MAN OF LETTERS – A Letter to American Express, Hong Kong

American Express are rewarding their customers for supporting small business by handing out Starbucks coupons! Such selfless instances of community outreach always move me to reach for my parchment and quill…

Dear Ms Yeow,imeter11.gif (145×144)

I am just in the process of reassembling my ever-unreliable Irony Meter after it exploded upon receipt of your recent communiqué regarding small business. (Ironically, the box said ‘Built Specifically to Withstand Corporate Cluelessness’). 

Nevertheless, I am pleased to accept a coupon that I shall lovingly squander at my grassroots, local, independent Starbucks branch, which I note is struggling by on a meagre revenue of US$10.71 billion. I hope my HK$3 upgrade will not dent their NASDAQ stock, lest their 149,000 employees be out of work.

Might I also clarify as to whether the coupon is valid at all 19,555 worldwide branches or just the 100+ Hong Kong locations? Does it include the Hollywood Rd outlet which recently replaced an independent restaurant, as well as the Central branch which is mocked up to resemble an old Mama-and-Poppa’s tea shop?

Finally, how literally should I take AMEX’s advice to support small business? As suggested, I’ve been frequenting some adorable sole-traders but they seem to demand some kind of archaic tangible form of currency! And retailers who accept cards do not take AMEX, complaining of ‘inflated merchant fees’ for the card. I even tried paying my elderly lychee hawker with the Starbucks coupon but she started chasing me with a large stick.

I look forward to your response and, please, be sure to forward any more tips, offers and bright ideas to me posthaste! As AMEX remains the harbinger of entrepreneurial wisdom, dreaded foe of gentrification and bastion of neighbourhood commerce, I hereby sit manically double-clicking ‘inbox’ awaiting your astute guidance!


(PS – It’s cool that you’re also donating HK$0.5 to a “Small Business Fund”, but imagine if AMEX subsidised some kind of ‘voucher promotion’ for a nominated local independent business and emailed thousands of cardholders?… Awww shit.)

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