Saturday, May 23, 2009

Has anyone else noticed this? This is just personal experience, but Hispanics seem more likely than members of other groups to be generous to the customer at the expense of the business. I can remember a number of times when Hispanic waiters would break the rules and give me free food or drinks--I thought it was just a clever way to try to get a bigger tip. But I've seen the same thing when there was no apparent benefit to the employee.

Just the other day I tried to buy a couple of items at 7-Eleven with a debit gift card. There wasn't enough money left on it, so the Hispanic girl just told me to take the food free. I pulled cash out of my wallet and gave it to her, which puzzled her a bit since she had just said I could take the stuff. Then today, I'm at the supermarket and order a pound of pasta salad. The guy weighs it, sticks the price label on the container, and then adds another scoop and says, "Here's a little extra." It's not a situation where I'm going to give him a tip or something; in fact, he's taking the risk of getting caught by the manager. It seems like there's a certain pleasure in siding with the customer against the employer.

21 comments:

Hunter said...

I'm opposed to Hispanic immigration and find many aspects of Hispanic culture distasteful, just as you do.

Sometimes, like in this post, you just sound like an absolute idiot.

"It seems like there's a certain pleasure in siding with the customer against the employer."

I mean, come on. Are you retarded? You don't need to scrounge for any more reasons to make Hispanos look worse than they already are. Their average intelligence and social/cultural behaviors and pathologies are more than enough to degrade the American labor force and business, and more than enough reason to oppose them inundating the US. You don't need to attribute their laid back, somewhat careless, sloppy, easygoing attitudes to some sort of "pleasure" in screwing the management. You might as well argue that they seem to derive some "pleasure" from doing shit work and getting treated like shit by their corporate overlords (which, even if you don't like Hispanos, you have to admit is true).

I mean, do you have Aperger's or something?

I have to say, that I'm a big fan of your site and appreciate all your work. But like it says in your blog's header, "Moved by data, not doctrine." You should stick to the analysis of empirical data, instead of running with anecdotes and extrapolating from them. The latter is definitely not your strong suite.

Ron Guhname said...

"You don't need to attribute their laid back, somewhat careless, sloppy, easygoing attitudes to some sort of 'pleasure' in screwing the management."

So I'm an idiot for noticing that Hispanics might tend to be anti-corporate, and you're what exactly for thinking they're careless and sloppy.

Sloppiness and carelessness is not what I saw. That's you, pal. I just noticed something, and if it's true, I don't think it's that bad. I don't give my employers any more than I have to.

Tom said...

I have seen this kind of behavior from many different sorts of people, but not especially from Hispanics. Asians managing their own shops, Japanese especially, are very generous, maybe just for the good customer relations.

Replying to Hunter, I work with quite a few Hispanics now, and have for years. There are things I don't like about those cultures (varies a lot from country to country and even within different Latin countries) but a poor attitude towards hard work is not one of them.

I find Hispanics no more careless, sloppy easygoing or whatever adjectives you want to use than US Whites of the same social class.

We tend to attract lower class Hispanics, that is a big problem I admit, but they are certainly no worse, and probably better than lower class Whites.

Gatherer said...

"I mean, do you have Aperger's or something?"

In your case, the diagnosis is definite.

Honestly, what some people consider acceptable discourse is just astonishing. And the above was included in a reprimand about social graces, no less.

"Manners? I'll teach you some fucking manners!"

ironrailsironweights said...

Younger Hispanic women in customer service-type jobs such as cashiers often do seem quite pleasant to me. I don't really know about Hispanic men because they're less likely to work in those sort of jobs.

Peter

Ron Guhname said...

Peter: Right. Mormon missionaries have told me that it's many times easier to be invited into a Hispanic home than a white home because the people are much nicer. They may not be the least bit interested, but it's considered rude not to be accommodating. On the customer service issue, it might be less an anti-boss attitude and more a "make the customer happy" attitude. I'm certainly not going to complain very loudly when folks are giving me free stuff.

Anonymous said...

They are warmer as people than WASPs.

Anonymous said...

What do you expect when you cross Med filth with Amerind savagery.

Alex said...

It might just be a coincidence, since service workers are disproportionately Hispanic. I'm not Hispanic, and I usually give the customer the benefit of the doubt when I'm at work.

It might be that employees work in the favor of the customer if they do not think that they will advance within their job (and hence are unconcerned with upsetting their boss). If Hispanics are less likely to see their jobs as careers, then that would explain what you've been noticing.

Diana said...

Ron,

I haven't noticed this at all. I did experience a case of complete favoritism towards a Spanish-speaking customer at my expense, but that was an anomaly and it's not really what you are talking about anyway.

Also, I haven't noticed sloppiness and laid-backness in their work habits. Quite the contrary.

I'm totally opposed to illegal immigration, Ron, but some of the Hispanic-bashing I see on some blogs brings out my inner devil's advocate. Hispanics come from a less developed society that still respects elbow grease and artisanship, something we've completely lost here, we are sooooo advanced.

TGGP said...

Just yesterday I was buying some groceries and the hispanic cashier said an item wasn't ringing up. She asked if I'd be okay with 99 cents. I said sure. She then said how about 25 cents? A glaring example of consumer surplus.

