Shopping is one of the most common activities that the current age of civilization engages in on a daily basis. This experiment will be trying to understand one of the main behaviors of people when shopping-failing to return shopping carts to the mall. The experiment will be segmented into two independent experiments. The first experiment involves the naturalistic observation of shoppers in the mall, which by nature needs to be unobtrusive. The second experiment involves the experiment where a variable will be introduced to perceive how the behavior changes.
Statement of the Problem
Shopping is a common activity that people engage in on a daily basis. Behaviors usually exhibited in the shopping mall indicate that people are ignorant of doing activities that they believe could be done by other people as well. One of the most ignored activities in the mall is returning shopping carts. In accordance with the article published in the Data Lounge by an anonymous author, the majority of the people are disemboweled by such behaviors and situations where carts are left in parking spaces (Anonymous, 2011). Therefore, it is a common problem facing people in the country and needs to be studied further.
D'Costa (2017) approaches the problem from a behavioral view and tries to categorize the types of non-returners in the mall. Therefore, there are multiple reasons as to why a person may opt not to return their shopping carts in the mall. Therefore, the unobtrusive observational research will observe people's behavior from afar to identify whether the problem is a serious one in the communities.
Behaviors that shoppers engage in are not random, instead, they are more of habits. In this case, the researcher was more interested in observing people's behavior in the supermarket. And in that regard, observed what they usually do with carts once they were done shopping. This required him/her to take on a vantage position where it was possible to see anything and everything that was happening with the carts. The observer expected that at least half of the shoppers would return the shopping carts as opposed to leaving them carelessly within the premises.
The researchers hypothesized that between 12 a.m. and 6 p.m. on a busy Saturday afternoon, the majority of the shoppers would not return their shopping carts to the shopping mall's entrance where they are usually placed for convenience.
To observe shopping behavior unobtrusively, the researcher will make a deal with the mall's manager to volunteer as a staff member where they could serve the customers as well as observe them. To be specific, the observer would be working as an attendant in charge of collecting all the shopping carts left around the mall and returning them to the mall's entrance. This activity would proceed between 12p.m. and 6p.m. on a busy Saturday afternoon in the mall when most of the people do their shopping. This will involve moving around the shopping mall looking for carts left at inconvenient places, and even going to the mall's parking bay to find if there were any shopping carts left around.
The findings of the research would be collected and recorded in the table below for easier analysis. The research findings will be categorized into two classes of people: returners and non-returners
Returners- People that will return shopping carts to the mall's entrance.
Non-returners- People that will not return their shopping carts to the mall's entrance.
The research unobtrusively observed a total of 40 shoppers that were using their shopping carts to move products up to their cars in the parking pay. The results were intriguing and they are shown in the table below.Behavior during naturalistic observation
Table 1 Naturalistic ObservationThe following pie chart shows the results of the naturalistic observation conducted.
Figure 1 Returning Shopping Carts Chart
Clearly, the unobtrusive observation of the shoppers in the mall supports the hypothesis and disagrees with the theory. The theory observes that at least half of the shoppers would return their shopping carts to the mall's entrance. On the other hand, the hypothesis stated that the majority of the people would not return their shopping carts. The research found that only 12 out of the 40 people (30 %) observed using the shopping cart in the mall actually returned them to the entrance. The fact that a significant portion of the people engage in such ignorant behaviors shows that it is a problem for the community in general.
The majority of the shoppers went about their businesses and did not bother or show any effort whatsoever. This shows that they were already accustomed to such a behavior and were not expected to change unless variables would be introduced that coerced or obliged them to return the shopping carts. The high number of non-returners could be attributed to factors like the lack of knowledge as to whether it is wrong to leave the carts at the parking lot, ignorance, laziness, unwillingness to leave children at the parking bay unattended, assumption that other people would return these carts to the mall. On the other hand, the returners could have been prompted by such factors like the need to show their children how to be responsible, moral obligation, and the fun experienced when pushing their children in the cart (which is very common).
