This is a part of my everyday routine that is up for improvement – the entrance area to my local supermarket. I went to observe the area during rush hour the other day and took some notes, then went home and brought it all together on paper. It’s pretty rough and ready, but this is what I came up with:

I discovered that it’s a source of congestion. Primarily I guess that is because the entrance and exit are in the same areas, and they are both funnelled through quite a small place. You can’t stop at all or have any kind of delay as both the customers entering and customers exiting don’t like to be held up one bit. I heard people say “come on!” and many a frustrated face as they tried to navigate through this area. To compile the issue, people had to pull out their trolley or pick up their basket, some stopped to donate to a charity, some to buy a Lotto ticket. It was a busy place – not one that deals kindly to slower people, people with kids, people seeing other people they know and wanting to chat, or people who just want to get in and out again ASAP.

An interesting sub-set of this I found were the people who nipped through the one-way door when it opened for the exiting customers. I suppose they wanted something on the other side of the supermarket, and didn’t want to weave their way through all the aisles you have to if you use the main entrance. Still for them though, they had to go halfway down the side to then find an open way into the supermarket, as all the others were blocked by checkouts and people.

The nature of a supermarket means there will be a range of people visiting – some doing their big weekly shop, some picking up particular speciality bits and bobs, some just wanting the staples. Some people rushed and some people took their time. This caused tension as many of the “rushers” were getting frustrated and walking around the “slowers”. Those people just wanted to get in and out.

It was a nice day when I observed, but I’ve been there on cold days and the wind rips through that entrance – it can get cold and dark and drafty. Then as soon as you step into the supermarket it’s regulated, bright, colourful, with safe music playing. There are no windows in the supermarket, no clocks, no easy to get to bathrooms.

I’ve already got a few ideas buzzing around about potential improvements but I’m looking forward to sitting down and getting into some distraction free ideation time. Then I’m going to send it the supermarket owners and keep moaning about the area until it gets changed!

Other blog posts I’ve commented on:

Bec – ‘Observation Task’

Liz – ‘Blog Task 2: Observation’

Shannon – ‘Blog Task 2’