As the economy sputters, the housing business — and most business for that matter — takes to hiding its intentions behind verbal gobbledegook, the gobbledegookier the better. Clear language? That just won't do, even in the best of times. Spend even a week perusing reports pumped out by corporate public relations departments and you'll get a belly full of candy-coated phrases. Here are some favorites I've compiled in a Modern Business Glossary, followed by translations. (And yes, these are real terms — most of them, anyway.)
Non-Equity Incentive Plan Compensation: We've had a mediocre year but management still wants to raid the kitty.
Management-Induced Separation with Prejudice: Fired for blatantly personal reasons.
Management-Induced Separation with Sprinkles: Dropped a hot fudge sundae on the boss' mahogany desk.
Chief Restructuring Officer: Like chief executive officer, but for a failing business.
Monetize Land Assets: Builder going-out-of-business sale.
Orderly Wind-Down of Operations: We're broke. Run for the hills.
Web-First Strategy: Can't turn a buck with the print edition.
Our Company is Founded on Integrity: Ignore the private jet and the "hostess services" bill from the junket to Bangkok.
Loan Modification: Cut our house payment or we'll breed mosquitoes in the pool and turn the St. Augustine turf a lovely shade of burnt sienna.
In Business for 50 Years: We sold toilet gaskets for 45 of those years.
Business Solutions Center: We don't know how to market our product but doesn't "solutions" sound swell?
Quality is Our Middle Name: Your drywall won't form crevasses until the one-year new home warranty has expired.
Now is a Great Time to Buy a Home: Keep renting.