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.


Whit Honea is the author of The Parents' Phrase Book. He lives in the L.A. area with his wife and two boys. You can find his writings and other works all over the Internets. Now available on Twitter.