Letters: Credit scores, call centers, city streets

Letters in a computer with red mailbox flag

TEXT OF STORY

Man, singing: I'm going to sit right down, and write myself a letter...

Kai Ryssdal: If this is a Tuesday, and we're playing that music, it must be your turn. This week, we're going to start our letters segment with credit and an interview we did about what the American credit score landscape looks like. This is the sentence in question:

Joan Goldwasser:Your credit score doesn't matter at all if you're not in the market for credit.

That filled up our inbox with a lot of you saying "hold on just a second." Arun Kalavakolanu from Miami, Fla. wrote to point out that you need a good credit score to rent an apartment nowadays and that's not, by any means, the least of it.

Caller: If you're in the market for insurance, your credit score would be used as one of the inputs to determine the rate quoted to you. Number two: If you're applying for a job, your credit score may be held against you.

We did a story couple of weeks ago about health insurance companies and how they're trying to improve customer relations, over the phone. They hire other companies to handle their calls, and in essence, manage that phone relationship with you. Not, it is fair to say, a popular strategy with listeners to this public radio program. You're not buying the, "I do apologize that you've had to go through this" schtick you get when you call.

Curt Wahl of Washington D.C. summed it up. "It's really all about sincerity," he wrote. "Once you've learned to fake that, the rest is easy."

Last week, our Transportation Nation project brought you a story about cities trying to get rid highways to make more space for, y'know, people. Gael Fairbanks lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., vacations frequently in San Francisco and she says the City by the Bay getting rid of the Embarcadero Freeway is the best thing that could have happened.

Gael Fairbanks: Now the citizens enjoy a beautiful bayfront playground, including access to the piers, beaches and avenues that have generated successful farmer's markets, retail and outdoor activity.

We'll go back on the road to wind things up. Our Road Warriors series talks to business travelers about what music they listen to, to get them through their travels. We heard from Tim Westergren a couple of weeks ago. He's the chief strategy officer of at the internet radio company Pandora. "Late" by Ben Folds is a favorite of his. As it is with Steve Noble from Hackettstown, N.J. But Steve doesn't just insert the earbuds and crank up the iPod to get by.

Steve Noble: My preference is to seek out the local karaoke bar and sing my heart out and Ben Folds is a favorite choice.

Usually it's a song called "Landed."

Noble and Ben Folds singing at the same time: We hit the bottom and I thought it was my fault / and I guess in a way it was

If you've got a favorite Ben Folds song or a comment or you just want to sing on the radio, let us know. Our home page is Marketplace.org. The link you need's in the top right corner. It says "Contact."

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