Changes and Behaviors of Shopping

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Shopping is an essential part of modern-day Western world life. It is how we obtain processed resources to live, not only in comfort, but also the basic requirements. Stores provide these resources for us to purchase. Today it is very common for us to go the local superstore and walk through the aisles and grab products and place them in the cart. At a time in history it wasn’t like that. Patrons were assisted by a clerk who stood behind a counter where products were kept. As shopping has changed and will continue to change, showing the contrast helps inform consumers and retailers the challenges. This essay will focus on the development of self-service, gendered shopping, through a literature review of Sharon Zukin, Paul du Gay and recent field experience. Self-service, open floor shopping started in the United States around 1909 by a man named, F.W. Woolworth, to increase volume sales and keep prices low (Zukin, 2005:71). Shopping was more of a social experience than today. Shoppers would know the employees and the owner, often engaging in conversation beyond basic small talk. Before, shoppers needed to go to several different stores to get produce, meat, dry goods, textiles, etc. Consolidated self-serving stores made all products transparent. Transparency is essential for comparison of items; it allows each customer to compare one product to another by attributes such as price or quality. Employees that survived downsizing were often put in the same location so that it still gave off the feeling that it was still a social experience. Having the interconnectedness with the store’s employees as well the customer proved to be needed to keep people in the store. It allowed them to feel comfortable to communicate ab... ... middle of paper ... ... layouts. Friendly employees who occasionally engage consumers give the patron a sense of importance, being ignored can hurt the retail-consumer relationship. When clerks are too pushy, or assistive it can also be harmful as shown by example with my neighbor. Females have many more clothing options than men, and are less expensive. This I believe, reflects the focus of intimacy with the customer, and appeals to the more intuitive nature of females. Consumers hold the ultimate power to make or break retailers, it is imperative that they continue to serve the consumer. Small stores moved from a strong social center for gathering of people. It was more of transfer of social centers to more of an intimate shopping experience. In a way, it has allowed the romance of shopping, appearing that a secondary outcome was the love affair between person and product.
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