Gender Effect in Discourse: The Gender Dynamics in Language Use Within Service Encounters At Trader Joe’s

Denise Yanez, Natalie Leon, Diana Rinza, Maya Araujo, Zoe Klein

As customers navigate the bustling aisles of the grocery store, you finish and make your way to the checkout line. Ahead of you, a young woman, approximately your age is greeting customers with a welcoming smile. She is wearing a Hawaiian shirt that distinguishes her as a Trader Joe’s employee. When you get to her, she immediately greets you and asks about your day. She seems genuinely interested and even shares her favorite products for lunch. The adjacent cashier is an older man who rings up customers with a professional smile and a brief “Have a nice day.” Despite keeping it simple, he demonstrates the positive qualities attributed to a traditional Trader Joe’s employee. The following article will center around the interactions between customers and employees and how they differ based on a cashier’s gender expression. Research suggests a correlation between age and gender regarding these interactions. For this study, we each went to a Trader Joe’s and recorded our interactions with a male cashier and a female cashier. We concluded that while it appears that young female cashiers prefer to engage in conversational interactions, older male cashiers use a more traditional communication style when interacting with customers.

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