MATSON | Technology and industry changes blamed for painful breakup – Manhattan Mercury

Got a Dear John letter this week.

“Dear Cenex Consumer Cardholder –”

Cenex said: “The decision to stop producing the Cenex Consumer Card is due to technological, financial and industry changes.”

I read: “You came into my life and made it worth living. No doubt it will hurt knowing the past few years have gone to waste, but you and I now approach life from completely different perspectives.”

Seems like only yesterday when I first got my Cenex card, back when we would have done anything for each other. I remember it vividly, hooking up on the rebound after what I thought was my lifetime soulmate skipped town. Phillips 66 was steadfast and devoted, seemingly on every corner in Manhattan, there when I needed them.

Then one day you wake up and WHAM! Phillips 66 has packed up and left town, without so much as a note on the kitchen table.

Cenex had the temerity to include a sheet of Dear John Frequently Asked Questions, which parroted the same painful heartbreak conveyed in the letter, in q and a form, as if that could cushion the blow. It just compounds the anguish. We used to finish each other’s sentences, anticipate each other’s questions.

“Once accounts are closed, cards should be shredded and securely discarded.”

I love you, too. You want to forget about me altogether. Wash me away. Scrub any evidence that we were ever together.

Your letter references “financial and industry” changes, but please don’t sugar coat it. You’ve found somebody else. You want more from a credit card relationship than I can provide. There’s someone else out there who will support you in your growth while loving you exactly the way you are.

You try to let me down easy, pointing me in the direction of a Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s Mastercard, allowing me to double rewards points there when I fuel up at Cenex using the new card.

Like a camo hunting vest can take your place.

There were hints, I was just too blind to see them.

In hindsight, you seemed arms-length from the start. It’s far too early to objectively analyze this breakup, but the technology you mention in your letter may well have been the third wheel that got in the way, preventing unconditional, requited love. Even though it should have made things easier, more convenient, maybe we allowed it to become a barrier.

You wanted me to punch in a four-digit “driver ID” which required me to remember four specific digits. It’s almost as if the relationship began without trust. When I allowed myself to think about it, the feeling was there, in the deep recesses of my mind, with each and every fill up. I tried to compartmentalize it, but I should have seen it coming.

Cenex said: “An account or card can be closed at any time by the cardholder. The account will remain in an active status without the ability to make additional purchases until the account is paid in full.”

I read: “I know it hurts now, but it’s my abiding hope that you’ll be able to look back on our time together with fondness and warm feelings.”

You don’t love me anymore. You want to see other people. People with shiny new rewards programs and cutting-edge technology.

In the future, I know I’ll relive our time together a thousand times. So go ahead, Cenex. I’ll give you back your credit cards.

I wish they would have saved the postage and just texted me:

“It’s not you, it’s me.”

Mike Matson’s column appears every other weekend in The Mercury. Follow his blog at

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