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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," Dimitri mutters.

Next: Results - New Shirts and Old Frustrations About Low Wages >>>

Bob works to get everything ship shape in the guest cabins.
 
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