In all these instances, emotional labor served (legitimately or not) identifiable emotional needs. That's not true at Pret. Fast-food service is not one of the caring professions. The only imperatives typically addressed in a Pret shop are hunger and thirst.
Emotional labor is not itself new. Prostitutes have faked orgasms for millennia.
Yes, you damn well better impress the customers like the boss says. That's why they call it the service industry.
Coldstone Creamery has some good ice cream, and I'm not sure what's so monstrous about asking employees to sing.
In the three decades since Hochschild published The Managed Heart, the emotional economy has spread like a noxious weed to dry cleaners, nail salons, even computer-repair shops. ... Back when she wrote her book, Hochschild estimated that about one-third of all jobs entailed "substantial demands for emotional labor." Today, she figures it's more like half. This is, among other things, terrible news for men, who (unlike women) are not taught from birth how to make other people happy. Perhaps that explains why men are losing ground in the service economy.
And that, in turn, is why it is akin to wanting your soul; it's not enough for you to perform a task that needs to be done, you have to think and feel a certain way as well as serve sandwiches.
Trader Joe's pays above-union wages: as of 2010, supervisory crew members ("Merchants," and "Mates") can start at $35–50,000 per year and store managers ("Captain") can earn in the "low six figures." It contributes to an employee's standard 401(k) plan. As of 2013, pay for entry-level Crew Members was $10 to $11 an hour.
Trader Joe's also offers health insurance benefits (dental, vision, and medical) to all employees and their dependents. Crew Members must work 900 hours per year (an average of 20 hours per week) and be employed for a minimum of three months consecutively to qualify. All Crew Members are evaluated every six months with the possibility of a pay increase. All employees also receive a 10 percent discount on items bought at the store.
In a 1984 dispatch in the New York Times, John Burns reports that “faced with inadequate supplies, low salaries and endless lines of customers, many Russians in customer-service jobs lapse into an indifference bordering on contempt.”
One can find numerous explanations of this phenomenon, from the shortcomings of the planned economy to the institutional structure of the Soviet service industry to the vagaries of the Russian soul to the legacy of serfdom. But one factor was clearly that Soviet workers, unlike their American counterparts, were guaranteed jobs, wages, and access to essential needs like housing, education, and health care. The fear that enforces fake happiness among capitalist service workers — culminating in the grotesquery of Pret a Manger — was mostly inoperative in the Soviet Union.
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