the ugly truth

Goldman Sachs Not Alone in Condescendingly Calling Customers Names

Muppet Kermit the Frog
Photo: Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images

In the wake of yesterday’s earth-shattering op-ed from investment banking’s Benedict Arnold, in which Greg Smith revealed that Goldman Sachs employees refer to clients as “Muppets,” the New York TimesDealBook reports that everyone in every industry ever sounds smug when referring to the people they’re meant to serve:

Advertising executives call people “bobbleheads” if they approve of everything a boss says or does. In New York political circles, a “checkbook” is the wealthy client of a consultant who wants to run for office or start an issue campaign but whose only qualification or redeeming value is being rich.

Flight attendants are known to call the infrequent leisure traveler a “Clampett,” for the fictional family in the 1960s TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies. Some elite frequent fliers with extremely high expectations get the special designation of “platinum trash,” according to people in the industry.

But no one’s worse than Wall Street!

In an e-mail, a former Wall Street stock broker, who is now independent and did not want to be identified, said clients were often described as “pikers” (small fish), “marks” (easy prey) or “pawns” (will do anything asked no matter how ridiculous).

On the blogs, we call ‘em “commenters.”

Goldman Not Alone in Calling Customers Names