Oct 26 2014

Walmart Fieldwork

Published by at 4:02 pm under Uncategorized

My roommate, Theo and I arrived to Walmart around 11:05 am on the morning of Friday, October 24th. As it should be on an October day, it was sunny, around 65° and a little windy, which made it chilly. While driving up to Walmart, I noticed that there was a little vehicle traffic, for customers of Walmart, and a bus that helped to bring shoppers to their destination. While walking up to Walmart, there were quite a few customers leaving, but there were a lot of customers inside Walmart. I also observed that there were no delivery trucks at this time. This is where my shopping experience was different from Downtown Fredericksburg. When observing Downtown, the customers seemed to be older and white, while at Walmart, the demographics changed. I noticed not only were there older white folks, there were an equal amount of young African Americans. Walmart is a consumer goods store that sells items for every need; these items include food (cold, frozen, fresh, and boxed/canned), clothes (for men, women, boys, girls and babies), shoes, automotive care, hunting, sporting, toys, holiday needs, pharmaceutical, toiletries, and jewelry/accessories. Another observation that was different from Downtown is that Walmart uses price tags as their main selling pattern, instead of being able to be in contact with a person to ask about the item or the price. The employees, both male and female, are also not a friendly as they were in Downtown Fredericksburg, they do not just walk up to customers and strike up conversation like those who work Downtown. The three sections that I decided to explore were all different in the way they were organized and the objects that were trying to be sold. The first department that I decided to wander through was the Halloween section. Although I was in that section for a specific reason, there were some observations that I made. The first observation was that the Halloween costumes are in a section of the store that is noticeable and accessible to all customers. The second observation that I made is how it was organized, one aisle accessories, one was costumes, another was buckets and items to carry along on Halloween, and on the backside was candy. The second section that I wandered to was the jewelry/ accessory department. While wandering, I noticed how Walmart isn’t organized very well. In this section, the hats are near the purses and backpacks, and those are near piggybanks and other small items that could be good gift ideas and this whole section is near the jewelry. The third section that I wandered through was the food. Along the perimeter of half the store are the cold foods, such as meat, yogurt, cheese, dairy, juices and eggs. The first aisles are frozen food and then all the other aisles are those that use preservatives to help shelf life, these include peanut butter, canned items, candy, cereals, chips, cookies and various other items. Once I was done observing and shopping, I needed to find Theo so that my car could leave. This was a problem but turned out to be beneficial. As I walked through the store, I looked at other departments and customers to see if I noticed anything unusual. Walking though the bedding/house-ware section, I stumbled across a man who had a full facial tattoo. This caught me off guard because he didn’t look as though he would be one to be out in public shopping during the day. Once I passed him, it allowed me to notice how the right half of Walmart was organized. Starting from the back, it goes Automotive, Sporting, Toys, then miscellaneous, which at this time of year just happened to be the Christmas items. Swinging around to the front of the store, still looking for Theo, I passed the personal care/ pharmacy section. At this point it was about 11:30 am and the line for the pharmacy was extremely long, the main customers being elderly folks. Eventually finding Theo at McDonalds located in Walmart, we were able to leave and conclude observations at Walmart. I have no connection or disconnection with Walmart. My overall analysis of Walmart is that it makes it easier as a college student being able to go to a store that can satisfy all my needs in one stop, but it isn’t always my go to store. Walmart is one of the cheaper, non-bulk stores that can help college students save money on groceries, or clothing.

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