|Categories:||Gender Discrimination Social psychology|
According to Caitlin Myer's research, women are more likely to get less preferential treatment than men during customer service (Hartford). In her initial hypothesis, Caitlin assumed that the reason that fewer women went for a cappuccino than men was because of the difference in taste between the two genders due to varied cultural influences. After the research however, she realized that women might actually be avoiding the poor customer service. In her study carried out in Boston, Myers came to the conclusion that men were actually served 20 seconds faster than women when the male staff was present and that the time of service was the same when we had female staff behind the counter. There was also evidence that appearance based, age based and racial discrimination was present, though the evidence was not conclusive. After the research, her initial conclusion was that women took longer because of their complicated preferences which took longer to make. However, this was proven wrong since a clear difference was noted when the composition of the staff changed from male to female. Therefore, she came to be of the conclusion that either the male staff viewed women with contempt or that the men spent more time flirting with their female customers.
In my research, I have selected a fast food chain store as the sample area. This ensures that I will be able to get a wide variety of customers. For the time of day, 12:30 am to 1:30 pm should be ideal since this is the lunch hour when most of the customers visit. These two factors ensure that I will have sample with varied characteristics, hence reducing the sampling error.
My first hypothesis is that men are more likely to be served faster than their female counterparts when the male staff is present. This is due to the fact that men tend to be less social as compared to women. Therefore, less time is probably used during the conversation which is quite the opposite when women are considered. In my second hypothesis, I expect minimal difference in time of service between the genders when it comes to female staff. This is due to the factor that men tend to be more social when it comes to the opposite gender. Thus, with women being generally social no matter what environment they are put into, the service time of men should increase to match their female counterparts. Finally, I expect the service time for the elderly, impaired and pregnant to be more as compared to the average population and that gender difference in this class would not lead to any difference. This is because an impairment is likely to lead to more barriers in communication between the customer and the staff. Gender based discrimination is also less likely to be realized in the case of disability, pregnancy or old age.
In my study, I was able to observe a sample of size 40. In my observation, I observed thirty transactions where the server was male after which I observed twenty transactions with a female member of staff. In my study, I came to the conclusion that the time of service in the restaurant really varied depending on gender. Basically, average male service time was about two and a half minutes while general female service time was about three minutes when the service was provided by men. However, the waiting time for men increased to about three minutes while that for females reduced to two minutes and fifty seconds in the case that the server was female. In this case, I also noted that the service to male clients was almost generalized. This means that almost all men were treated the same in terms of how and what amount of time it took for them to be served. In the case of the female gender however, a huge difference presented itself when it came to how service was delivered. The amount of time it took for a member of the female gender to be served was highly dependent on various factors inclusive and not exhaustive of what class she seemed to come from, how she was dressed, what age she appeared to be, how she communicated to the staff, what culture she appeared to represent among others. This discrimination was specifically noticeable among the female staff who seemed quite judgy on the female customers.
On the comparative study between males who gave fancy orders and their female counterparts who did the same, men had an easier time as compared to women. Men of this nature had an average waiting time of about three minutes while women waited for four minutes on average. This statistic was not dependent on the gender of the staff that was doing the service. It is however important to note that men who gave a specific order generally knew what they had in mind while the women were indecisive and kept changing their orders midway through delivery. After averaging the factor difference due to this factor, the waiting time between male and female customers was still different. In this case, the female customer had to wait more than the male customer for the delivery of their orders.
In addition to gender based findings, service time for the old and less endowed was quite short on average. There was an average time of one and a half minutes. In this case, I came to the conclusion that it took less time for the less physically endowed to be served in the restaurant. Specifically, more attention was paid to their needs. The staff also paid more heed to what they had to say and had a general positive attitude toward them. However, children and teenagers of about sixteen and below had a general rough time in the restaurant, with waiting time going up to about five minutes. In their case, the general attitude of the staff was negative and borderline aggressive.
My first and second hypotheses were confirmed by the studies. As expected, men were straightforward in making their orders and they had specific and simple requirements. This led to shorter service time when a male staff was present. However, they took some time to socialize if the staff was female which a factor that increased their service time was. On the other hand, women were keener to socialize on both counts leading to a higher service time as compared to men. It took me by surprise that the less physically able in the society had less waiting time. In my hypothesis, I had taken into consideration that all factors would remain constant. However, the empathy exhibited by the staff went on to reducing the waiting time of the physically less endowed. It was apparent, however, that the female gender was quite judgmental to each other. In the case of ordering fancy drinks, it was not a shock that the women would have less service time due to their indecisiveness which not only lengthens time for service but could serve to irritate the staff, leading to poor service.
If the research was carried at a different day at the same time, observations made would probably be similar. This is because the nature of customers in a fast food store is expected to be generally the same and thus would possess similar characteristics. However, if carried out in a different location, cultural difference on the way various members of society are viewed could serve to bring a difference. Similarly, research carried out at a different time would also prove different results. For instance, time difference between genders might be more noticeable early in the morning when the server is more alert to the type of customer while time difference might be less in the afternoon when the employee is tired and more focused on giving faster service so that he or she can close up.
Hartford, Tim. "Do Coffee Shops Discriminate Against Women?" The Undercover Economist 10 November 2007.
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