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Harrods Pet Store

May 24, 2010

Harrods was definitely an experience to remember. The staff is very helpful and friendly, and they look to make your experience at Harrods a pleasant experience. There were many different types of people shopping at Harrods, but it seemed like they were mostly either wealthy and/or a tourist. Many people go there just to see it. In other words, Harrods is a London department store that acts like a must-see London landmark as well. As soon as you walk in, you know that you’re in Harrods. There is security everywhere. If you’re wearing a backpack, you’ll be asked to carry in your hands, not on your back. There are high ceilings and endless amounts of rooms, all unique.

Because of its size, I focused my ethnography to one section, the pet shop. Everything in the pet shop was high class. It brought dressing your dog to a whole new level.

It’s really interesting to see how people act when they are shopping for a pet. I watched a certain couple as they perused through the pet apparel. The man acted rather bored as his (assumed) wife sifted through all of the cute little outfits made for dogs.  They had everything displayed the same was as if you were shopping for a person. One particular sweater was delicately hanging from clips on wires coming down from the ceiling. This sweater let me remind you, for a dog, was priced at about 100 pounds sterling. I couldn’t believe it. Anyway, getting back to the couple. The woman was very interested in what kind of material everything was made of, as if the dog would know the difference. Her husband was a patient man, but showed little enthusiasm for any of it. He just kind of wandered around next to his wife looking at things and pretending to care. At one point, the woman even took a doggie-shoe, put one on her finger, and mimicked walking with her hand to try to get an idea of how it’d feel on her dog’s little paw.

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I thought about why people would act like this and came up with a few theories, but the best one has to do with the idea of a pet being an extension of who you are. In other words, if you take time to look nice, why shouldn’t your dog look nice? People have done this for centuries through grooming and breeding, and it took until now for someone to think outside of the box to think of this idea, which has now become a booming industry. In my opinion, I think it’s brilliant (now the Londoners have even gotten me saying things like “brilliant” all the time). Anyway, I had a really interesting experience doing ethnography in the fashion of pets market. Later, I’ll be posting a blog about people fashion! I’ve been collecting data all week (and even got myself a sweet pair of those spy glasses I mentioned earlier thanks to the paycheck I had forgotten all about, yessss).

~Lisa

“Please do not have a fit in the fitting room. Your fashion life begins there.”

– Florence Eiseman

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