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Credit Metaphors

The financial arena is one wide one which has remained to be the most active fraternity over the past. This is because the operations of a country, business organization or simply an individual, say in terms of trade, can be majorly determined by the extent to which these parties manage the financial portions of their existence.  At the same time, the concept of credit has equally been a common one in the financial fraternity. Due to the improved and more organized conditions, many business organizations have managed to build a strong base of clientele by giving room for a series of credit services. This has mainly been possible due to improved communication strategies (Max, 156). Financial enhancement through credit facilities has assisted many individuals and this fact can be confirmed from Levine’s words in the book Not Buying it where she confesses that “both of us were not earning much buy we both felt prosperous.” Indicating the financial assistance she got from utilizing the credit services.(Levine, 170)

The customers that a company gets to maintain through this approach can therefore be simply referred to as credit customers. In addition to the above statements, it is also a point worth noting that any fraternity has its own set of jargons hence in the financial arena and especially in the concept of credit, there are specific metaphors which have always been used in a bid to enhance communication. These metaphors are usually used to enable the customers a clear understanding of the credit terms as provide by a given company/organization. This work shall therefore involve a discussion of some of the most common metaphors of credit and how the credit customers manage to internalize them.  At the same time, the metaphors shall be reviewed in order to establish the most accurate ones as used in this field.

To begin with, a metaphor can simply be defined as a figure of speech which involves an implied comparison of two things that despite being unlike have one thing in common. In other words, “it can be a statement or a phrase which expresses the unfamiliar in terms of the familiar.” (Finlay, 123).  This definition can therefore be derived in order to establish how the use of a metaphor can actually fit in a business arena. In the concept of credit, a statement can be used to address an issue that credit customers may not know using a subject that is rather familiar to them.

One example of such metaphors is “do you use the plastic?” in this case, the word plastic, which is a rather familiar one has been used to refer to another word which probably some, if not most, of the customers can be familiar with. In a nut shell, the word ‘plastic’ in this case has been used to refer to the credit card. The above metaphorical statement is therefore a question that a customer can be asked when the person serving him or her would like to known whether they use the credit card or not.

The second example of a credit metaphor is “credit lost is a Venice glass broken” a client can therefore be informed that “if we lose this credit then we’ll have broken a Venice glass.” This is a metaphorical statement that emphasizes to the client the need to honor all the agreements and hence ensure that the credit is settled in a timely manner. The third metaphor goes, ‘’ credit is chastity; both of them can stand temptation better than suspicion.’’ This is a quote by Josh Billings whose interpretation helps to give the credit customer an idea of what credit terms can be by comparing it to chastity. This implies, if a customer knows what chastity is then they probably will be in a position to understand what credit is based on the above metaphorical comparison. There is need for honesty, wit and professionalism when it comes to the issue of credit finance but some customers end up breaking the rules of chastity as Levine reveals in her book that she was a “desultory and uncommitted consumer at her best.” She cheated twice and bought new clothes.(Levine, 203)

The fourth metaphor goes thus, “a credit card is a plastic blood sucker” this statement can be used to describe the hazardous nature of working on credit especially if the relevant factors are not considered well enough by the customer. In other words, “the credit card can prove to be a sucker of all the customer’s financial abilities” especially if they fail to manage the relevant requirements. The discussion above indicates that the credit card can prove to be detrimental to the user especially when they fail to manage it appropriately. In her book Not Buying It. Levine expresses her feelings concerning the use of this card and actually reveals that it is becoming a bother to her. She says “I take out my credit card. Reader, I am fallen” (Levine,190)

Additionally, the phrase “ plastic money” has also been commonly used to refer  to the credit card, other credit metaphors include; “ in debt up to your eyeballs”, “ Owed and due when the bill comes in”, “Maxed Out”,  “ the good, the bad and the ugly”, “ buy now and pay later” and “Fantastic plastic” just to mention but a few. A good example of the use of the term ‘maxed out’ as a metaphor can be derived from Levine’s statements in her book Not Buying it which goes “I have maxed out the visa, moved on to the Citibank Debit card and I am tapping the ATM like an Iraqi guerilla pulling crude from the pipeline.”(Levine, 230)

In the above discussion, we have managed to summarize some of the most commonly used metaphors especially when it comes to credit dealings. As it can be derived from the statements above, it is evidently established that the statements have been used to majorly describe credit and specifically credit cards. Most of the above analogies describe the credit card, for instance a credit customers who gets to interact with the statement “never leave home without it” will obviously know how important it is to always walk around with the credit card. Taking money on credit and hence using the credit card can also be a fantastic experience which can help credit customers especially in times of emergency. This therefore explains the popularity of the metaphor “fantastic plastic” used to refer to the vital portion of the credit card in the financial life of a credit customer.

At this point, it is important to examine how the credit customers get to internalize these common credit metaphors. From the above statement alone, the word common, can be a helpful one in explaining how the clients absorb the and hence take part in the daily use of the metaphors. In other words, the fact that the metaphors are commonly used among credit individuals goes a long way in helping the credit customers to internalize and subsequently use some of these statements.

It is one thing to hear or perhaps read about a given credit metaphor, however, it is another thing to make good use of this newly learned aspect. In line with the old adage which goes “practice makes perfect” the credit customers can only manage to effectively internalize some of these metaphors if they continuously make use of them especially in their day to day business dealings. For instance, when an individual keeps on interacting with the word plastic money and goes ahead to use it in his daily business dealings especially in the right avenues then he/she will most likely develop a deeper understanding of that particular aspect.

The other way of internalizing the credit metaphors is through exposure and information provided by the relevant individuals in the given fields. For instance, “a given business organization which specializes in offering credit services to its clients can choose to incorporate a special service in the customer care department which plays the main role of informing the credit customers about the common credit metaphors.” (Sullivan, 98).  When a credit customer is informed of the commonly used terms especially in the financial arena then they are well placed in a position to understand and hence internalize these jargons.

In each of the metaphors which have been described above, it is equally worth to note that there are those which are more accurate than the others. In other words, they are the very metaphors which can be applied by the credit customers and the other involved parties in order to directly address specific situations in their lives. For instance, in the above cases, some statements like “buy now and pay later”, “plastic blood sucker”,” the good, the bad and the ugly”, “fantastic plastic” and “never leave home without it’ are some of the most accurate metaphors commonly used in the credit finance arena. The metaphors also help to emphasize the importance of the credit card and the need to have it wherever one goes, for instance, in her book, Levine wonders “Is it even possible to withdraw from a marketplace?” and the obvious answer here would be a yes because once you have the ‘plastic’, you kind of have the money (Levine, 150).

 Each of the statements above, in a direct manner, gets to describe the exact situation a credit customer may find himself in at any one time (Sullivan, 98).  For instance, the credit card is so vital to a credit customer that they should never leave home without it. At the same time, the above figures of speech vividly allow the credit customers an easy avenue through which they can understand the terms and regulations common in the credit market. Furthermore, the above selected credit metaphors can be considered accurate by the virtue of the fact that they help to create a common code. This common aspect therefore goes a long way in enhancing communication and understanding not only between the credit card customers and the service providers but also among themselves.  In a nut shell, the discussion above has adequately uplifted our understanding of the credit metaphors in addition to some of the commonly used terms when it comes to the concept of credit in the financial arena.

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