Evidently, one of the best things to have for bragging rights in this increasingly plastic-happy age is a Little Black Card.
Borrowing the prestigious appearance of a VIP American Express card, Little Black Cards look slick and promise privilege. It doesn't matter if said card is issued from the Foot Locker, or is only a not-yet-loaded prepaid from Russell Simmon's RUSH line, for it always looks good enough to wave around in the (numerous) instances I feel poor in this recession.
I'm broke! I still get 15% off at Sephora! YES!
Now, I know that celebrities have Little Black Cards that I will never lay my hands on. I'm not even referring to the über-exclusive titanium cards that super-mega-loaded celebrities casually flip out with master flicks of their wrists, but am talking about ones that celebrities receive for promotional swag reasons.
Enter Lindsay Lohan.
These days, with an inconvenient, no-booze-for-you anklet, Lindsay Lohan would be lucky enough to get it on with a stripper pole in a job as dumb as "I Know You Killed Me." But, even if I were to protest that her best Herbie days are behind her, the people passing out the complimentary good stuff would ignore my pleas. Until she stops physically breathing permanently (passing out for an hour doesn't count), LiLo is still a celebrity, special enough to get freebies that she can't really pay for either. Among her special swag is a Little Black Card from Carvel, one that pledges to give her- and her alone- free ice cream for the next 75 years.
Unlike most celebrities and around her other foot, Lohan has the additional ball & chain known as The Rest of Her Family- Michael, Dina, Ali, Cody (and a few other Lohans Dina is currently grooming in test tubes.) In our unfriendly economy and time where the generally cool glow of Mean Girls has faded for LiLo, breadwinning pressure exists thanks to the still-ever-present Dina Lohan.
"Give me the Little Black Card till you get a job," Dina hisses. "E! won't pay for rehab."
Now, if I were LiLo, I probably would have made a permanent imprint on Dina's face with said Carvel card. Unfortunately, like every other non-celebrity and a few Carvel employees, I could only stand by and feel dumbfounded as Dina Lohan repeatedly swooped into the ice cream chain demanding cakes for her brood and theoretical extended clan members who voted for JFK twice in Chicago during 1960. But, I'm thankful that at last, an employee had the cojones to bat Lohan away from the sugar.
And, he didn't surrender the Little Black Card.
Of course, we all know that Lohan pitched a five-alarm fit that should have landed her on an episode of "Cops" (if only for that extra SAG credit for Ali.) Police officers- and even helicopters- responded to Dina Lohan's indignance. It was only due to their presence that Carvel allowed her to take Lindsay's Little Black Card back- but not the cake she was trying to pick up for free.
Thankfully, Carvel got the last word over Dina Lohan in their press release, a piece of required reading for any aspiring stage mom with Botox fantasies only her kid can pay for. And, I'd like them to take it a step further.
Though Carvel is marvelous for putting Dina Lohan in her place, I think they need to revise its Little Black Card policy altogether. As we continue to grapple with recession-related realities celebrities don't face, Carvel should be the first of major chains to offer free ice cream without the need for me- or anyone- to be as cool as Lindsay Lohan. A Little Black Card that gave me an occasional complimentary cone and weekly ice cream deals would be great; families and returning troops would appreciate free scoops, too. Even if it only promised me some extra vanilla, a scoop is just enough to make me feel privileged in the times I need it most.
Sometimes, that feeling is just as good as cash in my pocket.
As for the Lohan clan, I can afford to be generous. I think it's fine for them to have Carvel cakes, and eat them too.
But, only if they use cash.
An expert in coloring outside the lines while reading between them, Alex B has a head for business, bod for sin, and weakness for ice cream during all seasons. Apart from watching Bravo marathons and enjoying haute bites here and there, she writes about TV, pop culture, and coloring outside even more lines. She sneaks Tweets via @lexistential.
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6.21.10 @ 6:55a
I really kind of wish celebrities didn't get press over every stupid thing they do. The fact there's even such a "get anything you want for free" card boggles my mind.
And another thing - reading the press release, it says the Carvel 75th Anniversary Cards were issued to 75 celebrities.
Not one but two Lohans made the top 75 to get the card? Are you kidding me?
6.21.10 @ 7:21a
Heh. As it is, it's obnoxious that celebrities are rewarded with free goods they can afford on a regular basis. What makes this instance actually kind of marvelous are all the variables: the stage mom of an increasingly tacky family is piggybacking (yet again) on her kids' success, and just for free ice cream- not a luxury vacation or some other expensive perk. It's entitled and miserly at the same time, and is the perfect thing to happen to the Lohans- especially Dina.
As for Carvel, let's hope the rest of their 75 designees aren't dubious. And, I really would love it if they rewarded regular people with privilege cards, because we totally deserve free ice cream over celebrities.
6.21.10 @ 1:04p
Carvel doing something to attract celebrity shopping is not wrongheaded - with TMZ, Gawker, etc., photographing and printing every movement of a celeb., it stands to reason that a celeb. eating at Carvel, then appearing on said TMZ, Gawker, etc. site, translates into free celebrity publicity. So, the black card as a means to an ends I think holds.
The bonus factor is that, via this program, we get first hand proof that just because you are a celebrity (or, a celebrity mom anyway) doesn't mean you're worthy, and in fact, you may be a gold digging, tailcoat riding, self-absorbed asshole. I think that probably is true in most cases, but nice to be sure at least in this instance.
6.21.10 @ 2:01p
I don't think Carvel is wrongheaded in boosting business either with a Little Black Card strategy. The problem is they chose Lindsay & Ali Lohan as two recipients- the former is a boozing, pretty strung-out trainwreck on a regular basis (who may or may not actually eat), and the latter hasn't even done anything past existing. There are a ton of other "worthy" celebrities/people they could have given their cards to who attract good buzz. The Lohans are quick to attract publicity, just not the positive kind.
Since Carvel's gotten a lot of attention from revoking their card, this is where perception can change. Are they an ice cream chain that *eager* to cater to celebrities, or are they willing to use the publicity to further sales without the celebrity strategy?
Now that their Little Black Card program is so well-known, I think they would ride another business boost and get positive plaudits if they came out with something that rewarded everyday folks. It's not as flamboyant as, say, getting Miley or Billy Ray singing over sugar cones, but it would be clever to do on the heels of booting the Lohans.
6.21.10 @ 3:49p
How about, free ice cream cake day, available to all EXCEPT lohans?
6.21.10 @ 4:11p