Can you imagine one century back
if someone reached for something on a store rack,
told the clerk she’d lost all her money,
“so charge it to this little card, honey” ???
She’d be charged…with insanity.
Occasionally, I will overhear a kid in a store reprimand his/her parents that they most certainly can afford whatever Junior wants. All the parent needs to do, of course, is pull out the magic card and their family can have anything their hearts desire! Presto! Consumers take for granted that they can slip a choice of little cards from their wallets these days and produce them for “purchase payment” at a store in our society’s “have it now, pay gobs more for it later” mentality program. Have you ever wondered when this practice started? According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “the use of credit cards originated in the United States during the 1920s, when individual firms, such as oil companies and hotel chains, began issuing them to customers.” (Hmm, wasn’t this just before our economy slid into the Great Depression?) At least in the U.S., though we understood credit being issued on an individual basis, we hadn’t quite picked up on the idea of store charge cards in 1913 or so. It wouldn’t be until around circa WWII when companies would begin accepting someone else’s “corporate card” beyond their own. Listen! I hear the consumer cavalry crying out, “Charge!” Tread carefully. Something feels a little shaky.
Here we are at Trifextra Week Sixty-Four – and here’s the challenge: