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Uncanny attachment to a non-person

Josh Barro is creeped out by people who get emotionally attached to their suppliers. He thinks people are foolish to expect real friendship from a company, but I think companies are made of people, and if those people recognize and appreciate us, then it adds to our quality of life.  IStock_000020168756XSmall

Where I think he's right is that companies are subject to economic pressures which their customers may not perceive. Our favorite supplier could be bought by a competitor. We may feel disappointed but we really can't count it as a betrayal. When my favorite bookstore was bought by Barnes & Noble years ago, I did my best to avoid Barnes & Noble. I wanted to punish them for discontinuing a business model that was probably unsustainable. Being loyal to a company means wanting them to be profitable. 

NY Times: Sorry, but Your Favorite Company Can't Be Your Friend, 2015-Dec-11 by Josh Barro

A hallmark of communal relationships is that they are not based on exchanges of comparable benefits. That doesn’t mean you are supposed to freeload off your friends, but it does mean if your friend drives you to the airport, you are not supposed to give him $80 — you are supposed to do him a favor later, when he needs help from you.

Since companies are ultimately in the business of charging their customers for products and services, they are likely to end up violating the communal relationship norms they establish, with charges for services rendered intruding on the friendly nature of the relationship.