Earlier this year I watched some U.S. senate hearing about a privacy
issue and people there had a "consumer" in every other sentence, which
made watching a bit difficult to bear. The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon
kicked in and I took notes and eventually compiled a longer list using
my favourite search engine. Note that contexts vary, which is important
with the term. I only include negatives this time.

"How did it become normal, or for that matter even acceptable, to refer
to medical patients as “consumers”? The relationship between patient and
doctor used to be considered something special, almost sacred. Now
politicians and supposed reformers talk about the act of receiving care
as if it were no different from a commercial transaction, like buying a
car — and their only complaint is that it isn’t commercial enough. What
has gone wrong with us? ... The idea that all this can be reduced to
money — that doctors are just “providers” selling services to health
care “consumers” — is, well, sickening. And the prevalence of this kind
of language is a sign that something has gone very wrong not just with
this discussion, but with our society’s values." --

"Personally, I have always found the term consumer to be insulting. What
the term basically says, is that all I am to you is one who eats, drinks
and ingests..and destroys. Well, I feel that I am much more than that!"
-- http://rogerhyttinen.com/2009/02/dont-call-me-a-consumer/

"Can I just tell you that I hate when pundits call me a consumer? Last
time I checked I was not a consumer but rather a person who happens to
buy things once in a while. My sole purpose in life is not to buy enough
stuff to prop up failing companies or line the pockets of some corporate
big-whig." --

"I, for one, have had enough and am officially rebelling against being
called a consumer. I’ve never been a big spender even in the best of
times, preferring instead to live moderately and squirrel away money for
the future. I guess you could say that all along I’ve failed to do my
part for the economy because I’ve chosen to save rather than spend. I
suppose I’m a failure in my country’s eyes. Good for me." --

"And finally, I hate being called a “consumer.” The root word is
consume. Its connotation is mindless organisms eating everything around
them in a non-stop feeding frenzy. It’s a repulsive image and a horrible
word." -- http://wanderingjustin.com/2010/11/dont-call-me-a-consumer/

"I also take issue with being called “a consumer.” Being the kind of
person who removes visible tags from sweaters, I get very uncomfortable
when I know that certain brands define me not by my social attributes
(yuppie, San Franciscan, immigrant), or even my animal attributes
(bipedal, mammalian) – which I’d be fine with – honest! – but by my
ability to purchase their merchandise." --

"I'm a human being and I refuse to be reduced to a consumer. Calling me
a consumer insults my intelligence." --

"In an economy, there are four distinct groups of participants: The
public sector, the banks, the firms, and the consumers. To me, it seems
slightly derogative to be called a "consumer", as if I would be just
sitting there and consume stuff other people have produced." --

"Does anyone else out there in ad land get offended by the term
“consumer?” I’ve recently made a commitment to no longer use the word,
even in briefs and strategic documents." --

"Consumer. Who's idea was that? When did patient become a four-letter
word? And why is it only a four-letter word for me, a person with
depression, but not for my neighbor with cancer? Please do not call me a
consumer! When I am in line at Starbucks, I am a consumer. Shopping at
Wal-mart I am a consumer. But while conversing with my doctor, I am a
patient!" --

"Please don’t call me a consumer. I can’t stand that word when applied
to people who shop, dine out, join athletic clubs or pay for services
such as dry-cleaning. Its over-use by radio and TV newscasters drives me
up the wall." --

"So please, unless you see me at the mall shopping for shoes, don’t call
me a consumer." --

"Brand strategists, advertising execs, fashion magazine editors, product
managers, and many other industry experts refer to their audience as
consumers. It has become an insult. No one should be defined by their
consumption." --

"Does being called a consumer bother you? I guess I’ve read one too many
news articles about the effects that reduced “consumer spending” are
having on the economy.  “Consumers are having trouble finding the mojo
to keep spending.”  “The Chinese consumers aren’t spending enough; they
have a savings glut.”  “Consumers were spending in droves this past
month.”  Blah blah blah …" --

"I dislike being called a “user” almost as much as I dislike being
called a “consumer”. Ever since drinking some of the Clue Train kool aid
back in 2005 thanks to the help of Chris Messina, Tara Hunt, and others,
I have twinged every time I have heard people referred to consumers." --

"Consumer - I first heard the term when it was applied to me. The people
who called me that should have known better. But I had to admit that
being called a consumer brought a gut reaction, not justifiable outrage.
It made my skin crawl. The hairs on the back of my neck stood at
attention." -- http://www.power2u.org/articles/crossdis/names.html

"We need to look closely at ourselves. Big business has coined the term
Consumers. People using that description never seem to consider that it
is actually derogatory and demeaning. I take offence at being called a
“consumer”. I am a customer, a buyer. I want and expect the businesses
to see me as a valued customer, not a business metric with the
derogatory tag Consumer." --

"“Consumer” is a rotten word, a naked, vision-stunting bias parading as
a basic, natural term of modern democratic life.  Whenever you hear
yourself being called a “consumer,” you should reach for your gun." --

"I don’t know about you but there are a lot of things, big and small,
that I don’t agree with. I don’t agree with how the government spends my
tax dollars, I don’t agree with our education model, I don’t agree with
all the violence against women and children, I don’t agree with being
called a consumer instead of a citizen, ..." --

"How do you feel about being called a 'consumer' of public education?
Many reformers are using this word. I have to say it makes me uneasy,
just as I'm no longer a 'patient' at the doctor's office, but a
'consumer of medical care' and my doctor is my 'provider.' It feels like
all the humanity has been sucked out of it. As far as public schools go,
I'm a citizen, not a consumer. Consumer connotes marketplace, citizen
connotes democracy. Does anyone feel strongly about this one way or the
other?" -- http://www.parentsfortexas.com/2011/06/index.html

