Сервис против клиента.Отношение посетителей и персонала как советский антагонизм (по материалам жалобных книг вагонов-ресторанов начала 1930-х годов)
We analyze the Complaints and Suggestions Journals maintained at the dining cars in trains run by Soviet Railroads in the early 1930s. A certain level of hostilities has arisen between customers and the personnel following the emancipation of service employees, who started being viewed by consumers as an obstacle to be overcome rather than assistants in obtaining access to goods and services. Both sides armed themselves with numerous regulations, ordinances, instruction manuals, and booklets. One side was mastering the art of composing complaints, the other was improving the phrasing of formal replies and runaround response patterns. The complaints reveal daily life problems as well as eating habits and gastronomic preferences of some categories of passengers, also indicating their tolerance level beyond which they considered the situation unacceptable. Mostly written by members of the middle class emerging in the cities, lower levels of Soviet civil servants, bosses of various scales, and servicemen, the complaints represent an important source for every-day life and social history studies. They allow reconstructing a number of rules observed in communications between customers and stuff, and reveal the improvised ideological grounding invoked in an attempt to catch the attention of authorities. We claim that the widespread popularity of the genre of complaints was a side effect of mass literacy, and the ideological interpretations were the result of the struggle for justice. The paper is based on Materials of the People’s Commissariat of Supplies, previously unpublished, and the regulatory documents, manuals, and booklets of the 1930s–1940s specifying rules for the provision of passenger services and for the writing of complaints.