How to Manage Objectification

It is important to note that I have been a Barista for 3 years and have had numerous amount of amazing moments that I will continue to look back on year into the future.

Barista by Bart Heird liscensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Objectification is defined as to treat as an object. When I title how to manage objectification I am discussing the specific instant in the customer service industry that during an interaction with another human being, you are reduced to a mere object. An example of this objectification, and alienation from self would be one day a customer came in, walked up to the register and placed an order for one Tall Americano with extra room. I craft the drink and customarily leave one-fourth of the cup empty for the extra room. With great satisfaction I hand off the speciality and with the customary dismissal I say, “have a nice day.”. She proceeds to take the lid off the cup to ensure that she received a quality drink that she asked for with her specifications.

The customer then gets my attention to correct the issue, she states that she asked for extra room and that this is not that. I happily oblige asking questions to gage approximately how much room she requested. I proceed to pour out about one shot glass full (about 2 ounces) of the hot water espresso mixture. She then using a tone fit for a dog that is disobeying orders says, “Make it again.”. As I do not view myself as a four legged creature with fur I reply calmly and with a smile, “I am more than happy to remake the Americano for you, as long as you treat me like a human.”. I begin to remake the drink ensuring quality espresso shot times, and only filling the cup this time half way so is to provide her with the quality drink that she deserves. She took the drink and left the store. This is an example of the labor force that I am apart of devalues me to less than an human, and objectification of my existence. I refuse to allow anyone to take away my value without being disrespectful to their value.

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Philosophical Approach

Being someone that works in the customer service industry this is known to happen; this does not however attenuate the experiences I have had with countless number of people. Karl Marx describes the feelings associated to being belittled down to less than a human (a commodity). I all to often have the distinct feeling of being nothing more than a pawn being moved from position to position, producing coffee, specialty drinks, food, and constantly cleaning. It was said by Marx that “the devaluation of the human world increases in direct relation with the increase in value of the world of things.” (Marx, 55). The value of the products I produce are greatly influencing the capacities of the customer service industry. It is expected with larger companies that not only politeness but friendliness is demanded. This inauthenticity demeans the worth of true friendliness, human connection, and the way in which humans define their existence for themselves. In order to survive and “thrive” in the society and system I continue to work hard, and try to be innovative within my small niche community. Which falls right in line with the words of Karl Marx in Alienated Labor, “The worker puts his life into the object and his life then belongs no longer to himself but the object.” (Marx, 56).


In honest reflection I can say that my current existence belongs to an object and not to myself. The core of this post is to say that through human connection and experience I have valued that life is more than the caged animal spirit. That so far I value existence not by contemplating what came before me, or my inevitable death but to thrive in the now that I’ve been placed in, to discover more meanings and values. As well as unveil my unique capabilities to fulfill what I am to do in this world while I am here. This customer service based job may alienate me in the here and the now but it will not forever. I may move on to a new rat race on a larger scale but it will provide me with the things I will need to prolong my death to experience what I view to be life for as long as I can. “Every man’s foremost task is the actualization of his unique, unprecedented, and never-recurring potentialities.”…”True, each is to know itself, purify itself, perfect itself, but not it own sake… but for the sake of the work which it is destined to preform upon the world.”(Buber, 167).

None of this contemplation devalues what authentic experiences I have had which color my life.

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Thank you so much guys, until next time.