Food and Credit Similarities
By Henry Bagdasarian
While I was watching TV, I observed how food and credit products are similar to each other with respect to their marketing campaigns and undesired consequences when over consumed. I asked myself, why do consumers continue to become identity obese while they lack the necessary knowledge to protect their identities against the increasing risk of theft, fraud and disclosure? I answered my own question with another question which is; why do consumers continue to excessively consume junk food and become obese while they know the dangers of obesity? It occurred to me that maybe aggressive marketing techniques and lack of awareness campaigns on the part of businesses may be responsible for the epidemic in both areas. The return on advertising investment must be lucrative enough for companies to spend money on ad campaigns and sell consumers these products while knowing that consumer lack of awareness regarding over consumption risks will push sales upward. As consumers continue to over consume these products and face the devastating consequences, companies come to their rescue by offering other products such as diet and debt consolidation programs to resolve the problems. Just pay more attention to the infomercials you see on TV and other marketing outlets; what categories of advertisements do you normally see the most? I normally see food and loan advertisings, then I also see diet, exercise and debt management programs. Some companies are even smarter and combine both categories into one like foods that help you lose weight or credit cards that come with the best protection against identity theft. Well, I think that if we consume a healthy dose of food or credit, we won’t need to lose weight or consolidate debt. We need both food and credit to have a balanced and healthy life in today’s society, but as individuals, we have to define what that dose is for us because no one else can or will properly define the limit for us, especially the companies which make billions selling us these products. The old marketing system which advocated creating problems and then offering help to fix the problems has evolved and suggests that consumers pay for creating the problems and the solutions. I hope you get the idea but the immediate similarities that came to my mind as I was watching the TV program are listed below:
1. Excess food and credit are both bad for us because they lead to serious problems. Excess food kills people and excess debt destroys families. There is no doubt that excess weight as well as high number of bankruptcies and identity fraud are the results of over consumption of food and credit products which have reached dangerously high levels.
2. Both food and credit are big businesses. Again, by just looking at the number of infomercials, TV programs and other advertisings, I can only guess that credit and food categories are big businesses. Individuals are encouraged to consume more of food and credit products and as they do that, face the serious consequences that come with the over consumption of these products.
3. Credit and food are both addictive because we tend to over consume both of them. Unless consumers are suicidal, I don’t think they would excessively consume products that kill and/or destroy lives unless these products were addictive in nature and designed to make us consume more of them. Some examples of addictive products are junk foods, alcohol, cigarettes and lines of credit. Although, we know that excess food and credit consumption lead to increased weight, unmanageable debt and identity fraud, we continue to consume more of them because these products and their marketing campaigns are designed to make us consume more of them.
4. Food and credit products exist in abundance. They are some of the most competitive categories offered to consumers along with beauty and health products and their unwanted consequences have also been more apparent in recent years. The negative results of credit over consumption include identity fraud, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and low credit scores for which there are solutions like, credit report monitoring, refinancing, debt consolidation, and credit score improvement programs. Did you know that some credit card companies that offer credit cards also sell credit-monitoring services to help consumers detect identity theft? Do you think that these companies know that our risk of credit fraud increases with each additional credit card in our pockets? You can decide for yourself.
5. Many people may be affected by excess consumption of both food and credit products. Although I have not yet seen a study suggesting that people who excessively consume junk foods also excessively consume credit products and face the negative consequences in both area, we know that addictive behaviors combined with aggressive marketing in both areas can result in excess consumption leading to higher level of body fat, bankruptcy, foreclosure and identity theft cases which have been on the rise in recent years.
6. Companies that sell food and credit products won’t tell consumers how much they should consume while they encourage them to consume more of their products, and won’t come to their rescue when consumers face the consequences of over consuming the products. Some companies may only think about quick increases in revenue and depend on people’s addictive behaviors to achieve their goals. The loss of consumer confidence is less of a concern because companies rely on their advertising, marketing and the addictive aspect of their products to continue pushing sales upward.
7. There are plenty of advertising and professional help to resolve the consequences of excess credit and food consumption. Problems in both areas create billions of dollars in revenue for companies that come to our rescue by offering diet, exercise, debt consolidation, bankruptcy filings, and identity theft protection services and products.
In summary, I made this comparison to show you that we can become obese in all areas of our lives if we do not follow a healthy lifestyle, and identity obesity is not an exception which arises from over consumption of credit products which can lead to identity theft and fraud. For protecting our identities and living a balanced life, we must make our own assessment of which credit and other personal products are in our best interest, and, determine the maximum level of consumption beyond which we receive no additional benefit while we expose our health, credit worthiness and identity at risk. We must learn to notice when the cup is full and stop pouring, in all areas of our lives.
A question that remains unanswered for me is what percentage of obese people also have unmanageable debts? If someone does a study or comes across one, please share the results with me and I will share it with the rest of the readers. I won’t be surprised to find out that most people who have an over consumption problem with either food or credit products, also have a problem with the other area.
Learn more about identity protection as well as excess food and credit solutions in the Identity Diet book.