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Observation report on six locations i frequent regularly

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Observation report on six locations i frequent regularly

  1. 1. Observation  Report  on  Six  Locations  I  Frequent  Regularly    *I’ve  opted  out  of  taking  pictures,  simply  because  it  was  either  prohibited  or  unwelcomed  at  the  locations  I’ve  chosen.  Thus,  this  assignment  was  completed  in  report  form  instead  of  a  presentation    Location  Number  1:  Famer’s  Market  I  visit  my  local  farmer’s  market  every  week.  It  is  a  huge  concrete  building  and  looks  uninviting.  What  drew  me  to  it  initially  were  online  reviews.  The  doors  are  automatic  and  always  closed  until  you  step  up  to  the  building.  The  parking  lot  is  huge  and  always  crowded.  The  store  sign  is  not  visible  from  the  road  but  appears  huge  once  you  approach  the  building.  The  colors  and  font  are  outdated  and  not  attractive  or  inviting.  The  interior  matches  that.  The  ceiling  are  extremely  high,  the  temperature  is  kept  at  around  60F.  This  is  basically  a  huge  hall  with  different  sections,  showered  with  fluorescent  light.  In  other  words,  this  is  a  highly  functional  and  equally  uninviting  place.  People  are  loud,  there  is  no  music  playing,  it  smells  like  fish  in  every  section  of  the  store.  Once  you  have  picked  up  your  groceries  –and  you  want  to  make  this  whole  experience  fast,  it’s  just  not  that  pleasant  –  you  exit  through  two  designated  doors  that  will  take  you  to  a  large  room  with  about  40  cash  registers.  They  are  outdated  wooden  boxes.  You  can  only  pay  with  cash  or  debit  card  here.  Everyone  working  here  is  from  foreign  countries  and  speaks  very  little  English.  Everyone  is  nice,  even  though  I’ve  experienced  occasional  dissatisfaction  from  other  customers  who  interpret  different  cultures  and  customs  as  rudeness.  The  cashiers  all  wear  the  same  blue  jacket  and  there  are  lots  of  employees.  I  would  estimate  the  ratio  to  be  about  3:10.  The  store  is  considered  a  world  market  and  contains  items  from  nearly  every  part  of  the  store.  I  never  doubted  that  the  employees  shopped  there  themselves.  I  did  verify  this  with  a  few  employees.  This  store  is  not  organized  like  most  others  in  that  the  cheapest  items  are  not  always  located  at  the  bottom  of  the  shelves.  It  is  organized  by  regional  items.  It  does  not  make  too  much  sense  at  first,  but  again,  this  is  a  highly  functional  space.  Once  you’ve  explored  it,  you  know  how  to  navigate  it  quickly  and  efficiently.  On  weekends,  more  effort  is  put  into  free  samples  and  customer  satisfaction.  The  store  seems  to  up  it’s  game  for  weekends,  however,  I  hardly  ever  go  on  Saturdays  and  Sundays  simply  because  it  becomes  too  crowded.  Customers  always  leave  with  something,  mostly  produce.  The  sole  benefit  of  shopping  at  this  particular  farmer’s  market  is  the  freshness  of  the  products  in  relation  to  its  very  affordable  price.      Location  Number  2:  Indian  Fast  Food  Restaurant  A  new  Indian  fast  food  restaurant  recently  opened  near  my  work  place.  They  have  an  efficient  step-­‐by-­‐step  process  that  is  easy  to  follow.  You  pick  your  carb,  then  your  protein  and  then  condiments.  Lastly,  you  add  sides  or  drinks  and  then  check  out  at  the  register,  which  is  located  next  to  the  preparation  area.  The  staff  is  extremely  friendly  ,  mostly  in  their  20s  or  30s  while  focused  and  efficient.  They  all  wear  the  same  T-­‐Shirt,  but  the  rest  of  their  outfits  are  casual  and  differ  from  one  another.  The  store  draws  customers  in  by  using  signs  that  were  obviously  created  by  professional  graphic  designers,  good  ones  at  that.  They  show  huge  initiative  by  reaching  out  to  customers  and  potential  customers  via  social  media.  They  always  offer  additional  
