My observational study was based on Topanga Westfield shopping mall which is the culture, entertainment, and family hub for the West Hills area. The mall caters to multiple demographics from the children to the seniors. For the children, there are various games to keep them occupied and happy such as video games and stores. Most of the parents present in the mall were mothers raising the question about the shopping habits of fathers. Various stores in the mall offer various products which simplifies the convenience of shopping for the parents thereby making the mothers frequent visitors to the mall during summer. There are few complete families which may be geared towards shopping or spend time with their families. Another of the common demographics in malls around the country are the teenagers. The current economic downturn means that most of them have problems finding jobs and instead choose to spend time at the mall either to socialize or to shop. The mall offers the optimum place to keep up with the latest clothing, technology, and other pop culture trends. The teenagers are especially affected by brand popularity as they attempt to establish identity through association with these brands which may be associated with left-centered culturalism.
In observing various people at the mall, I realized that shops in different market product categories use alternative marketing means to attract their target clientele. For example, stores mainly targeting teens had loud music and large posters of other happy teens. This made the stores appealing to teens of all ages. Stores such as American Eagle, Hollister, and H & M successfully used this strategy to draw large crowds to their stores. Additionally, technologically oriented stores such as the Apple shop showcase the latest technology with which the younger generation can associate. However, a major discrepancy is noted in the economic status of the employees versus that of the consumers. most of the employees cannot afford the items on sale which may cause resentment with the upper class. Following on Karl Marxs theory, this resentment may build up to them eventually demanding equality.
Based on my experience, it is clear that the public environment affects peoples behavior significantly. This is associated with the greater confidence from being in a group. When in groups, individuals are more likely to be loud and outgoing as compared to their actual behavior away from the public. Additionally, groups encourage peer pressure at which time individual are more likely to succumb to unwise suggestions from their friends. Due to their diversity and convenience, malls offer a meeting place for people from various backgrounds. In this respect, several factors are critical to how they perceive space and how they use it. A random analysis of 10 people from different racial and cultural backgrounds shows that things like ethnicity, background, and religion can influence how people perceive and use space. For example, when considering the Muslim and Asian students. Both male and female students stated that their use of space was regulated by religious based value systems. In Islam, women are generally discouraged from going outside which results in them preferring to remain with members of the same religion in indoor space while behaving and dressing modestly. In utilizing the grassy spot and fountain in the mall, a Chinese student elaborated that he could not step on the mall grass or put his feet in the fountain since both habits are frowned upon in China. Therefore, mall designers and retailers should consider cultural factors in the design process which will enhance greater cultural integration.
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