Wondering around!


I chose the theme food market. The location I chose was SafeWay. Specifically, I chose the vegetable and fruit section because it had relative large customers’ population other than other sections.

SafeWay veggie section

Instead of using notebooks, I used cellphone to record my observation. I was wondering around the vegetable and fruit section and recorded my observations. I stayed in SafeWay for 30 minutes.

fruit section

When I was at home, I reviewed all observations I got. One was the phenomenon which customers preferred to use their hands to touch candidates and then pick their final choice without putting merchandises back with sorted order. Another was that most costumers used self-checkout stations instead of checking out at registers.


when I was doing observations, one problem that I encountered is I did not know how to keep my observational objects not notice me. When I did my very first observation in the cafeteria, I could sit down and observe people and environments without being wired. However, there was no where to sit or stay in SafeWay. It was a little bit wired because I was walking around without buying or picking anything.


One question I would ask is that what kinds of observational objects are in my observations. There are several types of observational objects in my observations. One type is people (customers and employees). Another type is environmental object (store layout). Another is the concentration of population. For example, which section do people like to go?


One example that I could think of is the time I did observation in the Suzzallo cafeteria. Because I was familiar with the cafeteria, my observations contain a little about the lay out of Suzaallo cafeteria. I did not describe what was inside the cafeteria. For instance, there is a Starbucks inside the cafeteria. However, because I knew there was a Starbucks, ergo, I did not describe there was a Starbucks. People who are not familiar with Suzzallo cafeteria may not be aware of the lay out. An example of reflexive issue that I could think of is that the mice experiment we discussed in the studio. The experiment was to determine whether there are smart or silly mice. The reflexive issue here was that researchers assumed that some mice were smart. In the experiment, researchers gave special attention to mice that researchers thought were smart. Ergo, the control experiment was biased. Therefore, results of such experiment were biased.

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