  2. 2. freebies  and  carry  a  secret  menu,  which  you  will  only  find  out  about  if  you  pay  attention  to  their  facebook  and  twitter  profile.  There  is  no  especially  comfortable  seating  that  emphasizes  the  fast  food  part  of  the  business.  Customers  order,  eat  and  leave  within  10-­‐15  minutes.  There  is  no  music,  but  the  restaurant  does  have  a  nice  atmosphere  with  light  Indian  decoration  and  a  nice,  comfortable  temperature.  The  noise  level  is  dependent  on  customers  and  most  of  them  will  eat  rather  than  chat  loudly.  The  prices  are  a  bit  above  average  for  a  fast  food  restaurant,  but  somehow  it  feels  that  the  food  is  fresher  and  healthier.  If  that  is  true,  I  can’t  say  for  sure.  As  far  as  customers  go,  you’ll  mostly  see  work  groups  coming  in,  as  well  as  student  groups.  I  see  few  people  by  themselves.  Since  this  place  is  fairly  new,  I  did  observe  a  lot  of  people  nervously  trying  to  grasp  the  4-­‐step-­‐process  as  they  wait  in  line.        Location  Number  3:  Public  Transportation  –  Subway    Unattractive,  no  visible  employees  (you  know  the  train  conductor  has  to  be  there,  but  you  only  encounter  personnel  via  announcements,  usually  unpleasant  ones).  To  buy  tickets,  you  are  only  using  machines.  You  are  informed  as  to  where  to  report  criminal  activities.  There  is  no  interaction  with  personnel  otherwise,  however.  There  is  always  highly  annoying  music  playing  at  the  stations,  but  nothing  on  the  actual  trains.  The  type  of  music  varies,  but  is  usually  equivalent  to  “elevator  music”.  During  the  months  of  November  and  December,  we  get  to  listen  to  Christmas  music.  Sometimes  they  (the  never  visible  staff)  forget  to  switch  out  the  tracks  and  we  get  to  enjoy  Christmas  music  until  February.  Each  cart  is  equipped  with  a  few  small  television  sets  that  play  locally  produced  store  ads  that  are  most  often  of  poor  quality.  Customers  only  stay  as  long  as  they  have  to.  The  majority  of  customers  are  commuting  to  and  from  work  or  school.  The  noise  level  varies  with  one  constant:  music  blasted  on  personal  devices  that  everyone  has  to  listen  to.  Occasionally,  you  encounter  security,  but  those  only  seem  to  be  around  when  school  gets  out  and  the  youngsters  get  on  the  train.  Because  of  the  necessity  of  the  subway,  it  never  appears  as  if  customers  are  actual  customers.  Rather  the  dependency  makes  it  seem  like  everyone  should  be  thankful  for  the  service.  That  is  why  this  particular  example  is  not  quite  like  the  store/restaurant  experiences.  I  usually  read  on  the  train,  which  helps  me  to  tune  out  my  surrounding.  This  week,  however,  I  paid  attention  and  was  actually  surprised  to  find  more  people  with  attitudes  similar  to  mine.  People  read,  look  out  the  windows  or  play  games  on  their  phones.  In  other  words,  everyone  tried  to  tune  out  the  people  around  them.  The  number  of  those  being  obnoxiously  loud  is  actually  very  small.    Location  Number  4:  Groomer    As  a  dog  owner  I  care  a  lot  about  where  my  dog  gets  her  grooming.  My  younger  dog,  a  Great  Pyrenees  mix  has  special  grooming  needs  which  I  have  a  hard  time  accommodating  her  with.  So  a  great  groomer  had  to  be  found.  The  place  I  take  her  to  is  lovely.  The  dogs  get  one-­‐on-­‐one  attention  without  ever  being  rushed.  When  you  enter  it’s  a  very  pet-­‐friendly  environment  filled  with  water  bowls,  treats  and  bones.  It  smells  like  wet  dog  and  while  less  pleasant  for  humans,  dogs  seem  to  appreciate  it.  
