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Non-human capitalism: the client-performer hierarchy dies

It is unlikely that anyone will remember when the taxi drivers stopped knowing the way. When the knowledge of the city ceased to be as much a part of the profession as the ability to twist the steering wheel.

When to build a route became the responsibility of the client, and the client ceased to be surprised. Is it because the former taxi drivers grew old and left the business, and new ones, almost without exception, came in their place? Or did it just coincide, and was it part of something bigger, some kind of global process?

One way or another, and the passenger could no longer expect that the car would be brought to the porch, that the driver would exit and open the door, and then the passenger would doze off in pillows or admire the views, because everything else was the driver’s care. Now the passenger had to run around the block to look for this idiot, and then be on his guard the whole trip so that this idiot did not turn where he didn’t need to, that is, work with him as a navigator, for his money, we’ll notice in brackets. It turned out that the passenger no longer buys the service, but enters into a kind of cooperation with the driver, where they, as it were, temporarily united in a team, jointly solve the problem of delivering one of them to the destination.

“Will we conclude a partnership agreement or will we get there?”
“Will we conclude a partnership agreement or will we get there?”
Most of the passengers reconciled immediately, and those who did not reconcile grumbled mainly on the topic that all this, sorry for the mat, team work is at their expense, and they loved to ask rhetorically: what are they actually paying for? No one saw the main thing behind this arithmetic: that as a result of this merger into the team, the passenger and driver became equal.

The customer ceased to be a customer, he lost his status and all privileges, this status accompanying. The distance, which for centuries has determined the relationship between the customer and the contractor in the service sector, has ceased to exist.

In a past life, at the time of beaver coats and dashing triples, a cab driver who did not know the road was a topic for jokes, that is, the situation was considered egregious. Barin, hiring a scorcher, expected for himself complete serenity, and from that, in turn, professional competence plus courtesy on the verge of servility. And the situation was exactly the same in the entire service sector, from the hairdresser to the solicitor (this is not a cook, this is a lawyer, if anyone does not know). The customer – seller relationship in the industrial era repeated the pre-industrial barin-servant model, that is, it was a direct projection of the estate relations of the previous format. The fact that the serf was diligent so as not to be squandered, and a free entrepreneur to earn a living, this change of motivation in itself was a great progress. But outwardly the whole ritual remained the same – they bowed to the client and tried for his sake exactly as they had bowed before the master. The client was a source of income, they were interested in him, therefore, the client was not only always right – he, not being a lord, could feel himself a lord during the service, and this was also part of the transaction, that is, the client paid for these sensations. In the client-performer relationship, the client always stood hierarchically higher, and the entire service model emphasized this.

Alternative opinion: Excessive service harms your business, or How not to be a caring grandmother for a client

The market of the industrial era functioned according to a simple “demand vs supply” scheme; labor was cheap, there was a struggle for demand, and the service climbed out of the skin for the sake of clientele. The opposite situation – when the seller of the service sorted through customers, rude and turned his face – was possible only in conditions of deficit, when demand outstripped supply by an order of magnitude, for example, in countries with planned economies. A passenger ran after a Soviet taxi driver with his ears pressed and begged to render him a service almost on an auction basis. And the taxi driver was already deciding whether to deign or not. Such an inverted hierarchy pervaded the entire sphere of services: there was a struggle for the attention of the hairdresser, waiter and tailor, and the tailor was already a gentleman for his client, and clients competed among themselves, somewhere at the bottom of the estate pyramid. But still, it was a market, though inside out, that is, the main one was the one who was needed, and before it creeped and fawned.

By the way, this moribund market Through the Looking Glass of the late scoop gave rise to another amazing phenomenon, long anticipating the current post-industrial trends. When there were not enough butchers and hairdressers at all, the client had to not only pay them. They had to be friends with. In order to have access to their services, one had to enter into personal relations with them and carefully maintain these relations. That is, in addition to the cost of the service, there was still such a kind of emotional margin. You could not just go in and pay, you still had to talk for life, plus offer some kind of counter courtesy; it should not have looked like a deal, but like a collaboration, if not a partnership.

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