ExxonMobil credit card
ExxonMobil
Easy money: ExxonMobil issued 2,000 credit cards to a Manhattan accountant.
By Brian Tracey Associate editor
msnbc.com
COMMENTARY

All Frank Van Buren wanted was a couple of ExxonMobil credit cards. Instead he got a couple thousand. The Manhattan accountant found himself flooded with plastic in recent weeks, as the oil giant's cards kept on coming.

Van Buren, who said he has had an ExxonMobil account for his business for 17 years, had ordered two copies of his card because it was expiring.

He got the cards he requested — and then got two boxes with 1,000 cards each. Van Buren said it took hours to shred the cards, which all had his name and account number.

"How could you send me 2,000 cards by mistake?" Van Buren said he asked customer-service representatives.

ExxonMobil Corp. spokeswoman Paula Chen said the Irving, Texas-based oil company was looking into the mix-up.

In light of the fact that ExxonMobil reported this week that its second-quarter earnings actually fell to a measly $10.3 billion, maybe this was ill-advised attempt to drum up a little extra business.

Not-so-bad ideas

  • Attention exhausted shopaholics: Discount furniture store Ikea is inviting its customers to stay overnight.

British newspaper The Guardian reported that big-box retailer has opened an "Ikea Hostel" in one of its warehouses in Oslo, Norway, where up to 30 lucky shoppers can enjoy the somewhat austere accommodations.

"It will be like an alternative hostel. There will be the regular dormitory with lots of beds stacked up together," said company spokesman Frode Ullebust, adding that there will also be a family rooms for parents and children.

"We found that people from the north of Norway include a visit to Ikea as part of their holidays," said the spokesman. "The Ikea Hostel will make the destination complete."

Let's just hope Victoria's Secret doesn't try to copy the idea.

  • Here an ambitious product launch: Chinese will be able to eat like astronauts when snacks developed for the country's space program hit supermarket shelves later this year.

Earth-bound buyers can try cosmic chocolate and space desserts developed by the Scientific Research and Training Center for Chinese Astronauts and a Shanghai food company for the country's "taikonauts," the Xinhua news agency said.

A major selling point would be quality, said Chen Bin, head of the center's food and nutrition section and a self-proclaimed "space chef."

Stringent quality controls would prove especially attractive to consumers reeling from a series of scandals over food safety in recent weeks, Xinhua cited Chen as saying.

"For example, we required the air in the food workshop should be as clean as that in a pharmaceutical workshop," Chen said.

Considering that China recently sentenced to death a former government drug regulator for approving substandard medicines, maybe that's not the best quality comparison.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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