Chuck said...

Ron,

interesting post.

i have noticed the same thing. i can't say it's an immigrant phenomenon because if you go into any chinese food joint, you'll notice that they charge for almost everything, even soda refills. (luckily the food is cheap).

working as a waiter for five years, i have noticed that there are two groups that i benefit from giving a "hook up". blacks and hispanics.

i believe that this does have to do with some anti-corporatist stance. if i want to extract more than $3 from either of these groups at a given table, i have to make it look like i'm hooking them up with free food, or going that extra mile to give them something that nobody else gets.

i do this because i'm trying to put money in my pocket, and i know the tricks of the trade.

another factor is that mexicans are generally more laid back and nonchalant about things like prices. i mean really, a price is somewhat arbitrarily set by the store (obviously with some relation to cost and value of the object). white people tend to treat a price as some immovable object.

in mexico, the barter system prevails in many areas of the country. the extra pasta or the free drink is merely a form of quantity discount where they are saying "eh, this little extra bit won't hurt anything."

also, Hunter, from the first post, is a douchebag.

Anonymous said...

Ron,


If you are in a country illegally, or have relatives who are, and are hoping a big amenesty bill will give you residency here...........would you be uber-kind to the natives in that country so they like you personally?

I would.


Just sayin'. Lots of people are much nicer than normal when visiting somewhere else because they are quite outnumbered there ethnically. I'd be awfully polite in Turkey for instance if I were a traveller there, and obey their laws (visions of the movie, "Midnight Express" in my head, right?).

In general they probably are a bit more outgoing than Anglos in this era. In 1950's America, before we became so socially stratified, you'd have a better chance at initiating a conversastion with a white stranger, because we were all on the same team then. Thats certainly not the case now.

Vanishing American said...

I've dealt with Hispanics in several areas of the country and have never observed this behavior, at all.

If and when it occurs, I would wonder if it might be attributed to a desire to get back at a gringo boss rather than any altruism towards the customer. Either that, or they are confused by an irregularity and don't know how to respond.

As to the comment charging Hispanic-bashing -- please. I see more posts ''bashing'' Anglos than those critical of Hispanics. I guess some haven't noticed that WASPs are on the ropes these days, bashed by everybody. There are way more people defending or praising Hispanics, in true PC fashion, than people bashing them.

Anonymous said...

You haven't whether this kind of behaviour makes economic sense from the company's point of view - small, ad hoc discounts building customer loyalty.

It might do, though clearly it should be the boss's choice.

Anonymous said...

I don't think race matters on this affair except maybe some cultures have a more realistic concept of what a human being is and what it is meant to do.

A corporation always wants its employees to treat the abstract idea of the corporation as a "person". This is clearly not true though. It's a means of creating a totalitarian government that can be used to put all of its workers into sync to create the desired end product: efficiency.

Acknowledging a real person as a person is an action that gives fulfillment to both individuals.

Acknowledging these "superbeings" (WalMart, PickNSave, McDonalds) to have personal qualities is narrowing. These businesses already have a lot of power, making them personable only gives them more that they shouldn't have.

I know others, and on a few occasions myself, have "stuck it to the man" by giving the customer more than they paid for out of vengeance of being narrowed inhumanely by the corporation and the sympathy that the customer is most likely also trapped under some huge abstract organization that it's leaders have attempted to make personable.

I would not like to meet WalMart in a human form.

Anti-corporate is not bad trait, because corporate is not human nature. Aldous Huxley comments that, "We are not social animals, just gregarious. We are not ants like the CEOs would want us to be (one organism) BUT more like wolves working together to do what is necessary to survive."

And as an endnote: People are different from each other, DUUUUUR.

Carbon said...

When I eat at Chipolte, the (most likely illegal) hispanic workers are likely to shovel generous portions into your burrito. By comparison, the white workers can be stingy enough that I have to speak up and ask for more.

Chuck said...

Carbon:

awesome. it pisses me off when i go to chipotle and the manager (at one store he's pakistani at another i go to the manager is asian) is making burritos. he always cheats me on the barbacoa, but the vatos hook it up like i'm family or something.

i really think a big part of it is their "don't give a shit" mentality. i would say that hispanic, in their own minds, are least attached to this society and culture. if worse comes to worse, mexico will be there to go back to. since they are merely glorified visitors, they don't fully acclimate in language or custom.

silver said...

What do you expect when you cross Med filth with Amerind savagery.Free cable?

Anonymous said...

Measuring out food is seen as being cruelly methodical and stingy, and being 'stingy with food' is considered very distasteful in Latin American culture; food is something you just don't deny to people, and if there's a little more, you offer it.

Mensarefugee said...

Hunter said it distastefully...but he has a big point.

You are putting that hispanic trait in a bad light. It could rather, simply be a positive.

Hispanics just might be nicer people in day to day life.

This shouldnt be news, nor should it make whites feel defensive - they got the lions share of stuff to be proud of - aka IQ points.

As Steve Sailer once quoted someone when comparing Israelis and Arabs: "Its easy to like an arab, but easy to respect a Jew"