  3. 3. The  staff  is  always  attentive  and  very  sweet.  They  do  not  wear  uniform,  but  once  they  get  to  work  they  do  put  on  aprons.  These  do  not  contain  store  logos  though.  The  atmosphere  is  much  like  a  neighbor’s  house,  very  comfortable,  but  not  quite  like  your  own  place.  Everything  in  the  decor,  signage  and  general  approach  is  old-­‐fashioned  but  not  outdated  and  it  creates  a  nurturing,  re-­‐assuring  environment.  Online  reviews  are  entirely  positive.  The  cash  register  is  located  in  a  different  room,  which  helps  separate  the  notion  of  dropping  your  dog  off  at  a  comfortable  place  where  she  will  be  happy  and  it  being  a  business.      Location  Number  5:  Fancy  Restaurant    This  is  almost  opposite  to  the  fast  food  place  described  in  Location  Number  2.  You  have  to  make  reservations,  the  staff  is  well  dressed  and  you  are  expected  to  follow  the  dress  code.  The  signage  is  not  visible  until  you  approach  the  restaurant.  It’s  a  well  thought  out  design  that  matches  the  interior.  Everything  is  about  preparation  before  you  even  enter  the  restaurant.  The  host/hostess  desk  is  located  in  the  very  front  of  the  restaurant  and  there  is  always  someone  there  greeting  you  in  a  very  professional  manner.  The  décor  is  well  thought  out  and  obviously  expensive.  Light  music  is  playing  in  the  background  and  waiters  are  fast,  somewhat  casual  and  highly  knowledgeable  regarding  the  food  served.  There  is  always  ample  space  between  each  table  giving  customers  at  least  a  bit  of  privacy.  Everything  is  given  value,  even  filtered  water.  So  you  pay  for  it.  There  are  no  free  side  items,  but  plenty  of  recommendations  for  add-­‐ons.  None  of  it  seems  forced  though.  It  truly  seems  to  be  about  the  experience.  The  food  is  astonishingly  good  and  has  a  great  reputation  in  town.    Everything,  from  music  to  décor  and  temperature  is  top-­‐notch  and  well  thought  through.  The  experience  is  mostly  certainly  what  you  pay  for.      Location  Number  6:  Murdah  Kroger  in  Atlanta    This  is  a  local  deity,  it  would  seem.  Everyone  knows  the  Murdah  Kroger  in  Atlanta.  And  honestly,  I  don’t  even  know  how  it  came  to  its  loving  nickname,  even  though  I’d  be  able  to  take  a  few  guesses.  It  is  not  a  great  store  and  the  experience  there  is  never  overwhelming  though  it  has  improved  in  recent  years.  It’s  much  like  every  Kroger:  Soft  music  and  commercials  playing,  unimpressive  décor,  cashiers  in  uniforms  standing  at  the  check-­‐out  always  asking  the  same  stuff.  Their  deals  seem  to  draw  in  a  lot  of  customers,  especially  if  you  have  the  Kroger  Plus  card.  The  customers  are  very  mixed,  rich  and  poor,  well-­‐dressed  and  homeless  types,  everything  is  represented.  The  signage  is  big  and  easily  understood,  visible  from  the  street.  When  it  comes  to  marketing,  everything  is  in  line  and  obviously  for  profit.  Online  reviews  do  not  matter,  it’s  a  chain  store.  It’s  not  overwhelmingly  awesome,  but  it’s  reliable  and  everything  in  their  layout  emphasizes  that.    Aisles  are  categorical,  cheap  items  are  at  the  bottom,  pricier  items  at  eye-­‐level.  Every  item  is  presented  in  a  large  number  of  varieties,  thus  providing  more  choices  than  necessary.  In  addition  the  spaces  are  organized  well,  the  aisles  are  wide  enough  to  handle  crowds.  Check-­‐outs  are  staff  or  computer  operated.  Everything  can  be  quick,  but  doesn’t  have  to  be.      

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