Nov 06 2014

Walmart Fieldwork Post

Published by under Uncategorized

I apologize about how late this post is… I really have no excuse to be honest.

On Friday, October 25th, I got a ride to the Walmart in Central Park from Ashton and her roommate. We departed from campus at around 11:00 A.M. from outside of Pollard on College Avenue and arrived at our destination some fifteen minutes later at 11:15 A.M. The weather was pretty normal; fair conditions. It was mildly cloudy and around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The location of the Walmart we visited is in Central Park and can be found on 1800 Carl D Silver Parkway. Once we arrived at the store, Ashton and I split up and I strolled around the maze of merchandise to take notes.

As it is a giant chain retailer, retail items are delivered by trucks to the grocery side of the building, where they are unloaded into the warehouse. The store is divided into a grocery area (essentially a small supermarket within the Walmart), a clothing section, a technology section (which includes a wall of huge flat screen TV’s),  a toy section, a bedding/furniture section, a hunting section, a toiletries section and many other miscellaneous aisle filled with merchandise such as automotive care, shoes and sporting. What struck me is that you can even buy fish there. Like, you can buy pet fish at a Walmart. The thought of that was quite surreal. In front of the registers in the front of the store, there is a pharmacy, a bank, a McDonald’s, a small arcade area, an eyeglass store and a nail salon. Walmart truly is like a mini-mall in itself. I spent about ten minutes perusing the “Outdoors” section and was shocked that alongside BB-guns, paintballs and slingshots, Walmart actually sells real ammunition. You could potentially buy your milk and cereal and then meander over and buy yourself some buckshot ammo for a shotgun. Again, like with the fishes, a surreal experience for me.

I asked an employee a few questions about transportation and how many employees worked at the Walmart. She seemed quite suspicious of me and wasn’t particularly friendly. This is a big difference in my eyes from the employees of a big corporate retailer such as Walmart and those that work in local, non-chain stores like The Oldetowne Butcher. The employee that I spoke with there was very friendly and went out of her way to help me. I essentially felt like I was doing something wrong by just walking around Walmart and was only met by critical or suspicious looks by the employees.

While she wasn’t particularly personable, the employee I spoke with did answer my questions. Walmart workers arrive either by bus or by car. There is a bus stop nearby which many people seem to take. I asked her if anyone bikes or walks to work and she said no, not to her knowledge. The giant parking lot in front of the store offers plenty of room for both customers and employees to find adequate parking, even at peak hours. She also told me that around 400 people work at that particular Walmart. By looking around, I found that most of them are Hispanic.

The shoppers at Walmart couldn’t be more diverse. While I saw mainly lower class consumers, there were people of all ages, ethnicities and economic statures. I saw college students, young professionals (although it was an odd hour- maybe on lunch break?), old citizens and families among. I did also see somewhat sketchy-looking people such as a man whose entire face and head was covered in tattoos. All in all, there were many different types of people there. This is because Walmart is simply so convenient- you can knock out grocery shopping and shopping for electronics in one go. Furthermore, the prices are so cheap that it is hard to shy away. The store is always busy, even in times of poor weather, although many people may strategically come in the day before a storm to stock up on groceries and essentials as well.

The sheer amount of merchandise is mind-blowing. You can seemingly buy anything there. This calls for selling patterns and sales strategies such as putting discounted goods in bins in the center of the aisles. The bins have giant letters spelling “Low Price” on them. Seasonal products can also be found in prime foot traffic flow areas such as the center of the large aisles. As it was right before Halloween when we visited, Halloween decorations and a plethora of different candy options were up at the front of the store. This helps set the stage for the season- even if you’re there to buy something else, you’ll see the Halloween decorations and feel compelled to buy some. What struck me is that so many of the employees just had a annoyed and gloomy demeanor. It really seemed like many of the employees simply didn’t want to be there. This affects the selling patterns because the employees aren’t very personable or aggressive salespeople, although they probably don’t have to be.

Throughout my walk around the store, I bumped into Prudence, Shannon, Professor Moon and Liz & Erin. It was kind of funny seeing everyone doing their own thing in different sections of Walmart. At around noon, I then headed to the McDonald’s and bought lunch and then promptly saw Ashton gesturing that we were leaving. Then we departed Walmart. Overall, I do not feel connected to the retail space that is Walmart and actually really dislike going there despite its convenience. This is because I much prefer a more intimate and personal consumer environment that might be offered in a small local store.

