I stopped at Staples and found a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 2011 two day calendar with seven holes that fits my leather binder. It's not a Day-Timer. It's a Day Runner. Close enough. $38. Good enough. I bought it.

On March 1, I began my year. First task for 2011 will be to thank our wonderful friends for the beautiful letters, cards and tributes that have arrived since October 9, 2010.

March 3, I received a very nice call from Mr. Chenault's assistant, Kathy. American Express is crediting my account $25.

I think I’ll eBay the books American Express finally sent.


  1. I sense a certain amount of frustration...excellent letter to Mr. Chenault!

  2. Just don't know how they can credit you for lost days.... Your days are priceless!!