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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Driving along this evening, ol’ Robbo found himself behind a truck belonging to some kind of office furniture store.  The ad copy on its backside read, “ABC (or whatever it was) Furniture – Where the Customer Becomes Family”.

Similarly, I have noticed from time to time the use of the word “family” in various notes, announcements and invitations down the office:  “Come join the Department of Silly Walks’ Happy Feet Section Family for a Holiday Celebration” and the like.

Frankly, this irks me.

As far as being a customer goes, XYZ Company provides me goods or services and I supply it monies.  It’s a business relationship.  I might very well get to be quite chummy with the owners or their staff, but unless this goes so far that I or one of my kin actually marries one of them….we’re not family. 

Again, as far as office relations go, I always endeavor to be professional and courteous, and am on various levels of friendship with colleagues there, but….we’re still not family.

Now , I doubt very seriously whether the people who use the word “family” in these contexts actually mean any harm.  I don’t see this as deliberately Orwellian double-speak.  Nonetheless, I find it to be an unwarranted assumption of familiarity, an intrusion into what the kids call my “personal space”, a co-opting of a term that properly describes the fundamental unit of human life established by God the Father Himself,  a get off my lawn moment.

Perhaps I’m being hypersensitive,  but these things matter.  We already live in a day and age in which the traditional definition of family – people united by blood and marriage – has been completely tossed aside in favor of whatevs, dude. This is a Very Bad Thing, and I can’t help feeling that the sloppy transposition of the term to the market and the workplace does nothing to help.

Oh, and bonus points for spotting the quote in the title.


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February 2014