After a quick stop by my place of work on Saturday afternoon, I ventured across the street to the local Albertson’s grocery store. This excursion was an oddity to say the least as I couldn’t recall a time before high school when I was ever in a grocery store before dark. This, I figured, made a very familiar environment seem very alien to my senses. The purpose this was, and I knew I was correct in my decision-making as I found it difficult to locate a parking space that was not already occupied near the store.
That was only the beginning of what I knew would be an interesting study of this diverse communal setting.
After finally parking about a football field’s ...view middle of the document...
I certainly was drawn to it unconsciously for that reason. After realizing the independent variables of this unique place, I took aim at the human role in the store.
In this afternoon setting, I found that there were four distinguishable groups of people. The first one I accounted for was, of course, the employee. They all wore the same colors – blue, black, and white. Blue aprons were the basic article that was worn by all staff members, along with black pants. This made them easily set apart from the customers. They were also set apart by their routine duties such as stocking the shelves and writing on clipboard pads while scurrying around in a rushed fashion. On the other hand, the customers were a much more laid back crowd. This was completely opposite to what customers at night were like. One group of these afternoon customers, and overwhelmingly the largest population was senior citizens. They walked slowly through the isles and looked over every item on the shelves as if grocery shopping were a fine art. Each of them had a long list of items to collect and they piled their carts high with everything that would last them two or three weeks. Another group of customers I caught sight of was, surprisingly enough, college students. Not once did I see one without a companion, though, whether it were married or dating couples, or just bi-gender friends. In every case of this group of customers the male steered the shopping cart while the female counterpart selected the items to buy. Quicker was the pace of this group than that of the senior crowd. The last group I caught only a few glimpses of was the mother and child. In one case, I observed a mother pushing an overflowing cart of groceries diagonally through the front of the store with crumb-faced toddler lagging ten feet behind repeating the words, “Momma, momma…” over and over and then letting out a mumbling sound which dissipated into the mother’s voice replying, “No, this way”, mixed with a sigh. There were only a few situations as this, but they were the most memorable, in fact. After I decided that these three groups of people were the most prevalent, I turned my attention to the area in which I was sitting.
There were no other people in the vicinity of the lounge area, even though it was the most comforting place to be in the store. I suppose that if I had been there a few hours...