The topic of the study here presented is retail work in society resulting from mass consumption and the demand for immediate gratification from customers. The author’s thesis is that space and time in the productive and reproductive processes are transformed by two interconnected phenomena: globalization and what she calls immediatization. This paper will firstly examine the category of time as socially constructed in postmodern society. Secondly, we will observe how the dimension of time is perceived now in two situated contexts, shopping streets in two European metropolitan cities, Corso Buenos Aires in Milan, Italy (1) and Oxford Street in London, United Kingdom (2). The case studies have been chosen for the density of stores and the affluence of potential customers. Through a qualitative research the author examined the perceptions of young retail shift workers (RSWs) about their working times (shift work, working on holidays and Sundays) and rhythms (fast-paced work).
Keywords: Retail work, deregulation, time, alienation