Nathan R – Quiz #2 – Fiske and Shopping

Posted: February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

As mentioned in last class, for this second reading quiz: go shopping. To a mall, for preference, but anywhere will do. Go shopping and then make a comment on the blog (attached to this post) relating your shopping experience to the Fiske text on shopping. Make sure to leave your name!

This post will count as a reading quiz. If you post before our next class the Friday after the break, and your post relates substantially to the Fiske reading, that is a 2/2 quiz. A later post, or one without a strong link to something in Fiske, will be a more fractional mark.

If you have any questions, drop me an email,

and,

happy shopping!

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Comments
  1. cs341blog says:

    Emily Wilmot

    After visiting the mall yesterday, I observed many things that relate to Fiske’s article, “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power and Resistance.” I found it difficult to differentiate the classes based on the stores people consumed from. To some extent it is easy to see the lower class consumers based on what they wear to the mall and the bags in their hands. It is more challenging to differentiate the middle class from upper class due to the fact that they both have disposable income and are willing to spend at the mall. These people tend to have a variety of bags, most of which include exquisite and, therefore, expensive stores. These people tend to be dressed in nice clothes with the women having their hair and makeup done nicely. This shows that nowadays our society still shows their class based on the stores they shop in. In Fiske’s article he talks about the mall structure, which is still evident today. In many high-end malls such as the Eaton Centre and Yorkdale this structure is still evident. Consumers will likely find designer stores and expensive jewelry stores on the upper level and Shoppers Drug Mart, Old Navy and their equivalents on the lower level. I also witnessed some proletarian shopping. There were mom’s at the mall with their babies who gathered to talk and walk around with what looked like no intension on consuming. As they walk by stores that catch their interested they look in the window to see what is being displayed and then continue to the next store.

    • cs341blog says:

      Keltie Johnson – Quiz 2

      Yesterday, I went shopping at the Eaton Centre. One thing that is mentioned in Fiske’s article, is the consumer feeling ‘forced to buy’. After reading the article, I have started to pay closer attention to this when I am shopping. I noticed that in one store that I went into, there were no mirrors in the fitting rooms. Upon coming out of the fitting room, to find the closest mirror, I found that there were multiple sales people waiting outside. The minute I walked out of the change room, they were all telling me how I good I looked and how I HAD to buy the items. I then, felt as though I had to ‘come up with a reason’ as to why I didn’t want the clothes.

      Working in retail, I have become very aware of techniques used in stores to appeal to different audiences. For example, I noticed in store after store, that the smaller sale items are kept at the front of the store. Since people are generally at the front of the store to check out, they tend to buy smaller, less expensive items out of impulsivity.

      I found that there were a lot of different stores that had the same product in it. For example, this particular mall has both an Aritzia and a TNA. Before they put the TNA in the mall, Aritzia was the main source for people to get their TNA clothing. I believe that the strategy behind this might be more advertising. There are multiple locations where you can buy this merchandise, because if someone who is unfamiliar with the mall may have missed one, they will probably see at least one out of the two.

      The way that this particular mall is set up does appeal to a lot of people. There is a giant fountain in the middle, it is equipped with two food courts and also has many stops for beverages or snacks along the long halls. People no longer go to malls because they are in need of a certain product. The mall is now designed as an experience. It is a place for parents to take their children to get out of the house for a couple of hours. It is a place for teenagers to meet up and have somewhere warm where they can socialize. Knowing this, the designers of these malls have shaped the ‘new-wave mall’ around this. Malls are now designed so that a person will never go hungry/thirsty. They are designed to catch your eye, whether it be with attractive décor or sky-high water fountains. The marketing of a mall into an experience is one of the main reasons why malls have become such a strong part of our culture.

