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"Following Customer"

Anyone here work retail or at a supermarket? Everyone here (in my part of NYC) says "following customer" in situations where one might more correctly say "next customer." WHY? Did some consulting firm decide to earn its fat paycheck by convincing management that "next" is an insult or that it takes longer to say? DOES EVERYONE DO IT? Has this spread like a plague across this great nation?

EXPLAIN this shit. I Googled and see lots of complaints (and queries from non-native English speakers), but no explanation

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