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Drawing on original ethnographic research and interweaving food servers' voices with theories of labor, this article examines the emotional content of interactions between customers and workers in restaurants. It addresses the potential benefits of emotional labor, the effect of gender on how workers make sense of and cope with the demands of their jobs, and the work culture that arises as a result of workers' approaches to the emotional demands of their jobs. The article culminates with a discussion of the potential for exploitation when servers, particularly waitresses, begin to care for the customers who pay them.