    • cs341blog says:

      Jocelyn Bovay- Quiz 2

      In Fiske’s reading he discusses how shopping malls are “cathedrals of consumption” which is because consumers are forced to ‘buy into’ the ideas and ideologies presented within malls, much like members of the church buy into the ideologies presented by the priest. Furthermore, he argues that malls are open to trickery as many who go to the mall actually don’t buy anything, they are teenagers going to hangout, or moms walking around pushing strollers in groups. Store owners hope they will become buyers but they have no control over if or when they will buy something. When I went to the mall, you can clearly see these people, groups of preteens stick out like glue and have more fun chasing each other around than actually looking at anything. My purpose of going to the mall was actually to book a trip at Flight Centre. After going there, hearing about all my options for my trip, guidelines etc. I left with a lot of information but I didn’t end up purchasing it that day. Flight Centre is in my opinion the most at risk for “window shoppers” as they can promote their services to those interested, show what exactly they can do and how much you can get for you money but they really have no control over if or when you buy, causing the trickery that Fiske discusses.

      Fiske also proposes that females feel as sense of accomplishment and empowerment from shopping which has been labelled typically “feminine”. However when I was at the mall, especially in Flight Centre, there were many more men to women present.

      Finally, Fiske discusses the concept of display and how prominent it is in our society. He states that it is “a need for self-esteem and respect.. denied by production but can be met by consumption”. This we can see as soon as we step foot in the mall. People with money to spend go to the brand name, “high fashion” stores like Dynamite, Aritzia, Sephora, Coach etc. This is because they want to display the best image of themselves for people to see, and they feel that can be achieved through wearing these stores. In these stores you can tell by looking at the people shopping in them that they are at least middle-class, but it is often hard to distinguish between middle and upper just through appearances.

  2. cs341blog says:

    Courtney Bruce

    After going to the mall I had noticed things that can be related to John Fiske’s chapter, “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance”. As I walked around the mall I noticed things that I had normally not been aware of. While I was walking around I had noticed a few things, one being when people were making purchases in stores they seemed to be happy I also noticed people with more bags and purchases seemed to carry themselves differently. They walk around with more confidence as Fiske has said in the chapter that the need for display is a need for self-esteem and respect (Fiske, 317). People without as many bags seemed to be looking around more and into the stores window displays without the confidence that those with many purchases had.

    Even for myself I just went to observe and I was considering myself as a window shopper when I left I had felt as a successful window shopper but then I had realized I fell into the trickery because although I did not buy anything from the stores I was walking by I had bought food from the food court. I tried to avoid buying anything and just act as a mall walker or window shopper but I did without even being aware. This is part of the trickery and tenacity of the mall that Fiske had talked about. I went from a window shopper to an economic consumer as the mall had wanted.

  3. cs341blog says:

    Tyler Stothers

    After leaving class I thought it would be a perfect time to finally finish off my Valentines day shopping and without thinking invited some of my roommates to tag along. Being the only one with a car I thought maybe some of them, who are all also teammates of mine would want to get away from playing NHL14 for an hour or two and help me pick something out. Upon arriving I started to scope out the mall and think about what I could possibly include in my post that would demonstrate a few if not one of Fiske’s main points. Luckily as I walked into my first store Pandora alone (because it was not the store 4 university jocks go into together?) I was instantaneously greeted by a woman that said “oh hi! you look like you could use some help!?” She was very helpful and basically walked me through exactly what I should be getting and why.

    This to me was the perfect example of Fiske’s argument that “shopping and romantic love are practices in which women excel and men are deficient”.This woman took one look at me as if I was some lost puppy dog that needed her advice and assistance. I was in her domain so to speak and was made well aware of her shopping and women intuition. She seemed very proud of this God given gift and too be honest I actually appreciated it at the time. It wasn’t until after I left and wandered through the mall searching for my friends as they mindlessly roamed the mall window shopping that I started to link my experience to the essay of Fiske’s.

    The need to browse and try on shoes they were never going to buy and the need for this woman to “save” me were perfect examples of “proletarian shopping” and the idea of shopping as an empowering achievement to women. Both these examples are directly related to the social practices Fiske stresses throughout his essay and both encounters strengthened his argument in my mind because it brought his main points to life

  4. cs341blog says:

    Danielle Wong

    The week before Spring Break can be pretty stressful. With midterm after midterm, or potential midterms later on, it can bring a lot of tension to the mind. Sometimes after these stressful situations, it is nice to relax and unwind to some music, a mindless reality television show, or even some retail therapy.

