I chose to conduct my experiment at a mall in my home town. It was an ideal location for the experiment because so many people purchase their household goods from the mall. They also come there for recreation and the like. I knew that there was a very serious likelihood that I would meet different kinds of people there. Buyers of all age groups, races, and financial backgrounds normally visit the mall, so I was certain to get a good mix.
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This particular mall is also a distinct part of the consumer culture in Ohio, so I knew that it would fairly represent the people in the town. Since some come there for recreation, they are likely to be more relaxed than in other sites. Consequently, any reactions made by subjects would be reflective of the very essence of the values they represent.
The location affected my experience in terms of the numbers that could be observed. Since the mall was quite busy, I had the advantage of seeing a high number of subjects. It also affected the responses of the participants because the activities they were engaging in were recreational and economical. My ability to stand out from the pack was affected by this location because patrons still had room to look around and see what was going on around them. If I had selected another place like a street corner then it is likely that a higher turnover of passersby would have been there, and none would even have noticed me.
I experimented on a Saturday at noon. It was an ideal time because a vast number of shoppers prefer visiting the mall on Saturdays. They like to start early so that they can spend a lot of time there and also engage in other recreational activities in the location. This time of day was also appropriate because I wanted to give enough time for the opening of all the stores in the mall. I found that almost every single business person there had opened his store.
I was very simply dressed during the experiment. It was a deliberate effort because I did not want to stand out. I wanted to be in a position where I could observe other people yet not seem odd or out of place. In this regard, I needed to look like everyone else. I had on a plain t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. My hairstyle was not unique in any way, and I also feel that my race made me fit in quite easily since I belong to the majority group in Ohio.
Also, the age group that spends most of their time in the mall was not far from mine. I did not feel like I was a young person amid old people or vice versa. It was probably the reason why I carried on for a while before someone stopped to look at me.
Some people looked at me as a stood there, right at the center of the mall, and started observing people as they came and went. One gentleman, who looked like he was in his mid-thirties wore a puzzled look and even asked me whether I was lost. I looked at two teenagers passing by and they noticed that I was staring. They seemed playful and even said hello. However, I got a very negative response from a Caucasian woman who appeared to be in her forties. She wanted to find out if I had nothing more constructive to do with my time. A little child left her mother’s hand and came to touch my snickers.
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Her mother quickly ran after her and carried her. I also noticed several people who simply looked back at me with blank stares. My initial reaction to these people was to avoid eye contact but I chose not to do so. After going on like this for the entire ten minutes, I found that not only was it effective, but it allowed me to see people for who they were. Persons in their twenties appeared to take the most interest in me while older people seemed to be more interested in what they were doing.