| The dismal science|
A consumer is an end user of a product or service.
In modern capitalist economies, it is important that they truly "consume" the product, and throw it away, so they will have to buy another one. This keeps the cogs of the invisible hand turning and the pin factories hustling and bustling.
In kinder, gentler systems, they are also considered to be "people," and as such, to have "certain inalienable rights" not to be consumed themselves by the product or service — but this is a moot point, as in such systems they are not actually allowed any "products" to be "consumed" by; this would distract them from their task of being "liberated" from "oppression."
- Disclaimer: This refers exclusively to totalitarian communism in practice.