Russian Bank Will Give You a Free Cat With Your Mortgage
Thinking of buying a new home in Moscow Oblast, but still on the fence? Perhaps a cat will convince you. Sign the promissory, take the cat. Look, cute cat! Это красивая кошка! Just hold him for a sec. Awwwwwwwww. Now, do you want a fixed-rate or a 5/1 ARM?
Via BBC's "News From Elsewhere" blog:
In what has all the marks of a publicity stunt, Sberbank—one of Russia's largest banks—says every new mortgage customer can choose the cat they want, and it will be delivered in time for their housewarming party, the TJournal website reports. The bank's slick website gives a choice of 10 breeds, and features a video showing the first happy clients receiving their cats. It's an advertising campaign thought up by a local agency, and reportedly features delivery vans with cat logos cruising the streets of Moscow.
You choose not just from among breeds, mind you, but from among some real shugar-shweet cat characters:
Karamel'ka looks nice, and Iriska, so pretty! But Abrikos seems a little standoffish, and are you sure Dymok's not a little slow? Whatever, just pick one, and also a new place to live and an interest rate that works for you. Bank-based cat deliverymen are waiting on your call now!
Anyway, there is fine print, being as this is a bank selling mortgages—and not just any bank, but one that's majority-owned by the Russian government and lends chiefly to state oil and defense interests. The terms of the giveaway (translated here from officious Russian to officious English) make clear that customers are merely borrowing, not owning, the cats:
Pets (cats) are delivered to participants of the action for a time equal to not more than 2 (two) hours on the date of their delivery to participants' residence, to provide delivery services to a housewarming party and a cat implementation of a photo shoot in a residential area.
Basically, make the damn thing walk across your new home's threshold for good luck, snap a few photos, and call it a day.
But on the plus side, you also get a set of kitchen knives valued at 7,500 rubles—about 200 bucks—and you won't know good ol' Fyodor long enough to pen an essay titled "I Fucking Hate My Russian Mortgage Cat."