The tyranny of nice speak

Why do ChickFilA and Starbucks need to know my name? They usually confirm the order anyway, and they encourage me to give fake names.

The article goes on to discuss business mission statements, thankfully these can be generated with chat GPT3 these days.

That calls to mind this quote from an essay on the industrializing postbellum South by John Donald Wade:

Money was really coming into the community, and it was sweet not to be stifled always with a sense of poverty. But sometimes he felt that money was like a narcotic that, once tasted, drives men to make any sacrifice in order to taste more of it. All around him, for instance, many gentlemen whom he had long recognized as persons of dignity were behaving themselves with a distressing lack of dignity. On the advice of New York commission merchants they were attaching to each of their peach-crates a gaudy label, boasting that peaches of that particular brand were better than peaches of any other brand.

I also heard a relevant anecdote about John Donald Wade. During his tenure at Vanderbilt, he was being investigated for his political opinions and his being out of step with the wishes of the university. An investigation into his classrooms came away baffled: “all he does is talk to the students about poetry!”