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Tableside Justice: Racial Differences in Retributive Reactions to Dissatisfaction

Tableside Justice: Racial Differences in Retributive Reactions to Dissatisfaction Existing evidence indicates that racial discrimination is a common, if not pervasive, feature of Black Americans’ experiences in U.S. consumer markets. However, few studies have quantitatively explored specific social psychological and interactional consequences of consumer racial discrimination. In response, we draw from literatures on experiences, attributions, and reactions to racial discrimination to posit and test for Black-White differences in consumers’ behavioral responses to dissatisfactory dining experiences. Specifically, past research shows that Black Americans’ dissatisfactory experiences in consumer markets are more often perceived to be the result of consumer racial discrimination. Given their increased exposure to racial discrimination in consumer markets and the United States more broadly, we posit that Black customers will react more punitively to dissatisfactory restaurant experiences than White customers. We test this notion using a within-subject experimental design and regression analyses of survey data collected from a consumer panel of White and Black U.S. adults (n = 307). Results indicate that Black respondents in this sample are more likely than White respondents to penalize their server’s tips and lodge a complaint when dissatisfied with restaurant food and/or service. These findings are consistent with the prediction that Black American consumers tend to react more punitively on average to dissatisfactory consumer experiences than Whites and are consistent with prior scholarship linking coercive and unjust experiences to retributive behaviors. We conclude by discussing implications of these results and the need for further research on racial discrimination in U.S. restaurants and related consumer markets. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sociology of Race and Ethnicity SAGE

Tableside Justice: Racial Differences in Retributive Reactions to Dissatisfaction

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© American Sociological Association 2017
ISSN
2332-6492
eISSN
2332-6506
DOI
10.1177/2332649216683966
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Existing evidence indicates that racial discrimination is a common, if not pervasive, feature of Black Americans’ experiences in U.S. consumer markets. However, few studies have quantitatively explored specific social psychological and interactional consequences of consumer racial discrimination. In response, we draw from literatures on experiences, attributions, and reactions to racial discrimination to posit and test for Black-White differences in consumers’ behavioral responses to dissatisfactory dining experiences. Specifically, past research shows that Black Americans’ dissatisfactory experiences in consumer markets are more often perceived to be the result of consumer racial discrimination. Given their increased exposure to racial discrimination in consumer markets and the United States more broadly, we posit that Black customers will react more punitively to dissatisfactory restaurant experiences than White customers. We test this notion using a within-subject experimental design and regression analyses of survey data collected from a consumer panel of White and Black U.S. adults (n = 307). Results indicate that Black respondents in this sample are more likely than White respondents to penalize their server’s tips and lodge a complaint when dissatisfied with restaurant food and/or service. These findings are consistent with the prediction that Black American consumers tend to react more punitively on average to dissatisfactory consumer experiences than Whites and are consistent with prior scholarship linking coercive and unjust experiences to retributive behaviors. We conclude by discussing implications of these results and the need for further research on racial discrimination in U.S. restaurants and related consumer markets.

Journal

Sociology of Race and EthnicitySAGE

Published: Jul 1, 2017

Keywords: racial discrimination; attributions to discrimination; tipping; consumer racial profiling; complaining behavior

References