Professor Moon, I am very sorry about this being so late. I have fallen behind on a few of the blog posts but am making an effort to get back on track. Hopefully you’ll still award me some credit for this fieldwork blog post.

Comments Off on Walmart Fieldwork Post

Oct 30 2014

#EveryDayShouldFeelThisGood, If You Buy Our Tote

Published by under The Shopping Blog

I am not a purse girl. My wristlet is years old and falling apart, and it’s only lasted this long because I prefer to slide my student ID into my phone case and eliminate carrying anything extra. It’s a little inconvenient, even though I do own a fairly pricey Longchamp purse. My grandparents noticed that my every day items (cell phone, keys, wallet, etc.) were always misplaced, and took it upon themselves to fix it. My grandfather discovered that we both liked Vineyard Vines products, and gave me the Vineyard Vines Classic Whale Tote for Christmas last year.

The bag comes in a variety of patterns, with more novelty designs available for $105. The most reliable places to buy them are Vineyard Vines stores, which are most prominent in Massachusetts. However, they can be found online in places such as eBay. According to Google Shopping, however, they can only be purchased through Vineyard Vines. My grandfather is older, and opted to go the easiest route of purchasing from their official site for $95.

Every time a purchase is made from the retailer directly, one of the classic whale bumper stickers is included in the package. This is a great method of brand promotion, and makes customers feel like their purchase is “special.” It also makes up for the fact that a nearly perfectly plain canvas tote bag costs approximately $100. L.L. Bean’s rival bag, the Boat and Tote, is the most comparable bag on the market, and comes in various sizes at less than half the cost. Admittedly, the VV designs are a bit more fun and feminine, and each Vineyard tote has a light blue gingham insert with a zippered compartment and three deep pockets to hold keys and cell phones. The Boat and Tote, while it has a lifetime, no-questions-asked warranty, is merely a large canvas hole.

Vineyard Vines was founded in 1998 by brothers Shep and Ian, who are so passionate and confident in their products that they publish reviews directly onto the site. The Classic Whale Tote earned a 5/5, with 5 reviews. Buzzwords like “classy, convenient, sturdy,” are bulleted at the top of paragraph long reviews, with notable usages ranging from “office/computer” to “beach/yoga.” And to keep up with their growing college demographic, Shep and Ian have remodeled VV a bit to fit social media. They run an active tumblr page, and are quick to “favorite” or “reblog” their fan posts. They’ve also jumped on the hashtag trend, creating #EverydayShouldFeelThisGood or #EDSFTG. I was upset by this, because I’ve always considered Shep and Ian as leaders of their industry. However, this could also be a marketing “defensive” tool, as several lesser known “prep” brands have tried to imitate the original canvas tote, insert included. In fact, Salmon Cove, a brand I had never heard of before, asked lifestyle blogger The College Prepster to review their version. One of the most recent comments on her post was the the insert looked “exactly like Vineyard Vines.”

I chose to post about this tote bag because it was not something I would have purchased for myself on a college budget. However, since acquiring it, I’ve taken it to both class and the beach. The worst that’s happened to it is a stain, which would wash out if I bothered to try cleaning it. Mine has the most “basic” design, making it versatile enough to match any casual outfit. If I were to purchase another bag, I would likely spring for the Americana themed one, despite the fact that it is no longer 4th of July season.

For those looking for a reasonably sized bag that is fashionable and well organized, I highly recommend the Classic Whale Tote. While it may not have the backing of L.L. Bean, the inside pockets and design beat the Boat and Tote… or at least in my opinion. After having my own Classic Whale, and growing up with a Boat and Tote in my family, I would never go back to L.L. Bean’s bag unless I needed a very large size.