"We have allowed conservative thought to strip from us the idea that we
are citizens working together for the betterment of all, and replace it
with the idea that we are consumers.  Nothing infuriates me more than
being called a consumer, as though my reason for existence is only to
gorge myself on the gruel Big Business slops in the trough." --

"I’m officially tired of being called a ‘consumer.’ As a human being, I
consume, yes, but that does not make me less than what I am, and I
resent the generalization that I’m merely a creature that devours
products and foods like a furnace devours coal, or an amoeba devours
whatever it devours." --

"One parishioner I interviewed was particularly articulate on this
subject, when asked if he thought of himself as a consumer: I think that
being called a consumer is one of the greatest insults that we can
receive… It’s so bovine. It’s like we’re dairy cows for people who have
-- for the upper class. We are the consumers, and we create the flux
that generates wealth, and that’s our function in life. Yeah. It’s
insulting." -- http://www.ctsnet.edu/Files/Documents/SabbathPractice.pdf

"The Peasants are going to revolt once they understand that they are
peasants. Once it dawns on the masses that they are slaves to these
corporations, once they fully understand that being called a consumer is
a bad thing, then things will get nasty." --

"Your cover story Cool in Kaliyug (December 14) was a very unfair
representation of the youth today. I’m 19 years old and resent being
called a ‘consumer’ instead of a citizen. How can you completely negate
our role as citizens of India by labelling us as nothing but an eager
market for MNCs?" -- http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?206680

"There is nothing I hate more than being called a 'consumer'. The idea
of a 'consumer' is one of the great lies of modern economics; that we
are guzzling nodes of goods and services with behavioural
characteristics that - if well understood - will make the providers rich
beyond their dreams." --

"It seems everyone from the media to the mega corporate merchandisers
refers to the public as the conSumer. Some years ago I came to the
realization that I was deeply insulted to fall under that definition. I
do not like being called a consumer. I imagine the person who coined the
word must have been some high and mighty looking down their nose on all
us lowly common folk. “How can we squeeze out more from all the
conssssumers?” Now I’m probably getting a little far fetch here but,
that’s how degrading a term I feel that it is." --

"Gentle readers of this American Chronicle, I do not like being called a
"CONSUMER". It is exactly the same as being called a fool and a sucker
and so I prefer to be called a pro-environment recycle expert." --

"When someone calls you a consumer, say “don't label me a consumer. I'm
a producer. I don't diminish the world. I'm a contributor." --

"Assume that the mindset of "the consumer" is fundamentally demeaning,
that the construction of the "sovereign consumer" is an all too
convenient excuse for powerful actors to evade their societal and
environmental re-sponsibilities" --

"First, I want to say that because I strongly dislike the word consumer,
I have chosen to use the word shopper instead. I find the connotation of
consumer distasteful and demeaning, even if unintentionally so." --

"I'm not sure why this makes me uneasy, but it does. to live in an
economy that aspires to little more than making a profit from “stuff
”for people to “consume, ” then defines me as a consumer of that stuff,
feels demeaning to me." -- http://books.google.com/books?id=nXu5uS2R8tUC

"There are no longer consumers, only customers. In the post-crisis age,
the term consumer is a symbol of disrespect and ignorance. It is a
demeaning stereotype of a mindless gobbling beast of indifference that
ingests an endless abundance of goods and services without regard for
consequence." -- http://books.google.com/books?id=w5sVrYPvZZQC

"The word consumer can be offensive when used in relationship to the
local church. Consumerism is one thing at Starbucks, but it seems to
have no place in the local church. We appropriately object to the notion
of our churches as marketplaces, selling out Jesus wares, and catering
to every selfish whim of the people who enter our doors. A consumer
mentality -- wherein I am the central figure in the universe, the church
exists to tell me what I want to hear, and God is a materialistic
vending machine my every desire -- is not reflective of the character of
Jesus Christ." -- http://books.google.com/books?id=b9gqQ3BRQJEC

"We resent the derogatory implications of the word "consumer" which
measure man and woman as dumb beasts to be branded, shorn, and lead from
one trough to another." -- http://books.google.com/books?id=gnkQAAAAIAAJ

"In the ongoing debate over which word best describes people who receive
our services, I side with those who see the label "consumer" as
stereotyping and somewhat degrading." --

"But no, we distance ourselves from the people for whom we design by
giving them descriptive and somewhat degrading names, such as
"customer," "consumer," or "user."" --

"Further, when we think of people as consumers, we underplay their other
roles and functions. I will therefore avoid the word 'consumer' as far
as possible" -- http://books.google.com/books?id=bOMdAQAAMAAJ

"For many years I have been developing a strong aversion to the word
consumer. It carries with it a predatory tone — a dead-end feeling of
wastefulness." -- http://books.google.com/books?id=T-MxAQAAIAAJ

"Healthcare professionals generally view with disdain the use of the
term "consumer" or "customer" to describe the health system's "users"
because they feel it commercializes the care relationship and demeans
them as professionals." -- http://books.google.com/books?id=RxzdgBK_iucC

"What exhausts me is only being treated as a consumer. I hate being
defined as a consumer and my worth being measured by the “consumer price
index” and “consumer confidence.”" --

Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjo...@hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
Am Badedeich 7 · Telefon: +49(0)160/4415681 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
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