Care and Support, by Saudamini Kalra and Neena Percy, 2019
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Work is worship. Love is service. The customer is always right.
The interaction between customer and employee involves complicated role-playing based on power, gender and economic relationships. This is particularly apparent in the world of Customer Service Representatives, who serve to bear the often-trivial ire of strangers with a smile. They are trained to be calm under pressure, polite in the face of insolence, and all-forgiving. Only in the most extreme of cases are they to “talk back”.
At times exciting, at times humiliating – the role-play of customer service can be seen as a form of performance itself. In the film, the lines between performer and employee are blurred as the protagonist is seen going through a range of warm up exercises, rehearsals and moments of anxiety as she prepares to take on the personality of a “happy to serve” employee.