 

Comments Off on #EveryDayShouldFeelThisGood, If You Buy Our Tote

Oct 30 2014

#EveryDayShouldFeelThisGood, If You Buy Our Tote

I am not a purse girl. My wristlet is years old and falling apart, and it’s only lasted this long because I prefer to slide my student ID into my phone case and eliminate carrying anything extra. It’s a little inconvenient, even though I do own a fairly pricey Longchamp purse. My grandparents noticed that my every day items (cell phone, keys, wallet, etc.) were always misplaced, and took it upon themselves to fix it. My grandfather discovered that we both liked Vineyard Vines products, and gave me the Vineyard Vines Classic Whale Tote for Christmas last year.

The bag comes in a variety of patterns, with more novelty designs available for $105. The most reliable places to buy them are Vineyard Vines stores, which are most prominent in Massachusetts. However, they can be found online in places such as eBay. According to Google Shopping, however, they can only be purchased through Vineyard Vines. My grandfather is older, and opted to go the easiest route of purchasing from their official site for $95.

Every time a purchase is made from the retailer directly, one of the classic whale bumper stickers is included in the package. This is a great method of brand promotion, and makes customers feel like their purchase is “special.” It also makes up for the fact that a nearly perfectly plain canvas tote bag costs approximately $100. L.L. Bean’s rival bag, the Boat and Tote, is the most comparable bag on the market, and comes in various sizes at less than half the cost. Admittedly, the VV designs are a bit more fun and feminine, and each Vineyard tote has a light blue gingham insert with a zippered compartment and three deep pockets to hold keys and cell phones. The Boat and Tote, while it has a lifetime, no-questions-asked warranty, is merely a large canvas hole.

Vineyard Vines was founded in 1998 by brothers Shep and Ian, who are so passionate and confident in their products that they publish reviews directly onto the site. The Classic Whale Tote earned a 5/5, with 5 reviews. Buzzwords like “classy, convenient, sturdy,” are bulleted at the top of paragraph long reviews, with notable usages ranging from “office/computer” to “beach/yoga.” And to keep up with their growing college demographic, Shep and Ian have remodeled VV a bit to fit social media. They run an active tumblr page, and are quick to “favorite” or “reblog” their fan posts. They’ve also jumped on the hashtag trend, creating #EverydayShouldFeelThisGood or #EDSFTG. I was upset by this, because I’ve always considered Shep and Ian as leaders of their industry. However, this could also be a marketing “defensive” tool, as several lesser known “prep” brands have tried to imitate the original canvas tote, insert included. In fact, Salmon Cove, a brand I had never heard of before, asked lifestyle blogger The College Prepster to review their version. One of the most recent comments on her post was the the insert looked “exactly like Vineyard Vines.”

I chose to post about this tote bag because it was not something I would have purchased for myself on a college budget. However, since acquiring it, I’ve taken it to both class and the beach. The worst that’s happened to it is a stain, which would wash out if I bothered to try cleaning it. Mine has the most “basic” design, making it versatile enough to match any casual outfit. If I were to purchase another bag, I would likely spring for the Americana themed one, despite the fact that it is no longer 4th of July season.

For those looking for a reasonably sized bag that is fashionable and well organized, I highly recommend the Classic Whale Tote. While it may not have the backing of L.L. Bean, the inside pockets and design beat the Boat and Tote… or at least in my opinion. After having my own Classic Whale, and growing up with a Boat and Tote in my family, I would never go back to L.L. Bean’s bag unless I needed a very large size.

 

Comments Off on #EveryDayShouldFeelThisGood, If You Buy Our Tote

Oct 30 2014

Tervis Tumblers on Tumblers on Tumblers…

Published by under Uncategorized

From the time I was younger, my mom always harped on reusing water bottles rather than using plastic ones that go to a landfill. I have always had Gatorade bottles and Camelbak’s but it wasn’t until I got into college and went on spring break that I fell in love with Tervis Tumblers, and tumblers in general. On spring break, a friend and I ventured into a Tervis store down at Myrtle Beach and I knew that these would be my downfall.

Tervis Tumbler Factory

Tervis tumblers are made and manufactured in the United States, in North Venice, Florida. In 1946, Engineers Frank Cotter and G. Howlett Davis came together to create a permanently sealed, doubled-walled tumbler in Detroit. This invention is a great way to carry hot or cold drinks in the comfort of one cup. Joining both of their last names, Tervis was coined. Over the next years, Cotter and Davis worked hard to make their product more innovative and useful.

