Waiting for the customer: Multimodal analysis of waiting in service encounters

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The paper examines the activity of a salesperson waiting for a customer to make up his or her mind in Finnish and Finland Swedish service encounters in bakeries. In service encounters, studies have usually focused on the waiting customer. This paper concentrates on the salesperson waiting for a customer to choose a product. In these cases, waiting is a form of availability on the part of the salesperson, who nevertheless maintains some discretion. It is a professional posture that relies on an unfocused monitoring of the customer. Waiting is sometimes described as inaction or idleness, a sort of a non-action that continues until the primary activity can be initiated or continued. Multimodal analysis of waiting shows that, in reality, waiting involves systematic employment of embodied resources, such as standing and holding the arms in a particular way and withdrawing the gaze. In this way, a salesperson carefully demonstrates availability while simultaneously avoiding the initiation of any action or exerting any pressure. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Pages (from-to)48–75
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6160 Other humanities

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