Life in the 75K lane

You’ve heard of, and might even remember, those bank toaster offers. “Open a free checking account, and get a free toaster.” I have no idea why toasters were such iconic prizes, but they were, for many years. You’ll even see one now and again, but typically there’s a retro feel to them, even retro copy in the ad: “Look at us! We’re taking you back to the good old days!” You’d have thought that by now everyone who wanted one had a toaster or two around the house, but must be not.

Free toaster

Then there was this. I have no idea whether it was genuine, or a put on, but I found it amusing. The Armalite people offered — according to this post on thetruthaboutguns — a free toaster with every rifle.

Rapid-fire toaster

A few years ago, when the banking mess was in the headlines and into our pocketbooks and — eventually — into our grandchildren’s tax rates, Rex Babin used the old bank come-on in a cartoon which was sharper and more prophetic than most of us knew. Those who did know — most of whom were and still are zillionaires — did not acknowledge, and to this day deny.

Free bank

So, about the title of this mini-ramble. I noticed in today’s NYT an ad from Charles Schwab. He’s not exactly a bank, but then, who knows what the hell a “bank” is any more? The whole system has been corrupted to allow those who already have a shitpile of money to keep on collecting, while the rest of us, in our simply way, keep on donating. But I digress. Here’s the Schwab ad. See how technology and inflation have progressed.

Free smartphone

You may have noticed that for the free toaster, Bank of the West asks you to sign up for a debit card with your checking account. No minimum balance. For that free smart phone, Schwab requires “a qualifying deposit of $75,000.” A serious piece of change for some of us, but with our new smart phones, we’ll really be able to talk to Chuck.


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