Nov 16 2014
As I arrived at the Spotsylvania Mall in the Towne Center to do my last fieldwork post, I made a few observations. At 11:15 am, on a chilly Friday morning, around 40°, there seemed to be a plenitude of cars in the parking lot which left me looking for the closest parking spot I could find. This problem in comparison to Downtown Fredericksburg and Walmart did not exist. With Downtown Fredericksburg, everyone knows parking is limited so I knew that I would have to park and walk, and with Walmart, I got a close parking spot to the store. Although there were a lot of cars in the parking lot, there was little vehicle traffic when I arrived and there was also little foot traffic outside of the mall. There was also a Fred bus outside the mall providing rides to potential customers. Even though I didn’t see any, semi-trucks are where the stores in the mall get their products. As with Downtown Fredericksburg and Walmart, the Spotsylvania Mall has consumer goods, food, and personal items, although it varies a little bit. Walmart only had one spot for customers to eat, McDonalds, and Downtown has too many to count, whereas the mall has about six or so. These places are also located inside of the mall, whereas Downtown they are all their own buildings. But, as with Walmart, every demographic was in the mall, mainly middle aged white folks and younger African Americans.
The first shop that I wandered into in the mall was a quaint little shop called “The Virginia Diner Shoppe”. This store reminded me a lot of Papagallos from Downtown Fredericksburg. As I entered the store, the employee, who was an older white male, spoke to me; he was very friendly and personable and asked how I was. As a perused, I noticed this store was mainly food items that are produced and packaged from all over Virginia. These items were candles, peanuts, honey, jam, syrup, candy and sauces. There were also collegiate sport team items and NFL merchandise. They also sold tervis’s! The Virginia Diner Shoppe used small price tickets, put on the bottom of the item, to display the cost.
The second store that I wandered into was JC Penney. This is a large chain store that is nationwide. As I walked through the opening, I noticed that it was fairly busy, from what I could tell, most of the customers were middle aged white folks. Another observation I made was, not only did price tags display necessary information, but there were price signs that displayed prices for specials that were currently being held. The closer to the back of the store I got, the more African Americans I saw. I was disappointed with this JC Penney, however, because this one only sold men’s apparel. This was not displayed anywhere. Other than men’s clothes being sold, the back of the store was reserved for Holiday items, kitchen items and bedding. The employees in JC Penney were rude, however, because many of them looked at me but only one of them said “hi”. This is when I left and wandered into my third store.
The third store I chose to look in was Charlotte Russe. Charlotte Russe is a US chain store that targets pre-teens to mid-twenty girls. The shoppers in Charlotte Russe, when I was in there, were younger and of all demographics. Charlotte Russe, like JC Penney used price tags and price plates. What was different about Charlotte Russe from Downtown, Walmart and JC Penney was that all of the newer items were in the front of the store and clearance was in the back. Charlotte Russe was also unorganized, just like Walmart. Again, like JC Penney, no employees spoke.
As I wandered out of Charlotte Russe and walked around trying to find Professor Moon, it gave me a chance to do some observations of the mall itself. There were kiosks in the middle section of the mall; the only ones that had customers from what I noticed were the Verizon and AT&T kiosks. Since it is the Holiday season, Santa was in located in the dead center of the mall. He was a little busy taking pictures but not how it is when December rolls around. I walked down to the food court, because by this time it was 11:45 am, so I was expecting there to be a lot of people eating and lines at the restaurants, but there were not; not many people were eating at all. Walking back up the mall, near where I entered, I noticed lots of foot traffic. There were couples, kids who should have been at school and middle aged adults, of all demographics walking around.
I really have no connection or disconnection with the mall. My overall analysis is that, like with Downtown Fredericksburg, it appeals to all senses. There are many restaurants, clothes stores and consumer goods stores that everyone can hopefully find what they are looking for. And, if you have a Costco card, you can even do your bulk shopping because Costco is part of the mall.
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