It’s me, the smiling redhead whose career dreams allegedly came true thanks to the Platinum Business Rewards Card. You’ve seen footage of me hawking wares in a bright, colorful storefront that says “Cassie’s Cross Stitch.” You’re dubious about how I make ends meet producing cross-stitch art, the least utilitarian item on Earth. Surely the cash-back benefits of my Business Rewards Card aren’t enough to make me solvent, let alone prosperous. How big can the market for cross-stitch art be? This commercial is peddling a saccharine fantasy of the small business lifestyle.
I want to set the story straight. Yes, “Cassie’s Cross Stitch” pays the bills, but that’s because I use it to launder money.
Look how much fun I’m having, unspooling colorful thread that nobody asked for. My expression seems fake and overwrought. But you see, my emotions make total sense once you understand that I’m making a LOT of money under the table.
To be sure, a cross stitch enterprise was a risky choice of front for me; my cross stitch skills aren’t even that good. I’m okay at making cactuses and flowers, but when I try to stitch an animal, it always comes out looking like a cat. You want a koala design? Sorry, you’ll have to settle for a gray cat. Bear? Cat. Bird? Cat with wings. But that’s okay. At the end of the day, my stitching skills don’t fucking matter. Last week, I sold two pieces of cross-stitch art, and my business netted $30,000. You do the math.
Sure, the credit card commercial explains how the points I earn with the Business Rewards Card can be redeemed for miles. But the crucial added context here is that I give those miles to a guy who picks up a briefcase from my store every Monday at 4 AM, then works his magic—I don’t ask—and whisks it off to Switzerland. We have a good thing going.
Now that you know the truth, rewind the tape; watch the commercial again. You see the man who strolls by my craft booth and feigns interest in a piece of cross-stitch art that says “The future is female?” At first glance, he seems like a hammy background actor but in actuality, that’s my most loyal customer, Tank. Tank was around before I even signed up for a Business Rewards Card, back when it was just me and my street game, before I leveled up and learned how to hide behind an LLC. There are things I know about Tank that I’m taking to the grave.
You know that other scene in the commercial where you see me dropping off packages at the post office? The scene that frustrates you because it feels like the credit card company is trying to make my life look like a beautiful French movie. You’re sitting there going, “Why is she so excited! I don’t care if she earns triple points with every purchase, her margins must be ass!” Sure, the uninitiated viewer might think my packages contain online orders. In truth, I don’t even have a website. You want to know the real reason I look so stoked? I’m secondhand high in that footage because those boxes contain the purest cocaine you’ve ever seen in your life. Yeah, the commercial is selling a fantasy, all right. My life is amazing.
I’m not the first person in a banking commercial whose small business was more than meets the eye. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Remember the one with the burly man sliding croissants out of a bakery oven? He’s in the mob. Or the lady with the plant shop? She’s an internationally feared arms dealer. How about the guy who 3D prints action figures? Okay, he actually just makes an honest fortune doing that, which is arguably the most fucked up out of all of them. Society is broken.
Even though my secret’s out, I’m not worried about it. My name isn’t actually Cassie. Obviously I use an alias, I’m not an idiot. And I can disappear at any moment, even if it means cutting up my Platinum Business Rewards Card with 0% APR.