    Fiske’s article, “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance” reminds me of the idea of shopping therapy. I think retail therapy is a form of distraction that allows an individual to remove oneself from the current overload of duties or information in the mind. With constant exposure of commodities, the shopping centres appear to possess a mystical power that can change the attitudes, mood, and behaviour of a consumer. For instance, when a woman purchases a new fashionable trend (e.g. outfit, pair of shoes, or perfume) it is like an ego boost. She feels a sense of personal achievement, rise in self-esteem, and power (Fiske 310).

    I’ve definitely seen this behaviour present in my friends and even myself. Shopping, even window-shopping, brings a sense of fulfillment, control, and consumption power. Of course the feeling is temporary, but it is a fulfilling mental health break. Whether a person is buying a product from a prestigious store or buying ice cream from the food court, I noticed a change from how the person would carry himself or herself. The outcome is like the feeling you get when you have the caffeine fix in the morning.
    Regardless if they are purchasing or browsing, it allows the shopper to have a sense of control, empowerment, and freedom of decisions (Fiske 311).

  5. cs341blog says:

    Mackenzie McGraw-Yan

    As Danielle said, the week or weeks leading up to reading week can be very stressful. Without even fully realizing it, you’ve already half way into the semester and everything is due. I certainly had a week like that. As I returned to Toronto, I was looking forward to spending time with friends, family, my pug, relaxing and most definitely some shopping. I will now relate my shopping experiences to John Fiske’s reading “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power and Resistance”

    One of the malls I visited on reading week was Vaughan Mills Mall. For those who have never gone, this mall is simply massive. Due to its size, one of the services the mall offers to guests is the Healthy Strides Walking Club, which is an organized walking group sponsored by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The group has several routes and members across Canada. This relates to Fiske’s reading as ‘mall walking’ serves as a form of “trickery and tenacity”. As Fiske writes, offering walking services to customers isn’t an entirely altruistic act as mall owners and retailers hope that sometime these “tricky users” will become economic consumers.

    Another mall I visited on reading week was Fairview Mall, and I would like to relate this to the Centrepoint mall construction as described in Fiske’s reading. Fairview mall consists of two levels, and in relation to the corresponding democratic, middle and upper class shops and their respective levels I found that Fairview followed this format, with a few exceptions. To briefly refresh the reader,

    Democratic Shops- low priced goods, ex: pharmacies, convenience stores, etc. location- lowest floors
    Middle Class Shops- medium priced trendy items selling a variety of fashion wear ex: H&M, Forever 21. location- lower to middle floors
    Upper Class Shops- high end exclusive goods. ex: Tiffanys, Michael Kors, etc. location- the highest floors

    With that being said, the upper class stores tended to be located on the 2nd level including: BCBG, Ben Moss Jewelers, Marciano, Birks, Swaroski,etc. However, there were a few exceptions to this rule- including Forever 21, Claires, Hollister, Aeropostale (which I would categorize as middle class level stores according to the model) all of which were located on the 2nd levels, when according to the centrepoint shopping structure theory, should’ve been located on the 1st. Aside from these exceptions, the 1st floor did contain a variety of democratic and middle class shops. Some democratic shop examples included: including Hallmark and various food retailers (Tim Hortons, McDondalds, etc.). Some middle class shops included: HM, the Gap, Blunotes, Suzy Shier, Urban Planet, Garage, etc.

    As one can see, I certainly participated in some retail therapy; and when I viewed the shopping malls with Fiske’s reading in mind, I picked up many details that I wasn’t previously aware of.

  6. cs341blog says:

    Kimberly H

    It is no doubt that malls are a place for consumption. Whether it is through the purchase of merchandise, eating in the food court, or simply looking at an advertisement we are consuming in one way or another. After doing some shopping over the break, I was able to connect with the idea of “proletarian shopping”. By this it is referring to window-shopping, whereby an individual looks at what a store displays on their window without wanting to buy anything, but instead just “looking”. As I was walking through malls, I realized that I was guilty of doing this. Although I was on the lookout for good deals and sales that stores were having, most of the time I would just pass by stores looking at what they were advertising without even going in. However, stores try hard into creating advertisements and displays that will catch consumers’ attention. They want you to look into their store to get a glimpse of what they offer in aim to have you purchase something. I found myself eventually falling into their trickery by buying a snack from a stand that reminded me on how hungry I was getting.

