Serving Drinks and Cleaning Rooms
On the second day of the cruise, Dickinson gets his "trial
by fire" on the sweltering, 100-degree-plus temperatures at
the pool deck. Drinks cost extra on board the ship and make Carnival
good profits. To encourage staff to sell more drinks, the company
only pays waiters like Chris $48 each month. He has to earn a living
wage from tips. Simple economics: more drinks equal more tips. Hot
and flustered on the pool deck, Dickinson can't get anywhere close
to the volume of drinks Chris serves.
Later, the top boss is even more humbled when he accompanies Alina
on her second shift of cleaning cabins. Her job demands are heartbreaking.
Alina explains, "I must work from 6 in the morning until 12
afternoon, then from 4 to 10 in the night. I lost weight so much
just because I cried so much at the beginning." Yes, and because
the staff kitchen sometimes closes for lunch service before Alina
can finish her morning shift.
And if Alina's customers don't feel like tipping, she gets little
reward for her hard work. She's paid $1.50 per day to clean 19 cabins
on the Empress deck. At least Dickinson sympathizes. "It's
one thing to intellectually know that you're working hard,"
he says, "but when you're working yourself and you're sweating
then you really know physically how hard it is. It gives me a deeper
appreciation ... "
Dickinson performs well as a waiter at the ship's formal dinner,
where he works with Kumar and Dimitri. But when the first seating
has ended, and staff has only 15 minutes to reset the tables for
the next group of passengers, Bob uses special privilege and dashes
out for a quick dinner break. "I wish I could go, too,"
Next: Results - New Shirts and Old Frustrations
About Low Wages >>>