Friday, July 10, 2009

Hello Kitty, Goodbye Dignity

I'll admit it. I'm a big sucker for 'Hello, Kitty', that really twee little white cat that, usually, comes with a pink background (though I've seen it in a very lovely baby blue, as well). You can see her everywhere, from purses to checkbooks (oooh, got one!), necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings (check, check, check and check...), clothing (t-shirt and pajamas) and many other things. It's a product of the Sanrio Corp. and, as you can see, I've bolstered that company's bottom line on more than one occasion.Without fail (or at least among those I know) men are appalled by even the idea of Hello, Kitty. In my husband's case, I think it's the color pink that normally comes with that he finds most worthy of eye-rolling commentary. (What is it with men and pink, anyway? Colors have no either macho or feminine attributes unless we ascribe those attributes to them. Go figure...).
A few weeks ago I went into our bank to make a cash deposit. It was a rare occasion when I don't use an ATM to get things done faster. Anyway, I pulled out my checkbook to confirm my checking account number with the teller. Noticing my Hello, Kitty checkbook cover, she said: "Hey, you know you can get a Hello, Kitty ATM card from us?" I was immediately intrigued but curbed my enthusiasm until I made doubly sure getting the card wasn't going to cost me anything. Good. It wasn't. So I proceeded to order my Hello, Kitty bank card with well disguised glee. Fully aware of my husband's distaste for the simply drawn little creature, I made a point to ask that if I got this card, would he get one also (to replace his existing one)? I was told 'No', not unless he asks for it.
With the proverbial coast clear (at least for my husband), I completed the request. About a week later, I got my new bank card in the post. Just in time for Christmas! My husband, of course, rolled his eyes and made some comment about 'Well, as long as I don't have to use it' and all was well. Until two weeks later. When an envelope arrived from our bank, addressed to my husband, that quite obviously had a plastic card inside. I immediately presumed it was another offer for another credit card, but didn't immediately toss it, cut up, into the trash. Imagine our surprise when he opened the envelope and found his brand-spankin' new Hello, Kitty ATM card!

After reassuring him, several times and, very vehemently in fact, that I had nothing to do with this and, in fact, had made sure I could replace my card with no change to his, he made a few more (amusingly) disparaging comments and immediately took off for the bank before it closed (it was a Saturday). Roughly forty-five minutes later he returned, a defeated and bemused man. The bank had told him that if I'd requested a new card, his would automatically follow (why it took two additional weeks AND why this happened after I was told it wouldn't is anybody's guess). According to his retelling of the incident, he told them, quite pointedly, that he didn't want a Hello, Kitty card and how could they expect HIM to use such a thing in public?Sadly for him, first of all there was nothing he could do about it. He was stuck with the card for better or worse; and secondly, all of the three people working in the bank that morning were women. Apparently, they all thought the whole thing very, very amusing.
Me? Well, I tried to express my sympathies with a straight face, reassured him that one very seldom has to actually hand a cashier a debit card these days (usually either tapping or swiping it does the trick), then made my excuses and went upstairs. To check I said. Actually, I was ROTFLMAO. If he realized I was doing this he didn't (or wouldn't) let on.
Mind you, the card is a simple one, with a white background and the sweet li'l face of Hello, Kitty. The only pink on it is a pale pink stripe on one side and the color of Hello, Kitty's bow (or flower, I don't remember offhand). So...what's the big deal, eh? :) For the record, even I usually eschew such saccharine, trendy marketing ploys, but Hello, Kitty is my simple guilty pleasure. She is the doppleganger to my obsession with Happy Bunny (or...vice versa). BTW, I also have a Hello, Kitty mouse pad, wallet, necklace, ring...(deep intake of breath)... Long may she purr!

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