    Furthermore, even if you are not in the mall to shop but instead to walk around, or hang out you are still being dragged into the power of shopping malls. I witnessed a lot of young teenagers hanging out in the malls I visited, just chatting with their friends and although they are not necessarily shopping, they are still being taught how to consume. By looking at various advertisements or seeing what other shoppers are buying, they are getting ideas about what different items they might one day like to purchase as well (310). The more people tend to gather in a mall, the more potential consumers that mall could gain in the future.

  7. cs341blog says:

    Megan Reyes

    I decided to go to Yorkdale Mall with a few of my friends during reading week. After reading Fiske’s article, I notice a lot more things I wouldn’t have before. One was as other people mentioned, a lot of moms with their kids. They were walking around the mall, but you can tell they were not there to consume. Instead they walked around and stopped in front of the stores to window-shop. Fiske calls this “proletarian shopping,'” when consumers do not go to the mall to shop, but just to look.

    In addition, Fiske refers to “forced to buy,” when consumes have no power to negotiate and become powerless (Fiske, pg 306). I would have to agree with Fiske for a couple reasons:

    I work in retail, so I understand the pressures of selling to someone to make certain quotas. But I’ve also been in retail long enough to know the do’s and don’ts, so I become very observant when I am shopping in other stores. When walking into certain stores, you can tell which create urgency for sales and which do not. Zara for example is not based on individual sale goals, so the employees are responsible for just organizing the store and not helping customers unless asked. But when my friend walked into Michael Kors to look for a watch, she got a different experience. She tried a few on, and could tell the sales associate was really trying to push for her to buy one right then and there when she already told her that she was just getting ideas. The sales associate repeated the return and exchange policy over and over and eventually my friend gave in and bought a watch.

    Before we got to the mall, I told myself I would not buy anything and just window shop. But me being who I am and Yorkdale having every store I could think of, I could not resist the temptation of something new. This was especially hard when the rest of my friends were buying things left and right. I could not deal with walking around empty handed. Being put into this situation, I felt forced to buy something so that I didn’t feel left out. This cycle continued the rest of the time there. By the end of the day, I left with more bags then I anticipated.

  8. cs341blog says:

    Jessie Nichols

    Over reading week I decided to go shopping at the mall in my hometown, and although this is what I will be mainly relating to the Fiske article, I will also be relating one section of the article to a shopping experience I had in France a couple of years ago.

    At the beginning of the article, Fiske talks about the commonalities between consumerism and religion, stating that “Commodities become the icons of worship and the rituals of exchanging money for goods becomes a secular equivalent of holy communion” (306). Although it is sometimes hard to admit, I can see where Fiske is coming from when he says this. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that shopping is a religious experience, but I do agree that when shopping, items (mainly clothes for me) do become items of worship and can it be very difficult to deny yourself the purchase sometimes. When I went to the mall over reading week I told myself that I didn’t need too many new clothes so I should limit myself to two items, but after entering a couple stores I found myself getting drawn in by all the items around me. It really was as if they were icons of worship like Fiske discusses and the power of consumerism pushed me to purchase more than I needed.

    In one section of the article Fiske discusses the promotional ticket that was given out to consumers in a Australian mall with the slogan “Your ticket to a better shopping experience world: admits everyone.” Fiske discusses, through the ideas of Pressedee, the problems that arise is regards to this slogan and how the shopping experience really isn’t for “everyone.” He says the when it comes to consumerism, those who do not work and who do not have spending power are discriminated against and denied the basic function of the ticket. The ticket, and consumerism, is only attainable to those who have money and spending power. This specific section of the text reminded of a situation I witnessed while shopping in France a couple of years ago. I was walking around a shopping district when I happened to be near a “Burberry” store, which is obviously an expensive store that requires lots of spending power. I saw two younger (late teens) try to enter the Burberry store who were dressed in average clothes and it was clear that they were backpacking and were not concerned with wearing fancy or expensive clothing. Upon entering a security guard stopped them and would not let them into the store. This seemed completely wrong to me and it seemed that the security was judging the shoppers because he didn’t think that they looked like they could afford any of the clothing in the store. In the article Fiske talked about the term “proletarian shopper” which means a shopper with no intention to buy, and maybe that’s what the security guard saw when he looked at these two shoppers. Regardless of the reasoning it is still wrong.

