Re: Stop referring to 'tax payers' as 'customers'!?!
I suppose it goes back to the brief time, long ago, when it became very smart to have good customer service. If you didn't call people customers you missed out on being able to claim wonders for your customer service. As we all know customer service quickly became a cost to be outsourced to the cheapest, worst vendor, all in the interests of winning the race to the bottom but in the meantime the "call 'em customers" habit stuck.
That's one interpretation. I came up with a different one back in those same far-off days, waiting on Marylebone station for BR to find enough working DMUs to get a train together that would last long enough to get out of the station. There were occasional announcements addressed to "customers". I decided that calling them "passengers" carried slightly offensive connotations - it was an alternative term for someone not doing their share of the work. "Travellers" was clearly inapplicable as the whole problem was that nobody was able to travel and "intending travellers", whilst honest, would be embarrassing to BR. "Customers" was OK - after all we might be buying something in one of the shops on the concourse.