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S e r v i c e T e a c h i n g 7 A woman in her late thirties walks into Dickson’s late on a Thursday afternoon and steps right up to the counter without looking in the display case, staring toward but not at Charlie and Ted, the two counter workers. Charlie asks her if he can help. “Yes,” she says. “I’d like a pork loin, please.” Charlie slides the windowed door over and removes a platter of pork products . He holds the loin up for her. “I only want half of that.” “Do you want me to weigh it, or do you just want half of what you see? This is probably about five pounds.” “Um, you can cut it in half and I’ll buy both halves. I’ll keep it in the freezer for another day.” As Charlie turns and places the loin on the counter to cut it in half and wrap it up, she walks down and checks out the other meats in the display. “What is a red cockerel?” she asks. “It’s our chicken. It’s a heritage breed. It’s very tall, so the leg and thigh meat, there’s a lot of that. Smaller breast and wings, so a lot of dark meat. A lot of flavor, so it’s great for soups and roasts.” The woman nods her head with widened eyes, pays for her pork loin, and leaves. A young man then walks in, but with his head down and eyes fixed on the display. He paces slowly, maintaining his stare. Ted says to him, “Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with.” The man briefly glances up at him and mutters affirmatively, and then after a minute of more staring exits without saying a word. Another customer, a young south Asian man, enters and slowly walks up to Ted. “Um, lamb shanks?” he asks, in a tone of uncertainty. Ted takes a lamb tray with four shanks on it out of the display and asks him how many and which ones he would like. He picks out two and asks, “Is that fat?” S e r v i c e T e a c h i n g ‹ 191 › “No, this is the bone, and that’s the gristle around it. It won’t change the flavor when you cook it.” “Can you cut it?” “I can’t. Our [band]saw is turned off for the day. I can trim it around here,” says Ted, pointing to the area on the shank with his finger. “No . . . that’s . . . OK,” he says. “You sure?” “Yeah, I can do it.” “It’s really not a problem.” “OK,” he says while laughing, and sounding relieved. All bartenders, barbers, and butchers face a dilemma when someone first walks into their businesses.1 They don’t know exactly what consumers want out of their experience, but they need to find out to do their jobs. Some retail workers, like cashiers, play a passive role in a consumer’s shopping experience . And often these workers have a script, which their employer (such as a large corporation) mandates they follow.2 But bartenders, barbers, and butcher shop workers in general are far more interactive. They all come Figure 13. Ted serving a customer. Photo by the author. ‹ 192 › c h a p T e r 7 face-to-face with customers and clients, and the interaction influences what the consumer gets and how the experience goes. The new elite service workers face an additional dilemma. Context counts. Given their reputations in the media and their price points, their consumers expect more from them than from workers at similar types of businesses. For example, bartenders at a neighborhood bar need not worry too much about their customers’ actual order. They serve what their bar stocks—bottled and draft beer, a limited wine list, basic spirits’ brands—and customers generally don’t have any questions about what they’ll be drinking or need the options explained to them. Their customers don’t expect advanced knowledge of their drink, and bartenders aren’t expected to be well-versed in mixology.3 Instead bartenders need to focus on their customers’ other needs, like if their water glass is empty or they want to talk.4 Most barbers and butchers are similar. Some barbershops have a formal or informal list of cuts they do, which simplifies the consultation. Butchers can...


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MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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