    Fiske in one section of the article discusses the idea that although we do have a wide range of choice while shopping which we believe contributes to our individualism, all the goods are, overall produced at the same historical moment by the same capitalist society and this can sometime create a false individualism. I agree with this statement. When shopping in the mall over reading week I noticed how there were certain styles and trends that were prevalent in almost all clothing stores and there wasn’t a huge variety of difference. Something that became increasingly aware to me was the fact that stores that sell clothing for a cheaper price are starting to sell clothes that look almost identical to clothing that you can find at an expensive store. I had purchased a top at Aritzia, and ten minutes later went into Urban Planet and found an almost identical top for a much cheaper price. This is proof of the idea that although there is a plenitude of difference, it can exist only within an overall similarity.

  9. cs341blog says:

    Dana Capland

    After visiting a mall in my hometown, I noticed many aspects that are related back to John Fiske’s chapter Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance. The first aspect I noticed was the trickery within the mall. With inviting walking programs and even rental buggies for children, the mall is successfully luring in its consumers without them even being aware. My friend and I were visiting the mall for the sole purpose of purchasing new headphones, but as we walked through the mall to get to the store we got consumed by other stores and made some purchases on the way. I hadn’t even realized I was falling into the trickery and the intent of buying that Fiske had been referring too as.

    Another aspect I noticed within the mall was the act of “proletarian shopping”, those who window shop with no intent of buying (Fiske, 309). People such as the mothers with the strollers and “mall walkers” will often walk by stores that catch their attention, and will usually just observe what is in the window with no intent of buying. As they are in the mall with the intention of their own pleasure, they most likely have no intentions of making a purchase, and are most likely more consumed with the space of the mall rather then the commodities within it.

    The way that the mall is set up is also another aspect expressed in Fiske’s chapter. As said in the reading there is a strategy in the overall structure of the mall. Fiske explains that there are three levels in malls, democratic, which are low priced goods that appeal to everyone, Middle class that are the medium priced trendy fashion stores, and the upper class shops are the exclusive and more expensive goods (Fiske, 325). This construction described in Fiske’s reading is consistent with the mall I had visited. Although this mall was only two floors, the distinction between the identities of the two floors is clear. The first floor of the mall was a mix of democratic and middle class levels which included democratic shops like; Shoppers, Carlton Cards, and various fast food chains. Additionally some middle class stores include H&M and Garage. The upper level of the class consisted of more exclusive stores like Coach, BCBG, Aritzia, and Honey. The differentiation in the location of goods on different floors is consistent with Fiske’s view on the overall structure of malls. These are just few of the many aspects that are existent within the mall and that are consistent with Fiske’s attitude towards malls as a site of consumption.

  10. cs341blog says:

    Katelyn Roetcisoender

    After reading John Fiske’s article “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power and Resistance,” I realized what Fiske meant when he said that “shopping malls are the cathedrals of consumption” (Fiske, 310). This religious metaphor defines mall culture because we consume products, time, energy, food and advertisements when we are in a mall. Everyone is gathered at this location for one purpose: to consume, similar to a church. The difference, as illustrated in the novel, is the product failure rate is high for a mall, typically 80-90% (Fiske, 310). Any religion would not tolerate this kind of failure rate but it is an aspect of mall culture that is hard to control. Personally, I contribute to the product failure rate. I would consider myself what Fiske calls a “proletariat shopper.” This means that a person is in the mall with no intent to buy anything, but simply to look and window shop. As a student with a tight budget, I find myself avoiding the mall so I do not become tempted by the products stores have to offer but when I am there, window shopping is the primary form of shopping that takes place.

