The Buzzword Blog #2 : What is a Buzzword?
The Buzzword Blog #6 : Customer
The word 'customer' comes via old French from the Latin consuetudinem, meaning 'habit' or 'useage'. A customer is a person who habitually, as a matter of personal choice, exchanges his or her money for goods or services from a preferred supplier.
Where there is no possibility of personal choice, no real exercise of preference, the term 'customer' is entirely wrong.
In the U.K. at the present time, the term 'customer' has become a meaningless buzzword for use by bureaucrats, politicians, advertising executives, and such other persons of the class of all people who subtract a value from society far more than any value that they inject.
When dealing with any government or local government department regarding almost any matter, I am addressed in correspondence as a 'customer'. I am not a customer in my dealings with woolly-thinking half-trained half-baked idiots who have been appointed by superior woolly-thinking half-trained half-baked idiots to "help" me. I am, perhaps, a 'client'. A victim, almost beyond doubt. But a customer? Never in a month of Sundays.
If I had a choice, I would choose not to suffer fools at all, never mind gladly. But I have no meaningful choice. Be treated as a 'customer' by branches of the welfare state or starve / die of illness / freeze to death.
It is bad enough to be a victim of the inadequacies, entanglements and circularities of bureacracy. But when that is compounded by the deliberate abuse - torture even - of my mother tongue I begin to wish that I had studied less of Socrates, and more of Kalashnikov.