Karen Stabiner asks in an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times: What ever happened to being a plain old ‘customer’?
I don’t know about your friends, but my friends never ask me to pay when they invite me over for a good time. "Guest" implies free, or at least it used to. Lately, "guest" seems to mean something new — in return for paying for goods and services, we get the illusion of pleasant social interaction. No surly cuppa joe for a guest, no siree, but a customized, extra-hot, extra-dry, half-caff soy cappuccino served up with a smile, a little conversation and a polite "Thanks, have a nice day."
We used to be "customers," but now we’re "guests." It makes me feel ever so slightly self-conscious, like I should’ve dressed better to stand in line.
I’ve heard complaints liket this one before. But I prefer Disney’s lingo.