De-Individualization (“the customer” vs. “the customers”)

You often hear it when businesspeople speak. “The customer” instead of “the customers” even when talking about the totality of them. That totality is treated like a single entity, as a type.
That is convenient, because it helps to generalize and to deny the individual interests and thus potentially causes thought patterns of dehumanization to creep into the mind.
It is a common thought pattern in the business world, because ideally the whole customer base is conformant, homogenous. That helps with maximization of efficiency and thus profit. Deviants are inconvenient for that, as is proven again and again not just in the business world, but anywhere where fear reigns, often fueled by big money.

Think about where else you usually find this rhetorical tool for mind (self-)conditioning:
“The Jew”
“The Negro”
“The foreigner”

Note the quite crucial, intentionally left out word “average”. (Which comes with its own set of problems somewhat related to this topic, but is not as severe as when left out altogether.)

Not a coincidence. Same thought pattern. If you saw a group of people as individuals, you’d have to accept the mental effort and practical inconvenience of allowing each individual their relevance.

Marketing has learned a lot from Hitler and such, and Hitler learned a lot from people before his time.

As I often point out: Thought shapes language and language shapes thought.
(That’s the whole point of applied rhetorics.)

The corporate creeps again (this time: Amazon … I mean Twitch … I mean both. … I guess?)

Twitch.tv now belongs to Amazon. It was also proudly announced a while ago that Twitch.tv is now its own company. Yeah, Amazon, you’re basically bragging with your tax evasion.

I made an account at Twitch.tv to give livestreaming a try.

I got added to a newsletter for all Twitch users. No surprise there, and maybe tolerable, but then I get my first newsletter e-mail and it’s advertising for Amazon Prime. Which they already try to forcefully cram down my throat on Amazon as if their life depended on it. (Poor near-monopolist global corporation. Always on the brink of bankruptcy.)

So then I open a link with the intention of unsubscribing, and it tells me why I am subscribed:

Because I am a valued member of the Twitch community.

Bah, those suckup rhetorics. Cut the bullshit.

Then I unsubscribe, and I receive a confirmation e-mail that states:

” ** We have removed your email address from our list.
We’re sorry to see you go.”

Ehm, what? I merely unsubscribed from an e-mail newsletter and they act as if I canceled my account. Are those creeps trying to guilt-trip me with inflated emo-drama?

Every time I have to deal with stuff like this, I am reminded of a certain movie that is like a metaphor for the modern marketing mindset:


The Cable Guy is your friendly neighborhood global corporation just wanting to be your best friend.

By the way, IMDB is Amazon, too.

“Out of respect…”

There’s no point in opening your statement with “Out of respect” as an indication that you deliberately decided not to pursue a certain course. If you say it, you signal that you don’t want to keep the fact from them that there is a reason for disrespect in your mind. So while it is less deceptive/secretive/closed and more sincere and open, it also implies disrespect and a closed mind, already considering its own standpoint final. The openness of this choice of words can come from a feeling of superiority, which itself can work as an insult.
It’s somewhat similiar to saying “I could call you names, but…” or “Some people might say that you…”.

As a sidenote: It also reminds me of the somewhat related issue of “No pun intended”. I love puns, so when people keep saying this, it would piss me off if they weren’t the ones dissing themselves by openly showing their fear of not appearing in the proper light. It basically means you want to suck up to an uptight crowd, but at the same time be fun. You want to have it both ways, all the benefits with none of the drawbacks, but you really gain none.

For further details on that matter I can simply refer to this very good essay, a favorite of mine because it covers the topic thoroughly: