“Student” vs. “Consumer”
Simon Benlow begins this essay by telling us how the current faculty and staff at is school received a memo in regards to “National Customer Service Week.” He is extremely bothered by the assumption, in this case, that the “customer” the memo is referring to is actually their students. In addition, Benlow begins to tell us how he is concerned “about the slow and subtle infiltration of consumerism into education” (151) and how the consumer has almost replaced the student in higher education. Benlow wants to counter this assumption and offer a brief description of some of the differences between the “customer” and the “student.” “The customer is always right.” In other words, keep the customer and keep them coming back for more. This phrase is used to keep the customer at ease even if things aren’t going their way. Again, “Have it your way!” Gives the consumer the idea that the business will do anything to meet what we want or need. Finally, “the meal deal bargain” (151), as the author describes, takes away the need to decide on every detail of a potential meal as it is already decided for us. In any case, this is what the consumerism culture is moving towards, limited interaction with the business, less time to think about what we want, and a cut in the amount of energy we are putting into what we are consuming. Benlow moves on to say “costumers are encouraged to be passive” (151). As customers we should be mentally uninvolved in the decision making process when consuming products. We don’t have to think for ourselves. We purchase someone else’s product, creation, or invention. Benlow continues, “in short, the world of the customer is based on intellectual inactivity.” As consumers we don’t have to invent or research it’s done for us. “Being a customer means being driven by simple and personal desires… and ultimately demanding that those desires be met” (Benlow 125). As opposed to the passive, cant think for themselves, consumer,...
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