ethnography training #1

June 3, 2010

Tesco! Tesco is great.  Frankly I wish we had Tesco in the states, well at least Tesco Express.  Tesco can range from small stores like walgreens all the way to a super Walmart size.  Some are grab and go type places and others you could find anything you possibly need.  I lived on Tesco Express in London.  What I would call “gas station food” they had the widest selection I had ever seen and it was so delicious.

While visiting Tesco in Prague it was located within a mall.  Jean challeneged us to get beyond our vision and use our other senses to get a grasp on a location.  We had to find 30 things in 30 minutes and only 15 could be sight related. 

Smell- In a grocery store smells are very relevant.  Fish, freezerburn, bread, perfume and flowers.  This is the sense that I forget about the most, but then I realized smell can have a huge emotional impact on customers.  The smell of pumpkin pie makes most people think of Thanksgiving and family.  Connections like that may help connect consumers to products.

Touch- I realized that I touch things I am considering buying or highly examining.  The longest thing I touched was a bottle of sparkling juice that had Disney princess’ on it.  I was trying to convince myself that I had room for this beautiful, smooth, cold bottle that would go well in my glass bottle collection I have on my bar.  Now I’m going to watch other customers as they touch things in a store to see if that plays into the correlation that they want to buy something.

Sound- This one was my favorite because I zoned in on my paper and just listened.  It was amazing how many sounds exist in an enviornment from the chatter between customers, the wheels squeeking on a card, the sound of poppy seeds scratching on metal from the baker cleaning out the bread container or even the hum of the coolers where cold things are kept.  I developed a stronger connection in a way that almost made the store feel alive. It was it’s own musical.

I need to challenge myself to dig deeper for details.  Small things may be important in the end and the more content I gather the easier finding those culture codes may be.  It’s like brainstorming.  The bigger the pool of ideas the easier it is to either pick one, or be inspired by one to go in another direction.


A better ethnographer,



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