There are many places that Tervis tumblers can be purchased. For me personally, I have purchased a Tervis from the Bed Bath and Beyond Store. The price for the Tervis, on the Tervis website, depends on the ounces of liquid it holds and whether it is a promotional item. For Tervis’s that have animal pictures, cartoons, and letters (monograms), the prices range from $11-$20, ounces range from 12-24. For specialty Tervis’s the prices are way higher. For ones containing a professional sports team,  football, baseball, college, the prices range from $16- $30, but currently the San Francisco Giants tumblers range from $19- $30 because they won the World Series. All other specialty tumblers start around $19 and end around $23.

Owl Tervis

On the Bed Bath and Beyond website, Tervis’s are a tad cheaper. Sports tumblers range from $15.99-24.99, and ounces range from 12 to 24 with respect to the price listed before. Other tumblers that are not specialty tend to range within the $10.99 to $19.99 price range with respect to their sizes. On Amazon, the prices are the same as on the Bed Bath and Beyond website, but if someone is selling their tumbler on Amazon they can sell the actual Tervis for less but charge more in shipping. Ultimately if that were to happen, the customer would be better off getting it from the Tervis store or Bed Bath and Beyond store or off of those two websites.

Tervis’s also have accessories that can be bought to go with the tumbler. One important feature are the lids. From the Tervis website, these lids come in 4 different shapes (travel, straw, water bottle and shaker), the lids start at $4.00, $6.00, or $8.00 and come in an assortment of colors. Handles are another accessory that can be bought; they are $6.00 apiece. Straws can also be bought, they are $4.00 as well. At Bed Bath and Beyond, travel lids and straws can be found in all colors and start at $3.99. The handles are $5.99 each. Because Amazon tends to sell small items in bulk, all three of these items can be found and prices start at $5.00 and go up.

As far as eWOM is concerned, I found mostly good reviews about the Tervis tumblers. Most of the customers said that it was a great item to have and that it did a good job at keeping their drinks either hot or cold and some even said that they were stylish too. When the customer was talking about an accessory, they talked highly about the accessory too. I did, however, find some negative reviews. These reasons ranged; some were unhappy that the Tervis did not come with a lid, they didn’t like the font they ordered or because theirs leaked. Overall, Tervis got about an 4.2/5 rating.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend that everyone buy a Tervis tumbler. I have about five and so far mine have done amazing jobs. Tervis’s are great at keeping the liquid in your cup at the temperature that you would like it, they don’t leak, they are double walled so there is no condensation and your hands don’t get super cold/hot depending on the liquid. Tervis’s are also very sturdy so even though they are hard plastic, they don’t break if they are dropped. They are also microwave, dishwasher and freezer safe. Tervis also has a very wide selection (more than I can count) for any design that you would like, you can even personalize your tumbler, if you so choose. I think Tervis tumblers are absolutely fantastic!!

 

Comments Off on Tervis Tumblers on Tumblers on Tumblers…

Oct 27 2014

Wal-Mart Report

Published by under Uncategorized

Erin and I visited Wal-Mart on Friday, October 24, 2014. By the time we arrived, it was roughly 11:15 and we promptly entered the store. The first thing I noticed was that the well-known Wal-Mart “Greeter” position has been removed, or maybe there wasn’t anyone assigned to that task. Either way, we were free to enter, as the employee by the entrance/exit was more concerned with people exiting. Obviously, this was for shop lifting purposes.

It was a clear morning, and I’ve seen the store much more crowded in the past. Maybe everyone decided to take their lunch break in other more… scenic places. Erin and I were able to grab a parking spot relatively close to the store, which is saying a lot because of the vast parking lot full of one-way rows. The local Fred bus does stop near Wal-Mart, but it seems as though the majority of the people drive themselves, painstakingly searching for a parking spot. Employees also compete for parking, though I think they park in a side lot rather than the front one. The turn over rate for front spots is high – it was hard pulling in and out with seemingly everyone moving their cars. There are no signs of delivery trucks, but we know that that is how the goods arrive, thanks to our peeking along the back wall of the store and into their supply area.