    Another aspect that I noticed when immersed in mall culture was the shoppers. Typically, they were females that were browsing and shopping, just as Fiske mentioned. Fiske states that women have historically been living private lives, meaning they were contained to their households and its duties. When women go shopping, its blurs the line between private and public and “offers freedom” (Fiske, 320). Our narcissistic pleasure lies in being idealized by the male gaze, according to Fiske, so what better way to display our taste through the power of consumption. Overall, mall culture has a power over consumers through tenacity and trickery that compels us to spend time in them.

  11. cs341blog says:

    Over the reading week, I had the opportunity to go to Markville Shopping Mall. Over the past couple years Markville Mall has completely changed towards a positive direction. The mall brought various high-end brands and designer stores to the mall from Michael Kors to J CREW; which ultimately changes the overall target market and targeted social class of the mall. Fiske states “the function of commodities, then, is not just to meet individual needs, but also to relate the individual to the social order (Fiske, 319).” Originally Markville, was seen to be targeted towards middle/lower class. Now, after a hefty renovation and the acquiring of big designer names; the mall has transformed to be targeting upper-class and middle-class consumers. Those that want to be associated with the social class of upper class then to make trips to Markville now to make purchases to Michael Kors, JCREW and etc. Prior individuals use to make trips to Yorkdale mall, but Markville mall has become the hot spot for upper-class individuals.

    Fiske talks about the notion of window shopping and the power window shopping has over us. We usually enter malls to window shop, hangout with our friends, or just walk around; but usually ends up being an expensive shopping spree. We originally have no intention of making purchases, but after a lap around the mall; our consumerism mindset kicks in. The reason behind this is the window display. The window displays creates an attraction/force that pulls the consumers towards it. The bright lights, the big signs and the mannequins wearing fashionable clothing within the display; will eventually talk to us. At times, I may think I came out without buying anything, but in all honestly I have. Windowing shopping isn’t just buying the tangible goods, but it also means buying the idea. The idea of fashion and how to dress can be acquired by window shopping. Usually another trip is made that week to make a purchase. The way how we should look and dress is acquired through window shopping. This is how the money is generated within the mall. At the end of the day, consumption occurs within a mall; tangible or intangible.

    Braveen Ravivarman
    100229640

  12. cs341blog says:

    Jordan Buchbinder

    “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power and Resistance”, by John Fiske pretty much says it how it is, “Shopping malls are cathedrals of consumption” (P306). My shopping experience took place in Florida in the Boca Town Centre which is a high end mall with mostly designer stores and department stores. I went shopping with my girlfriend, and we spent a lot of time in Macy’s well at least she did. But I found it funny how there lots of couches in the female sections compared to the men’s section, as if they know that guys are going to get bored and want to sit there. In comparison to the men’s section under the assumption men go in and go out and get what they want. I do agree with his point that there is a sense of empowerment for women when they are shopping, and they definitely are more familiar with the stores and what they can get out of it. I found the women’s section way too overwhelming so many options and add ons there were t-shirts to wear with t-shirts and so many accessories. But it is definitely very welcoming to women, there are women only sections in the change room and free samples of make up and perfume. “The shoppingtown, women have access to public space without the stigma or threat of the street” (P313). Which is true since shoppers are more predominantly female and same with mall employees.
    When I went into the basketball shoe store, I really did find that the slogans were commodities that spoke to me and influenced me into making a purchase (P310). Just simple slogans like “witness” and the association with Lebron James that the word witness is linked to the idea of witnessing greatness like Lebron James.
    I did notice for myself and lots of other people at the mall that window shopping is a big thing, it is the idea of wanting something that makes it more desirable, as well seeing other people pass by it that makes it catch your attention. Like Fiske says the “proletarian shopping is closely bound up with the power of looking” (P322). The way we see celebrities dressed and their “look”, makes us want to imitate their look, for example there is something about Daniel Craig’s persona of being James Bond and having a cut out of him wearing an Omega watch that makes me want to imitate that look. .
    Overall there is a mystifying feeling conceived about shopping and it is true, for some reason we all love it, whether we are window shopping or making purchases, “buying commodities offers a sense of freedom” (P328). It is the satisfaction of being able to purchase something after all one’s hard work and time put into things like this

  13. cs341blog says:

    Lexie Stevens

    This week I went to the mall, as I do many times a week since I currently work at Conestoga mall. I thought I’ll go a little bit early for one of my shift so I can look around and see what the new spring trends are. I went in with full intentions of just being a window shopper. However, this was not the case. A front display caught my eye and I walked in the store. The next thing I knew I was in the fitting room trying on clothes. Also the sales associates are bringing pieces that they think would look good on me. I know this trick from working in retail that if you can get the customer to try it on and come out and show you they are more likely to buy it. Yet I still fell victim to it.

