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Five Senses in Tesco

June 4, 2010

Tesco, we meet again.

The whole group did an ethnography exercise in everybody’s favorite hypermarket. We had 30 minutes to walk around and record 30 things we observed – only 15 of which could be visual. It was tough but a good learning experience. I had to force myself to notice more details about the atmosphere and not just comment on things that I saw. Here’s some of what I came up with.

  • Sight – open fish tanks, lots of older people shopping in couples, pictures of food on the price signs, most younger adults shopping alone or with their children, shoppers slowly walking around, not a lot in the carts, 3 floors, digital signs, wide variety of clothing styles and brands
  • Hear – quiet music downstairs, people talking calmly (all in Czech), 2nd floor playing louder American music in the clothing aisle (Czech people LOVE Lady Gaga), nobody talking to anyone besides their shopping partner
  • Smell – bread smelled warm and fresh, meat smelled really salty and fresh, cleaning solution smelled really strong, laundry detergent smelled heavenly, and the old women were wearing a LOT of perfume
  • Touch – the temperature wasn’t too hot or cold, the frozen sections were very cold, the clothes felt like a medium quality, the escalator was at a comfortable speed and incline
  • Taste – cookie that someone bought

This Tesco was a lot different than the ones in London. First of all, the London ones were smaller. This Tesco had three stories and was packed with millions of items. A big difference was the clothing section. I felt like I was in a WalMart or any department store junior section. The clothes were pretty good quality and there were a ton of styles to choose from. Second, there were a lot more Tesco Express stores in London, which is mostly where we went when we needed food. Third, this Tesco seemed a lot busier than London’s. Maybe it was because it was bigger, but I felt like there were a lot more people in this one. Finally, it was harder to completely understand how the shoppers felt about their shopping experience because everyone in this Tesco was speaking Czech.

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