Wal-Mart is organized into various “shops” or departments. We visited the toy area first, and while we didn’t go out of our way to focus on where things were made, it was hard to not notice. A Frozen themed child sized couch had “Made in America” on its tag, something that surprised me. I didn’t see any pink lego sets, but Wal-Mart certainly does not discount girls who appreciate things that go beyond princesses. As we passed through, looking confused about girly lego sets, an employee did cross paths with us and ask if we needed help. We said no, and I think she was grateful because she was clearly busy with inventory. We left her to her work and headed to another toy aisle. The stuffed animal wall was full, with every animal under the sun. A side wall featured currently trending longboards, skateboards, and cruzer boards, which even piqued my 20 year old female interests. Their prices were fairly low ($45 for a cruzer board! My own brand name board cost me nearly $120). To be fair, I don’t think Erin cared about boards, so we moved on.

We noticed that Wal-Mart didn’t carry the #Unapologetic Barbie line, and I wondered if Mattel had dropped that marketing idea as soon as they introduced it. As we’ve discussed Barbie’s careers in class, I wasn’t surprised to see her in her various trades. What did surprise me, however, were all of her accessories. A pink, obviously fake iPhone with her profile as the home button just seems excessive.

Erin and I also planned to visit the sporting goods section, which is a nice way to say “hunting and fishing with a little bit of baseball and a soccer ball” section. Lines of fishing poles and guns were on display, but this section didn’t have any shoppers in it. The same went for the toy section, and I can only assume that those at Wal-Mart on a Friday morning were those dropping by to pick something up like groceries, and not spend forever mulling over Christmas gifts or game necessities. No one asked us if we needed help, probably because it was clear that we clueless beyond wanting to potentially take up hunting or tackle-box assembly. Buying already dead, soaked in hormone fishing bait seemed like cheating to me. In the few times I’ve fished, my dad and I (mostly him) would put live worms on the hook. But then, we are far from serious fishermen, so my knowledge is limited and maybe buying shrink wrapped Wal-Mart bait is acceptable.

After seeing the poor dead fish, I dragged Erin to the fish section of Wal-Mart. The selection in the tanks all looked healthy, minus one dead one, but what struck me was that finally, there were other shoppers near us. Two women were looking at fish tank accessories, and jokingly warned me that a fish isn’t worth the commitment. I think they were afraid that I would just buy one on a whim, disregarding quality pet care. Wal-Mart, to my knowledge, does not spend time making sure their neon colored, quarter sized tropical fish go to good homes. I did appreciate the women’s advice, however, because I already have one fish and do not need more. Actually, I have a Beta fish and everyone knows that Betas do not play well with others.

Because the tanks require help, an employee was standing nearby. It would be upsetting to any Wal-Mart manager to lose a fish sale because no one was there to get the fish from the tank, and so I understood why her presence was so required.

Each of the sections Erin and I attended were rather empty, and as I said before, I think it was because everyone was in the grocery area. Even the two fish women were simply picking up fish food, not having the time to mull over a new fish. It seemed unusual at the time, because the parking lot was so crowded, but everyone was confined to the one main section of the store.

No matter how large or colorful Wal-Mart’s displays were, shoppers simply weren’t there to commit to a long time in the store that day. I’m sure that on Saturday, families crowded in to do larger shopping trips, and maybe adopt the fish they’ve been eyeing. Wal-Mart, a big box store, really lets sizes do the promotion here – the large tanks lining the walls are eye-catching, and the displays of hunting and fishing gear beg for attention. Wal-Mart employees themselves are not promoting items, making it a less personal experience.

 

Comments Off on Wal-Mart Report

Oct 27 2014

Fieldwork: Wal-Mart

Published by under Uncategorized

 

I visited Wal-Mart on Friday, October 24th around 11:15 in the morning. It was a beautiful fall day outside. Wal-Mart is located in the middle of a major shopping center, so the easiest way for shoppers and employees to arrive is by car. There is a huge parking lot outside of the store, and a bus stop in the shopping center for those who rely on public transportation. Wal-Mart goods arrive in trucks.  The store itself is massive; no department seemed to be lacking in space and the displays were far apart from each other. The customers were diverse, but most appeared to be working-class.

