UU Mom (uu_mom) wrote in pg_race_matters,
UU Mom

Classism in Services #middleclass #homeservices #thehelp #classism

This blog focusses on Prince George's Co., but this is a problem throughout the United States (I don't know about other countries, but I understand classism is everywhere - would love to hear from people in the comment area about their experiences in different areas, though).

Just because people come from a long line of oppression / racism doesn't mean they don't have this behavior, too, but is especially a problem among white people and people who are new to middle or upper-middle class and never had a service job themselves. Here is a TV clip of an example of the problem:

What did you observie there? (If you can't hear it, see dialog text below.) A home service worker comes to do the job, gives his estimate to fix it (not unreasonable for what needs to be done) and he's turned away without being paid. This is not unlike a lack of tipping a waitor/waitress since it is about getting paid. In the U.S., certain service people are allowed to be paid much less because they're expected to make tips and others, like this service worker, probably works by commission or is self-employed, which means he doesn't make money if he doesn't get paid. And if he's self-employed, he has to pay over-head (telephone, transportation - cost of vehicle, gas, and repairs, insurance, office, accountant, etc.), so not being paid would mean he loses money. If he works for a small business, that small business loses money AND he may not get paid if he's working by commission only.

We're good at complaining about the big corporations making too much money and become monopolies, often not treating their customers well. But if we don't want big corporations, we need to help small businesses thrive.

This is just one example. This situation happens to housecleaners and many other industries. This site shows the average pay for certain jobs and we can see how household services (not the supervisors so much as the actual workers) get paid less.

We complain about the economy, but we can help each other make the economy better in some ways. If you can afford to pay for services, hire a local service - there are lots of sites that rate them and give information about them, and once you hire them, pay them. They should be able to at least give you a ball park of the amount it should be (if it's just a quick fix or if it needs a new part) - you should be able to get a range. If you can't afford it, don't hire them in the first place - sending them away without paying is unconscionable.

Dialog: “$358 for a sensor that costs $28. I’ll fix it myself.”
“It’s a complicated job. You know what I did back in Russia?”
“Yea, you were a doctor or a scientist.”
“No, I fixed driers. I’ve been doing this a long time.”
“I’m sorry I’m no push-over. I’m afraid it’s a hard ‘nyet’.”
So he decided to do it himself and made it worse.
                - from "Modern Family" Feb. 14, 2017 Episode: “Do It Yourself”
Tags: classism, jobs, middle class, oppression, wages, working class

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