How historically accurate is the portrayal of the interaction between the worker/labor class and the sales/middle class in the British sitcom 'Are You Being Served?"
So, I like the show but I can't help but wonder at some of the assumptions/portrayals that the writers seem to bring up throughout the show.
Yes, I know it's a sitcom and I know how sitcoms tend to exaggerate things but I wasn't old enough (read:born) to understand how they did things during the timeframe when it was produced, nor have I ever had the chance to experience British culture outside of a casual friend or two so things like transport strikes or socialized paid maternity leave (both things that are mentioned within the first few shows) aren't in my wheelhouse either.
But those are subsidiary to the main question, mostly the interactions between Mr.Mash
and the other characters are what interest me.
I'm re-rewatching the series now and haven't gotten that far yet but even within the first few episodes it's been mentioned that the middle management/white collar staff make less money than Mr.Mash who is, admittedly a long tenured, blue collar worker. This isn't something that's totally foreign to me having worked in industrial settings where union employees can, and often do, bring home large paychecks but I just wonder if lower/middle-echelon white collar workers in that place/time really were making the pittance of wages they make themselves out to make.
Ditto for the speaking tendencies and ultra-proper, to an American like me anyway, manner of addressing each other. Like Mr.Mash and other blue collar workers not being allowed on the floor after the store is open, different bathroom/dining privileges, and the constant uncomfortable overstatement of this worker or the other "being free, at the moment". Again, I know a bit of this has to be sitcom pandering and gag loyalty mixed in with a good bit of camp
I guess there's a bit of me that doesn't think the secretary/female ass-slapping could be anywhere near as bad as it's portrayed either but I don't want the male/female aspect to be too much of a distraction from the social focus of the question.
Where is this palpable and distinct tension between the two groups of people coming from? Is it based solely upon their... roles? jobs? backgrounds? income? union membership? a combination thereof?