My first stop was the toy department, which was divided up into aisles by age, gender, and type of toy. There was an aisle for Legos, an aisle for Barbie, an aisle for baby and toddler toys, and so on. I noticed a huge display of Frozen merchandise in the middle of the department, presumably because of the popularity of the film. There weren’t many shoppers in the toy aisle, and I only saw a couple employees who were busy working and didn’t stop to offer assistance. Next, I visited the Christmas department. This department appeared to have a “temporary” look to it, as if it had just been put together and will be taken down right after the holidays. The department was organized logically, with fake Christmas trees in the front, then lights and tinsel, and finally an aisle of ornaments. There weren’t many shoppers in this department either, and the employees were busy with other tasks. Lastly, I visited the pet care aisle. Wal-Mart sells live fish, and because of this, has a huge selection of fish tanks and accessories, presumably so that shoppers can buy all of their fish needs from Wal-Mart. A young woman was shopping for fish tank accessories while her mother took her young son to watch the fish in the tanks and an employee did come over and ask if I needed any help.

“Socialization” is not one of Wal-Mart’s selling points. Because of the sheer size of the store, customers have a lot of personal space. I was able to walk through two departments before I encountered another customer very closely. Employees leave the shoppers to their own devices, as well: only two employees asked me if I needed help with anything. I assume because of the nature  of the store customers are expected to know exactly what they want in advance.

Overall, Wal-Mart is a store that relies on low prices and variety of goods, not customer service or personal attention.

 

Comments Off on Fieldwork: Wal-Mart

Oct 26 2014

Walmart

Published by under Uncategorized

When I visited Walmart on Friday, October 24, the weather outside was fair. Walmart is a “big box” store located in a busy commercial area. Large quantities of a wide variety of merchandise arrive by truck, while most employees and shoppers arrive by automobile. There are places to lock a bicycle outside, but there are rarely bikes there.

I observed Walmart between eleven am and noon on Friday. It was busy with shoppers and even busier with employees. Even though there were a lot of shoppers present, there was a lot of stocking going on. However, there were apparently enough employees to handle both the stocking and the customer service.

I entered on the grocery side of the megastore and noted the toy vending machines that grab childrens’ attention on the way in and on the way out. As I entered the grocery, to one side of me an employee showed a family to something they needed, and to another side a product representative offered free slices of Fuji apples topped with Lactaid cottage cheese. I tried one and took a coupon for $1 off of a package of the cottage cheese. The grocery area turned out to be one of the busier areas for shoppers. I observed all sorts of people, mostly lower to middle classes and  all races. The time of day is such that many shoppers are unemployed such as students, stay-at-home-moms and assorted family members, and the elderly.

I noticed in the grocery, and in every other area of the store, people moving extremely slowly. People shop and move through Walmart at a very leisurely pace. I also noticed there were not many single shoppers about which surprised me because I usually do my grocery shopping alone. There were couples, families, and friends. Odd couples, sketchy looking people, older couples, entire families (except for school age children). People seemed to wander around as if they were more likely to be browsing than shopping with a list.

In the grocery as well as certain other areas of the store, space is divided by huge makeshift islands of stacks of products, often straight off the pallets and still in the original cardboard casing. The dairy cases had lights out and others flickering. In addition to the many stockers, I noticed an employee from the meat department out on the floor, taking stock of his inventory.

I walked right next door to the clothing department following the grocery. The clothing department had plenty of shoppers but fewer than the grocery, and more stocking going on. The place was a mess. I ran across internal paperwork hanging off a shelf of clothes, and multiple carts sitting in the middle of tiny aisles with inventory, or empty cardboard boxes in them. In one spot near the edge, I passed a cart full of individually wrapped juice treats blocking a clothing pathway. It had a computer printed sign taped to it indicating that the juice treats used to be $0.50 and were now $0.25. Clearance shelves were especially chaotic.

I passed two young women shopping together with their babies, each pushing their own cart. A couple of the employees in this department were feeling super casual because they were just about shouting as they were carrying on a conversation across the aisles as they worked stocking shelves. Across from the clothing I found accessories and jewelry. There were more overflowing clearance bins. Hello Kitty has her own little space where she hawks books, clocks, bags, jewelry, key chains, and lap desks, among other things. Around the corner, another craze becomes apparent with several shelves of “piggy” banks in every theme possible: a ballerina pig, an astronaut pig, an angry bird pig, a yellow duck pig. I passed a lone shopper who was wearing ear buds.

