Anthropology and Cooks (was Re: underground societies)

Michael Bauser (
Mon, 03 Apr 95 13:29:19 EDT

In article <>
alan davis mcintyre <> writes:

>Recently at work (I am a line cook fitting job for an anthropologist eh? Not.)

Boy, do I know how that feels. Five years in this major, and the only
appreciable job skills I've got are the ability to ask rude questions
without restraint and the ability to dig ditchs with really straight
walls. Cooks ought to have their own section in the AAA by now.

You know, I *tried* to bring my experiences as cook and anthropologist
together once. As an undergrad, I once had to give some lightweight
class presentation about anthropological views of labor relations.
After doing the requisite light reading, I decided to run with the
concept of simple goal conflict, namely that employees want "The most
pay and the least work" and management wants "Maximum work and minimum
payroll". I asked all the people at work if that's sounded right to
them. Everybody said "yes". Fine with me. That's enough fieldwork
for a ten minute presentation, right?

When I actually gave the presentation, some girl in the front row
just plain snapped, apparently deciding I was an anti-labor elitist
who was calling all service-industry employees lazy. I was two weeks
from graduation at that point, and that was the first time anybody
had ever stunned me into silence by the ferocity of their misunder-

Didn't do too well on *that* presentation. The best compliment the
professor (my advisor!) could come up with was "You have a good
lecturing voice". Sigh. I've learned to be much more defensive

(The restaurant, by the way, was the Big Boy's in Toledo, Ohio that
had its Big Boy statue stolen and hacked to pieces last month. That's
in no way relevant to this post (which wasn't relevant to the subject
of the last post, anyway), but I just felt like sharing.)

Michael Bauser <>
"It's participant observation. Honest!"