The provider, the customer and the consumer Sociology of a trade relation
This article follows the development of a particular type of commercial relation between the different actors involved in the selling of a service : in other words, the service provider, the customer and the consumer. Based on an empirical study within a collective catering company, this analysis reconstructs the means used by the supplier to give the consumer a particular role to form a relationship which provides the conditions so that supply and demand come together. By giving the consumer means of action and expression, the service provider becomes the customer’s spokesperson. This reverses the roles between actors and demand. In the case of school catering, where the political factor is more meaningful, there is additional understanding of the situation. This new understanding makes it possible to follow special methods implemented by the service provider to give out a role and differents types of action to the various actors : mayors, children and schoolchildren’s parents. It is then possible to note that the way trade relations operate depends on the type of set up introduced by the actors in order to define and distribute a product or a service.