Are you a consumer?

Since when did it become okay to refer to our society as consumers?

I first heard this word "consumer" in the corporate news media. A decade or so ago, I thought I was being smart by using this word when I was referring to my family and I about a certain product we were looking at when I was at the store.

A man looked at me and my kids when I said this and said I got to get away, and then walked away. His wife turned to me and excused him by saying he's been listening too many conspiracy theories and something about Rockefeller. That was several years ago before I knew any better.

Since then, I've become familiar with neuro-linguist programming and I also learned about some of those conspiracy theories that have since begun to show they have valid points. It's as if they are trying to undermine the power of our humanity through the use of that language.

At first, the word consumer was used in business to business speak to refer to "consumers", the customers whether other business or people, of their products. That was just their inside lingo.

However, now this word has made its way into the daily language of society. It's used in phrases such as I consume this drink or that snack so casually.

In his recent address to the nation, President Obama referred to us and himself as consumers several times.
I remember the opening address of John F Kennedy and those words ring sweet to me. "Hello my fellow citizens."

I came across an article in OC Family Magazine that had a casual quote by Rafael Nader as her refers to "the next generation of consumers".

Is this alright with everyone? Am I the only one it bothers?