Apr 12 2010

Wal-Mart Fieldwork

Published by at 2:16 am under Reflection Blog,Uncategorized

Name of Location: Wal-Mart in Central Park
Time and Date: 9:30 AM & 4/8/2010
Weather Conditions: Sunny and Warm
Wal-Mart is somewhere I go in to when I need something in a hurry and occasionally do grocery shopping if I have selected items in mind to buy. On arriving at Wal-Mart I was greeted by three of the notorious Wal-Mart greeters (all appeared to be at least in their sixties). My first notice on arriving was that it was empty compared to the crowds I’m used to upon entering Wal-Mart. I quickly directed myself toward the toy section because I knew it would be a hot spot for kids as the trip progressed and more families came in. The Barbie section was the first aisle I went down and bright pink and pastel colors filled the section. I took note of the numerous jobs that Barbie held which included a vet, babysitter, ballerina, and bride. The accessories for Barbie were also compelling in that they continued to appease gender roles. You could buy a glam fridge and stove or a dream vanity. Girl’s toys seemed to be limited to animals, babies, and Barbie’s.
When I moved on in to the boy’s section I began to notice the colors of boxes changing and took notice of the packaging. The boy toys like the nerf guns had real boys on the cover actually using the object. I didn’t see any girl toy other than a miniature vacuum with a girl actually using the product. The boy’s products ranged in much more variety than the girl’s toys. Boys had Star Wars, Avatar, Spiderman, The Hulk, Transformers, and wrestling. All of these products play on boy stereotypes, like the need for action and violence.
I continued in to the fishing section, which is on the far right of the toys and near the automotive section. I can be honest that I went there for my own needs (I bought two packages of hooks). As I browsed I noticed a “female” fishing pole and I could tell this from half way a crossed the store because it was bright pink. It seems that female stereotypes continue. Most of the customers appeared to be of middle class and there we a lot of older people browsing about. I can actually attribute the reason for this based on my mother’s experiences. Old people for the most part are early risers and they also hate standing/waiting around hours for their prescriptions, which is what they will get if they decide to come later in the day.
All of Wal-Mart’s sections are neatly separated and distinguishable. Most of the people I observed were buying necessary items like groceries and shampoo. Overall Wal-Mart didn’t hold many surprises, which is what one usually gets with Wal-Mart, completely predictable. Though I was shocked at how friendly my cashier that checked me out was and she was able to talk to all her customers because she wasn’t in a mad rush to ring up item after item.

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