    Now I am trying on the pieces that they have suggested and they are asking me to come out of the fitting room, saying they would love to see how items look on me. I come out and every sales associate is telling me how great the piece look and how it will be such a versatile piece for me.

    Now I am feeling forced to buy. The sales associates have done all this work and now I feel like they are pressuring me to buy it all. When really I had no intention to buy anything on this shopping trip, I was just looking before I started work. I have now gone from the window shopper to the consumer, exactly what the mall wanted to happen.

  14. Tomas Larouche says:

    Tomas Larouche

    Over reading week I had the chance to go shopping at the Eaton Centre and I tried to observe certain ideas presented in Fiskes reading, “Shopping for pleasure: Malls, Power and Resistance”. One thing I noticed during my shopping experience was how inviting it was, catering towards both genders and all incomes, they don’t want to send anyone away. Stores range from Gap and Old Navy up to high end stores like Banana Republic and Harry Rosen. This range of stores combined with seeing others all around you purchasing and consuming creates a feeling of being forced to buy. You may walk in without much money but you don’t want to feel discouraged by not being able to buy anything so you will rationalize and can settle for lower end clothing like Old Navy over Banana Republic, while still satisfying that need to consume at the mall. Another interesting thing I noticed was the design of the mall, most of the high end stores were on the upper floors while the lower end ones and food court was down below, giving a feel that the higher up you go the higher class you are. Lastly what was most evident at the Eaton Centre was the “proletarian shopping” going on. I observed many groups people, mostly women just sitting around a fountain or food court chatting instead of shopping, or many like me just looking at the stores from the outside window shopping without ever going in. This type of shopping is very easy to do at the Eaton Centre as it is designed quite well for this, and while I don’t feel like I was really consuming any products I was still spending an afternoon there looking around, taking in everything around me.

  15. cs341blog says:

    Matt Douglas

    John Fiske’s paper: “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power and Resistance” illuminates on how the assemblage of the shopping mall works to proliferate the notion that shopping is a normative and even desirable activity. My experience in the shopping allowed me to dissect the implicit evaluations made through the shopping mall’s arrangement and articulation. I think Fiske’s point that “the function of commodities […] is not just to meet individual needs, but also to relate the individual to the social order (319)” is inline with my observations at the mall. People were more concerned with what they were buying or what they could not afford than to actually consider if the whole process of going to a mall and buying objects is something that is actually normal and admirable. I found it interesting that there was a firm division between those who work at the mall and those who shop. I think Fiske would have like to analyze the retail/sales person persona further.

    I personally disagree with Fiske connection between shopping and religious practice. While I undoubtedly see how shopping or consumerism can be argued to have whittled away traditional values, it is a stretch to assume that a teenaged girl shopping at H&M feels, or has the capacity to feel, anything spiritual.

    • cs341blog says:

      Leanne Curlew – Quiz #2

      While walking around the Upper Canada Mall over the break, I noticed some examples of situations relating to John Fiske’s main arguments in the reading, “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance”. The article discusses the relationship between women, shopping malls, and consumption. There is a gendered construction of values associated with these concepts. Fiske sees spending money as feminine. As I walked through the mall, I noticed an abundance of females doing the shopping. Not only this, but there are many more stores that target females in the mall than males. I also noticed that some of the stores that target both genders have a smaller section for men’s clothing. Often, the promotional signs displayed in the store windows are describing discounts related to female products. It was evident that stores were representing gender constructions. As Fiske says in the article, shops construct their identity, individuals construct their images, and language constructs social reality (325). It was easy to identify the different styles between each store and that the individuals in the stores were portraying an image related to that style.
      Another point made by Fiske is that those subordinated in the economic system feel that buying is an empowering act in a world where capitalists state that money is power (Fiske 316). I noticed examples of this while sitting in the food court at the mall. There were many tables of people who had pulled out the items they had recently purchased to show the rest of their group what they bought. Everyone that I noticed seemed very pleased with their purchases, which supports the idea that buying is an empowering act. In some groups, it appeared that people were trying to ‘one-up’ each other by showing off a higher quality item, which supports the idea of money being power.
      ‘Proletarian shopping’ was clearly taking place at this mall as well. I noticed a group of mothers walking around with strollers where they used the mall as an indoor location to get exercise. I noticed many teenagers who were standing in small groups like preteens do at recess. It was evident that they came to the mall for social reasons and not actually to buy anything. Space was being consumed in these situations rather than commodities.

