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The Milkman and his Customer: A Cultivated Relationship

The Milkman and his Customer: A Cultivated Relationship


The Milkman and his Customer: A Cultivated Relationship SAGE Publications, Inc.1972DOI: 10.1177/089124167200100201 Odis E.Bigus University of California, San Francisco ODIS E. BIGUS is a doctoral student in sociology at the His interests include research in the areas of suburbanization, middle-class life styles, and alcoholism. h.MERICA IS A SERVICE SOCIETY-so much so that essentially nonservice institutions, such as stores, take on service-like characteristics (Goffman, 1961: 326).' This emphasis on service has given rise to a preponderance of a particular kind of social activity, which I will refer to as "cultivating," and an associated kind of social relationship, which I will refer to as a "cultivated relationship." "Culti- vating" as it is used here refers to the courting and wooing activities engaged in by servicers in relations with those whom they service. Cultivating techniques are employed with the intent of either directly or indirectly gaining a reward (usually monetary). "Cultivated relationships" are relationships which AUTHOR'S NOTE: I wish to express my thanks to Barney Glaser, Robert Nicholson, Virginia Olesen, and Leonard Schatzman for their valuable comments and suggestions on earlier drafts of this paper, and to E. Linwood Tipton of the Milk Industry Foundation for providing me with information about
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