Almost every kid I saw was either trapped in a cart or was touching whatever was in front of them. As I crossed yet another aisle into the seasonal area, children were trying on costumes with parents. I passed through that area pretty quickly and headed toward the exit. As I did so, I noticed new movies for sale near the registers which made me think of Walmart’s consistently high prices for new-release movies, an area in which they are apparently unable to be competitive. I also made a note of the stream of businesses occupying Walmart’s front exterior wall. There is a place to buy eyeglasses, a nail salon, a bank, and a McDonald’s, among others. The McDonald’s gives that entire corner of the store the distinct aroma of whatever it is McDonald’s fries its food in.

Comments Off on Walmart

Oct 26 2014

Orenstein Reflection

Published by under Uncategorized

Peggy Orenstein deals with differences in gender in our society and how once girls get to a certain age, they become obsessed with being a Disney princess. I thought a really powerful quote that made me really like this author was “I wanted her to believe that neither some behavior or toy or profession was not for her sex nor that it was mandatory for her sex” This reminded me of my childhood and how my mom and dad would allow me to play with typical boy toys. I have hundreds of race cars and race tracks, along with GI Joes, but I also watched Disney and had barbies. It’s interesting to think what a big role Disney plays on so many lives and our culture in this country. Orenstein also ponders if it is actually a feminist issue and that maybe Disney is a good thing. “that at long last they could “have it all” be feminist and feminine, pretty and powerful, earn independence and male approval” However I find that this to be heteronormative and vaguely sexist. Women don’t need male approval to live our lives all we need is our own approval,which in my opinion, that’s what independence is, relying upon yourself.

Comments Off on Orenstein Reflection

Oct 26 2014

Wal-Mart Fieldwork

Published by under Uncategorized

I arrived at Walmart at 11:10 on October 24th, 2014. The weather was partly cloudy but rather warm for late October. There was a slight breeze while walking towards the store. The transportation for the consumers were cars: SUVs, compact cars, trucks, etc. The transportation for retail goods and employees were trucks and cars. Retail goods get shipped in Wal-Mart trucks. The type of retail space is a store. The shoppers that I saw in the store were a majority women. I noticed there were a lot of mothers with young children that probably haven’t started school yet. Many of the women I saw were minorities. I saw one white man with his son (I’m assuming). Another group I saw a lot of was elderly white couples or elderly single white people.

The employees I witnessed at Walmart were a majority minority and some white women stocking shelves and ringing people up. I witnessed white young men operating heavy machinery. Some of the employees were older, but a majority seemed to be 20-30s age range. The products selling patterns were organized in certain categories. For example, sporting goods, groceries, women’s and men’s clothes, etc have their own sections. While sale items were in carts in the middle of the isles or on the outside of the isles. Wal-Mart sells almost anything under the sun. They have groceries, electronics, clothes, pharmacy items, fish, home goods, etc.

I have a disconnection with this location, because I try not to shop here do to what they do to their employees. Also, I realized not all of their items are actually cheaper than other stores. I have shopped at this location before, but only when I needed to do so.  There wasn’t really anything unusual that I noticed. Our class were probably the most unusual thing in Wal-Mart that day. One thing that I did find slightly unusual was there was a sale cart in the middle of women’s department that was selling pasta sauce and pasta boxes along with V8 juices. I suppose they could be playing into the whole stereotype of mothers buying groceries and shopping for their clothes so they put that sales cart in the women’s section.

My overall analysis on this fieldwork assignment was that during the day on a Friday there are a lot of lower income people shopping at Wal-Mart in order to find the best deals. A majority of these lower income people were women with families, because we still live in a world where women buy the groceries. Another group that I witnessed shopping at Wal-Mart was elderly people that were probably retired and therefore could shop at Wal-Mart during the day. Wal-Mart is known for their low prices and people shop there when they are looking for a deal on basically anything, because Wal-Mart sells nearly everything you would need.

