Q is for Quid Pro Quo

Q words are hard to come by.  The Q column on my spreadsheet was bare.


Ach and I recently went visiting and stopped by my insurance agent’s office.  Ach LOVES visiting his office – everyone adores him and he loves being adored.

While Ach was being adored, my agent and I were chatting about my conference in Scottsdale and my hot button topic of MCA’s and FinTech (Postcards).  I told him that anyone can get caught up in the “easy” solution.  Even factoring, which I believe and market as a simple solution to a cash flow challenge, is not necessarily easy.  There are a lot of moving parts and the client and the factor have to be on the same page in order for it to work.

I made an admission in that conversation – my quid pro quo…

I fly Southwest, almost exclusively.  I have been a rapid rewards customer for almost 15 years.  The only credit card I use is a rapid rewards Visa.  At least once a year, I use my points to fly free.

As I was heading to baggage claim at the Phoenix airport, I passed a kiosk where they were hawking the rapid rewards Visa.  I smiled, waved and said “Already have one”.  As I passed, the kid said “You can upgrade to a black card and get 50,000 points”.

You know what I did?  I stopped.  I upgraded my card.  I started planning where I would fly with my 50,000.00 points.

I got home and my new card was waiting.  I rip open the envelope, all the while thinking about my 50,000.00 free points.

Then I read the fine print…

  • I only receive the 50,000.00 points if I spend a certain amount in the next 90 days,
  • The interest rate is 5 points higher than my current card,
  • It is not an upgraded account. It is a NEW account,
  • There is an annual fee .

Ultimately these things don’t impact me (the annual fee is annoying).  The amount I have to spend is in line with what I charge monthly.  I pay my account in full each month so I never pay interest.  Any blip in my credit score because of an inquiry or new account is minimal.

That doesn’t change the fact that I got caught.  I got caught in the trap of thinking I could get something for nothing.  I got caught because I allowed myself to look only at the reward instead of the risk.  I got caught thinking easy had no downside.

I know better.  I know better and still got caught when the only thing I was stressed about in that moment was whether my luggage had made it to Phoenix and which side of the terminal my friends were waiting at.  I wasn’t worried about making payroll or keeping the lights on.  If I had slowed down and focused, would I have stopped?  Maybe.  Probably.  I would, however, have been informed.  I would not have felt blindsided when I opened the envelope.

So many business owners are blindsided when they open the envelope because they can’t or won’t look to experts for help and are moving so fast solving today’s problem that they don’t think about what they might find when the envelope arrives.

The lesson:

Freebies don’t exist.  Not in business.  Not in life.


Questions give clarity to choices. Always ask.


The envelope ALWAYS shows up.  It is up to us to know what will be inside before it arrives.