Wednesday, February 24, 2010

people watching wednesday

This week I thought of doing a bit of a fun people watching column, one that I know I do quite a bit and I would do a lot more if I was a "checkout chick."

You guessed it.... this week I watched how people shop, what they put in their trolleys and baskets. I have always thought you could tell a lot about someone by the way they shop. Firstly I will tell you how I shop and how over the years it has changed. Not only what I put in my basket, but how often I shop and how I fit it in my day.

Throughout my life I was always a weekly shop girl, I would buy what I needed for the week from my pay and then after all the bills were paid I would use the remainder of the money to spend on myself.... always been a shopper! Love retail therapy, hence why I have been in it for such a long time and why I started Little Pinwheel. After having children my way of shopping changed. I know it is probably more convenient to shop weekly with little ones, but there really is no time for me to go on my own to do this. I cannot see how I would carry bags and bags of shopping while holding a baby and also having a 4 year old in tow. So I do a daily or every second day shop. I must admit at first it annoyed me as I felt there were times that there was nothing in the house, but now I am very much into the swing of things. I also love the fresh veges and fruit in the house! (With this in mind, I get a lot of time to watch people shopping and to figure out what sort of people they are).

With summer in full swing here I am doing the shopping once Taj wakes up from his sleep, dropping it home and then going straight to the beach for the afternoon. I then come home and get dinner organised. It works well with Little Pinwheel commitments and also with our lifestyle. I want the kids to enjoy the beach and have time with their friends and the shopping is something they enjoy doing too. They know the people at the Growers and the kids love all the attention! Plus personally I was never a fan of food shopping so this makes it more fun for us and less a chore.

I had the best time, watching, following (stalking), and photographing people doing their shopping. I loved watching what they bought, trying to figure out if they were single, if they had children, what kind of lifestyle they lived. I am one that believes the person who buys all the ready-made dinners is one that is either super busy with their careers, or they are on welfare payments and cannot afford to shop for your everyday meats and vegetables. I know as I have grown up the prices of fresh food has gone up. I remember being able to do a weekly shop for $60, and that included fruit, veges and meat. Now it costs me almost $60 a day, depending if I need the toiletries, and the other household things we need to keep a home running. It is amazing how times have changed!

The best experience I had this week was taking the camera with me to Woolworths. I am sure you may have an idea of what might have happened with a large cooperation and a lady with her baby in a trolley and a digital SLR camera in the other hand! I did think about asking the manager if I could take images of people shopping, what they had in their trolleys, or even what they had at the register. But it dawned on me they would say no and it would put a wall up for my column this week. I was snapping away, taking lots of images of Taj in the trolley and every now and then taking photos of people shopping when I could do it subtly. When I got to one isle, I found a shot I had to have, until I heard someone with an announcement over the speakers, it was a code ?? in isle 9, near the Huggies nappies; that was me! I was near the Huggies nappies, with my camera ready to shoot. So as soon as I heard that I turned to Taj and snapped away! He was my cover and it worked. No one approached me and I left the store with limited images, but I had a fun experience!

I am learning to be a detective, or part of the people watching paparatzi is hard work!

Wow, this post is huge! I am really enjoying this column and thinking about other peoples lives a lot more. (I hope you are too)! I think food does shape a person, what they are like and it gives for an interesting shopping trip if you can think about the people around you and what they are taking home to put in their mouths. Life is busy and I can see that by how we all shop. I spoke to a lady at the Growers and she was telling me that you can tell the shoppers like myself that shop every day to the people that shop every week. The every day shoppers will buy a lot more variety and the weekly shoppers buy more from a list, there really is less impulse buying. They come back during the week to top up their milk and bread supplies. She enjoys seeing what people buy, what they put in their mouths and also analysing what sort of people they are.

People watching is nice; it allows you to dream, to think about others, and to reflect on your own life. It is nice to think that your life is pretty good and then to also dream of it being like what you think their lives would be like.

Do you look at what others buy or were you ever a "checkout chick" and analyse what your customers life was like?


  1. This was really interesting. I people watch in the supermarket too!
    Ha at code ?? in aisle 9. I love that you took your camera into the supermarket. :)

    A few supermarkets we've been in recently have changed their layout, and yet not their signs in the aisles!!, which was of course maddening for trying to find things. The people watching was interesting on those times. It was like watching people navigate a maze.

  2. I was a checkout girl in the gourmet section of the Market St DJs in Sydney for several years while at uni. I LOVED imagining who people were cooking for and what their lives were like. I remember one guy coming in buying all these interesting ingredients and I asked him what he was going to do with them all and he was going to make his own pesto. I remember at the time being so impressed that a young handsome fellow would make his own pesto!

  3. "People watching is nice; it allows you to dream, to think about others, and to reflect on your own life. It is nice to think that your life is pretty good and then to also dream of it being like what you think their lives would be like." - yes - I totally agree!
    Thanks for sharing the pics :)

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  5. I found this post really intriguing. I love to watch people and do secretly look at what people are buying and wonder to myself what their life may be like or what kind of people they are. So funny that someone else does this too. :) I really liked the pictures you took while you were adds a nice touch. Thanks so much for stopping by. ♥

  6. I found your shop and blog through Kenziepoo's competition. Have now bookmarked both - love your stuff. Might have to feature some things v soon!



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