Comments Off on Wal-Mart Fieldwork

Oct 26 2014

Walmart Fieldwork Post

Published by under Uncategorized

My friend and I arrived at Walmart in Central Park on Friday October 24th at 11:15am. The weather was in the mid 60’s, but a little cloudy. I do not think the weather had a huge affect on Walmart shoppers as it would have if they were shopping outdoors, downtown. The consumers coming to Walmart came in their own cars and the Fred bus system is another option as well. The transportation that I observed for retail good was big delivery trucks that said “Walmart” on the side. I see these trucks often while driving and saw one while parking on Friday as well. The employees of Walmart would also have the same transportation as consumers- cars or public transportation. I do not think that people either shopping at or working at Walmart would ride bikes or walk like people do in the downtown area because it is located in a huge shopping center and not very close to residential areas.

The type of retail space for this would be a big chain store. Walmart was also divided into different types of space like “Market,” “Home & Pharmacy,” and “Outdoor Living.” There were also a few other “stores” inside such as Mcdonald’s and two different beauty salons. The shoppers that I observed were both black and Caucasian. There were couples, parents with their children, and people who were by themselves. It looked as if people of the working class would shop at this retail space. The consumers at Walmart were dressed casually; no one was in any type of business clothes. The selling patterns that I observed were not geared towards a specific type of individual. People come to Walmart looking for anything from food to clothes to power tools. There was a seasonal section and displays geared toward this season.

The sections of the store that I decided to observe more closely were Toys, Seasonal, and Grocery. In the toy isle the first thing that struck me was the amount of color that made up this section. I saw infants toys and toys for teenagers. This section looked like it was divided by brand. The sections that I saw were Fisher Price, Playdoh, Imaginext, Leap Frog, My Life and Laugh & Learn. I walked down the Barbie isle and immediately was surrounded by pink. I took note of the face that all the Barbie’s were in pink boxes, but there was one box that was blue with a boy Barbie. This here shows me that these products are clearly geared towards one gender, as they associate the colors with the gender of the kid who “should” want this product. The next section I went in was Seasonal and the entire part of the store was geared towards Christmas. There were outdoor decorations, fake Christmas trees, blow-up lawn decorations, indoor decorations and products for wrapping presents. Even though Christmas isn’t for another 2 months, it did not surprise me that this section was already set up for this holiday. I think that if we came a few weeks earlier, the seasonal section would have been set up for Halloween. The last section that I walked through was the Grocery section. Most of the signs that I saw were offering “4 for $3” or “2 for $10.” There was a good amount of shelves in one isle that was filled with Halloween candy. I noticed a group of shelves that had foods for Thanksgiving (although it didn’t say specifically). These shelves had yams, canned cranberries, potatoes, stuffing, and green beans. This section reminded me of a normal grocery store, but with very low prices.

Most of the employees that I observed were older women. There were many older women who were working the cash registers or walking in and out of isles restocking merchandise. I did observe some male employees, but I definitely saw more women than men. The employees that I saw were also black or Caucasian. I also noticed an older man who looked like a manager talking to a consumer at the front of the store. Food, clothes, toys, beauty products, home furnishings, sporting equiptment, and electronics are some of the types of merchandise that Walmart sells. Like I noted earlier, this retail space can be described as convenient for shoppers because it sells a wide variety of products. The connection that I make with Walmart in Fredericksburg is different than the connection I make with Walmart back at home in NY. Here in Fredericksburg I got to Walmart sometimes because it is in Central Park, at a good location close to campus. It is surrounded by so many other retail spaces that make it easy to find what you want. Back at home, however, I have more of a disconnection because there isn’t a Walmart close to me. Up until coming to school in Fredericksburg, I rarely shopped at Walmart because it was not an option for me. The only unusual thing that I saw while walking through the store was a man with a full facial/head tattoo. This observation just furthered my previous observations about the huge range of types of people that come to shop, or even work at Walmart.

Overall, this experience was different from my downtown experience in that the people that shop and work at Walmart along with the types of products being sold are very different. This shopping site provides a quick and convenient service for people who are trying to shop and then leave. It does not have the same mood or atmosphere that the leisurely, community feel of the downtown space offers. This big chain store is more focused on the profit that they are making, rather than the experience that they are providing for their employees and consumers.

Comments Off on Walmart Fieldwork Post

« Prev - Next »

css.php