Travis Laurence Naught

Vagrancy Denied: Join the Club! Win Grand Prizes! Debt Forever? YES!

Travis Laurence Naught calls out the advantages and exclusivity of credit cards and club cards for what they’re really worth … another means to put you further into debt, financially and spiritually.


Email inboxes are tired of shuffling useless bytes of information to the uncaring masses. Before them? Mailboxes. Before them? Horse and buggies, roving servants, smoke from the local signaling tent, chiseled rock flakes …

Discount Brontosaurus Steaks When You Buy 3 or More!

… and thus the first “club” savings were born. (Historical accuracies be damned.)

Societal evolution has come a long way in the last 3,000 years (wink). Now, all a person has to do to be one of the elite is sign their life away to debt. Every credit card from here to kingdom come offers something worth the soul-crushing reality of never being able to breathe without getting charged for it. Pennies in return on dollars spent, for instance. A bigger rewards check than the neighbors at the end of the year means you’re winning!

Let’s not forget the various tiers involved in these club-doms (club-dumbs?). A couple of very exclusive locations share the use of this system. Members are encouraged to spend more so they can make more in return. And, by God, people do! Costco and Starbucks are a couple of the most successful businesses in the Northwest.

These are not the Hells Angels, or even the Boy Scouts. No initiation rites to be undertaken. Quit at any time, no peril, guaranteed! All anyone needs is a dollar and a dream … and an address, and maybe a telephone number, and an email couldn’t hurt.

This is where gentrification starts. One hell of a leap, but the reasoning is sound. “You’ve proven yourself worthy enough to exist. Congratulations! We can help you maintain your existence. At a price.” And like the good little mermaids we all are, we sign right up.

Heaven forbid we peons, victims of Corporate America, try to include anyone not so lucky. Ask the three-time arrested (as of 2014) Arnold Abbott what it means to spread the wealth. Officers, diligently protecting the laws set forth by their superiors, picked up the Fort Lauderdale man for feeding the homeless. Everyone knows the poor aren’t allowed in the club. Thank goodness this heinous villain was apprehended!


Arnold Abbott: Public Menace


Maybe that police action served as inspiration to the McDonald’s employee in Detroit who threw a cup of water on a homeless man in a November 2015 incident. The company was rumored to have a “new policy” in May 2015 about not allowing their customers to feed homeless individuals, so maybe the employee was just confused. Now, he’s been justly fired. Of all the reasons to not wander through the arches, here is something worthwhile: everyone has a right to the same food.

National grocery stores also agree that everyone has a right to food. These places are a little trickier, though. Walk into your local Safeway with $5 on a Friday and you’re likely to walk out of there with an entire meal … if you belong to their club.

Ridiculous! Someone without understanding (and in a college town with hundreds of undergraduate exchange students there are plenty who might not understand) could spend thousands of unnecessary dollars before being alerted that they are being had.

And what good does this do the company, anyway? Receipts are often doubled in length to show savings a person racked up. There is a secret bunker somewhere with algorithmic equations tracking the purchases of every customer with a club card, and further savings are passed along to them for being so loyal. Gas prices are lowered for people who spend enough money at Safeway! Sounds like ownership is living a codependent relationship with millions of shoppers nationwide.

Now don’t get all defensive, there’s nothing inherently wrong with taking advantage of all this shit. 10¢ off per gallon of gas for every hundred dollars spent at the grocery store might be all that is required to take someone the extra mile. Every 12 “stars” means a person gets to enjoy a “free” beverage or food item at the local version of the coffee shop conglomerate everyone loves to hate. Hell, there is a ginormous amount of privilege that comes along with even being able to be a part of this online community.

But, it’s also important to be conscious of the fact that more people ought to be more comfortable than they are. With all of the waste people like griping about, it’s surely feasible to spread around some of the wealth.


Travis Laurence Naught

Travis Laurence Naught is an author who happens to be a quadriplegic wheelchair user. Individual poems, stories, and various other material by Travis have been published online (Section 8 Magazine, Empty Sink Publishing, Damfino Press, and others) and in print (Gold Man Review, Lost Coast Review, Empirical Magazine, and more). His first book of poetry, The Virgin Journals (ASD Publishing, 2012), is currently out of print, but copies can still be found. Check out for more information and original writing by Travis.

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One Comment;

  1. Jessie said:

    Also don’t forget that people so often get trapped into the keeping up with the Jones’s lie. My favourite quote is why buy things you dont need with money you dont have to impress people who don’t care!