Part one was mainly about how a company's customers come to hate the company's workers, a hatred overriding their shared class interests.
Part two was mainly about the reverse: how the workers come to hate the customers, overriding yadda yadda.
This part will be about how worker turns on worker at the same company. I don't think I have a coherent essay in me about this, so some numbered points will follow. This is also gonna be shorter than the other parts. While I'm predicting the future, early next year President Obama will announce that he has been in communication with extraterrestrials; by the end of the year, alien technology will have cured all human illness and ushered in a new era of peace lasting three millennia. During this time, however, the Firefox spellchecker will not yet have learned how to spell Obama, millennia, or, for that matter, Rhode Island.
For the present, here are some things I want to say.
1. Corporations like keep staffing to a bare minimum. In every customer service job I've ever worked, this means that regular staffing on a regular day is just enough to sustain near-crisis levels without slipping into actual-crisis. Of course, this means that when someone takes time off, you get crises. And since people tend to think in terms of immediate causes rather than underlying systems, you get workers resenting other workers for taking time off. This effect is even stronger when only certain people have the training or authorization to do certain required tasks.
2. There is a strong cultural taboo against telling anyone how much you make, or asking how much other people make. In many workplaces, there is official policy backing it up--in my job, discussing pay is a firing offense. Most people seem to think that this is good, that pay should be just as private as, say, masturbatory fantasies. This is weird. The fact that I make x amount per hour (and I won't be specific here because I'm a slave who's lucky to be owned) is not some sort of fact about me; it's a fact about where my employer's desire to retain employees rather than train new ones intersects with their desire to wring as much profit out of each employee as possible (and, of course, where each of these intersects with the availability of other employment).
Concealing this fact is of course useful to the company. If I don't know how much the people I work with make, I don't know if there is significant inequality between me and them: do different jobs make unreasonably different amounts? Do different people (say, men and women) doing the same job get different pay? Not knowing the extent of the inequality makes organizing to combat it more difficult, and keeps each of us isolated, focused on #3.
3. And #3 is the competition for raises and promotions that workplaces encourage. In an environment of peers who feel no solidarity, all working at pay scales that are typically near-sustenance level for the lifestyle we've been raised to think of as necessary (and which the constructed environments we live in to a large extent require), in which there are limited opportunities to improve those pay scales, this competition can easily become consuming. We all must strive constantly to be the best worker we can be (from the company's perspective), so that at those times when raises or promotions are available, we'll have a record that reflects well on us (from the company's perspective). Often this striving takes the form of monitoring our coworkers for our employer's benefit. And in the specific case--say, one higher paying job opens up, the company is hiring internally, and there are ten people who want the job--we will do anything we can to benefit ourselves, which typically includes something that is detrimental to others. Then, should one person be successful, the others who are unsuccessful will resent that person--he or she got something they deserved. This resentment is of course misplaced (it is not the worker but the employer that has created this situation), but it is easily understandable, and hard to avoid, especially for those not in a habit of examining systemic issues, as I mentioned in #1.
So the customer hates the worker, the worker hates the customer, and the workers hate each other. The company, above all of them, is relatively unscathed.
If there's a part four, it'll be examining all of this at work in a video of an incident at a Target store--it was the video that inspired all these essays. Fans of bloggy novelty will want to skip it, as the video was posted all the way back in July. Who could have predicted back then that I'd still be on about this?
PS Ha ha, I guess it wasn't shorter. Whoops! My other predictions are still accurate.