File this one under STREET THEATRE. Ever since some overpaid suit somewhere woke up to the epiphany that customers did not react kindly to a shout of "NEXT!" from behind a cash register, we Americans have been suffering under a tsunami of flowery and oddly ill-suited language.
We are called "guests" and "members" and we are never the "next" guest, we are the "following" one. Not sure how exactly it was determined that following is more pleasant than next... Maybe it's a simple matter of one syllable with crushing consonants at its end vs. three flowing watery (flowery?) ones.
At Citarella, where the staff has been carefully schooled to call us to their registers with May I help the following guest? I recently heard this shouted at me:
I love it! At last, we've come full circle! It was "NEXT!" that got us here. With a little luck, it will be "FOLLOWING!" that finally tears it.