Statement of the Problem
In most of the cases, behaviors are not random, instead they are directed and usually crop from a certain set of factors. In the shopping malls, behaviors are also directed and depend upon some given set of factors. According to D'Costa (2017) leaving stray shopping carts in the parking lot is not an unusual factor, especially in the shopping mall. Most of the people have expressed their dismay at finding parking spots occupied by shopping carts left unattended by previous shoppers. Locker (2017) explains that the phenomenon does not root out of sheer laziness from the shoppers, children, etc. Instead, Locker (2017) explained the behavioral science behind such a phenomenon is justifiable.
Nevertheless, the factors behind such behavior are usually intriguing. For instance, when different variables are introduced to the situation, people would be expected to behave differently. Therefore, to understand this phenomenon better, one would have to introduce a variable that makes the situation different and obliges the shopper to make concise efforts to return their shopping carts. Consequentially, this experiment will otherwise introduce small notes and notifications placed conveniently around the stores and on the carts, informing the individuals to return them to the mall's entrance. By eliminating elements of laziness from this situation, this experiment will try to justify other factors as reasons as to why people do not return the shopping carts to the designated point.
Similar to section 1, this experiment will identify whether people are going to act in accordance with the norm and go on leaving their shopping carts carelessly even after the variable was introduced. By taking the same vantage point (working as a mall attendant and returning the carts to the required place), the observer will perceive how people will react to the variable introduced in the experiment phase. After the notes were introduced, the observer predicted that more than 50% of the respondents would return these carts to a point that was convenient for other shoppers in the mall as well. Therefore, the obligation to return these carts would coerce the majority of the people to return these carts and act in accordance with the known policies of the mall.
The researchers hypothesized that between 12 a.m. and 6 p.m. on a busy Sunday afternoon, the majority of the shoppers would return their shopping carts to the shopping mall's entrance where they are usually placed for other customers' convenience.
Same as in the observational section of the research, the observer will also work out a deal with the manager of the mall where he/she will volunteer his/her services to the store in exchange for the opportunity to observe and collect the relevant data. This means that the researcher will work as an attendant in charge of collecting all the shopping carts left around the mall and returning them to the mall's entrance. This activity would proceed between 12p.m. and 6p.m. on a busy Saturday afternoon in the mall when most of the people do their shopping. It will involve moving around the shopping mall looking for carts left at inconvenient places, and even going to the mall's parking bay to find if there were any shopping carts left around. However, in this case, the notices will be placed conveniently on the shopping carts where it is easily visible by all shoppers, instructing them to act responsibly and return their shopping carts to designated places. Additionally, posters will be stuck around the parking bay emphasizing the same message.
The findings of the research would be collected and recorded in the table below for easier analysis. The research findings will be categorized into two: returners and non-returners
Returners- People that will return shopping carts to the mall's entrance.
During the experiment phase of the research, this study observed a total of 35 shoppers who used the carts to move their products to their cars. Their behavior was recorded and tabulated in the following table.
Table 2 Experiment
As indicated by the theory and hypothesis, people acted as expected from them in the experiment. In the experiment phase, people were more responsive to the notice provided as opposed to the case where there were no notices instructing them as to what to do with the carts after shopping. The pie chart shown below expresses shoppers' behavior during the experiment stage. The number of people represented in the chart are expressed as a percentage of the total number of people observed.
Figure 2 Returning Shopping Carts Chart
The presence of the variable, in this case, obliged the majority of the shoppers (22 out of 35) to return the shopping carts rather than leave them at the parking bay.
This research shows that laziness might have been a contributing factor to non-returning behaviors, however, after the variable was introduced, a different revelation came into play. For instance, it was clear that the majority of the shoppers never assumed the responsibility of returning the carts, instead, they presumed that the staff was paid to do that work. Similarly, the shoppers could have also failed to return these carts simply because they were ignorant of such directions. Therefore, rather than returning the carts even when they knew it was their responsibility, they simply went about their businesses. This accounts for the reason as to why not less than 30 % still left their carts in the parking. Similarly, some of these people could have been just lazy and unwilling to return their shopping carts to the mall, leaving their children unattended in the parking. For that matter, future experiments should try to point out how people would respond to monetary incentives aimed at encouraging people to return the carts.
Clearly, people were accustomed to being non-returners, therefore, they assumed that they were not responsible for returning the carts to the entrance or they were simply unwilling to return them. The naturalistic observation demonstrated that more than 50% of people were non-returners. The presence of the...
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