  16. cs341blog says:

    Rykker Nyberg

    Recently I went to Conestoga Mall with a friend, and I noticed some things that Fiske discussed in the reading for this week. There are a great deal of window shoppers, or what Fiske calls “proletarian shoppers.” Going to the mall, it appears, is not about buying things you need or even necessarily things you want. It is a whole experience that comes with food, social events, commodities, and niche shopping. I noticed that many of the people at the mall were not there to shop, but to walk about and take in the atmosphere. It appears going to the mall is a social event in itself, and not just for shopping.

    The issue with this is that even though we may be at the mall conservatively, not spending money on needless commodities and nic-nacs, we are still being conformed to the culture of purchasing. We see things we want and maybe we will buy them in the near future. The mall is a powerful place, one which, as I noticed in my trip, is not just about buying,but being there. Being at the mall is a contributing factor to the consumer culture.

  17. cs341blog says:

    Chris James

    Over the break I visited Lansdowne Place mall in Peterborough and I was able to witness examples and demonstrations of many of the main ideas presented by Fiske in, “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance.” One example that Fiske discusses which I found particularly evident during my visit to the mall was the presence of the youth proletarian shopper. Fiske uses this term to describe the young visitors of the mall who are only consuming images and space and have no intention to buy anything. I found that there was an overwhelmingly large number of these people present during my visit, particularly the centre large food court which has couches and tables set up around a fake fireplace. These people where often sitting in large groups and appeared to only be there to hangout and socialize as they appeared to show little or know interest in consuming the vast majority of the available commodities around them. Very few had any bags suggesting a purchase from any of the stores, although some had a drink or food wrapper suggesting that they had in fact made a purchase while they where there.
    In Fiske’s article he refers to a boutique owner telling him that approximately 1 in 30 browsers actually purchased something. I decided to approach a sales associate at Boathouse and asked him what fraction of browsers did he believe bought something. He told me 1 in 5. This discrepancy could be explained by the fact that the owner likely would spent much longer hours in the store and also be more aware of the sales that occur on a daily basis. The sale associate however, would be making more of a blind guess given he likely does not have access to that information.
    Another aspect of Fiske’s article that I observed in the mall was his idea that the act of purchasing a good can be a particularly empowering moment, given that in capitalism money is power. This idea was evident during my visit when i witnessed a father purchase his son a new, expensive pair of skates. The son was grinning ear to ear and discussing loudly how excited he was to show of his new purchase to his teammates and friends. His father appeared to be quite aware that this scene was the centre of attention of many people in the store and was smiling and told his son that his friends will be quite jealous of his new skates. Clearly both the son and the father felt empowered as a result of purchasing this good as they both where aware of the attention that they will receive as a result of this purchase.

  18. cs341blog says:

    Nicholas Wattie

    Over the reading week, I chose to visit my local mall in Brampton. The Bramalea City Centre. An area often renovated and improved to appeal to the more high end shopper, with several pockets of almost flea market-esque storefronts still lingering from days gone by. With my adventure to the mall, I made sure to go at the most opportune time to see as Fiske calls them “proletariat shoppers”.

    There is no better time to do this than around 3 p.m, As the surrounding schools let out their anxious students, the malls become flooded with the social butterflys that use the mall as their after school hangout. Kids wandering around, being loud and social as they parade their school uniforms around the vast hallways. For the most part, as I looked upon these young people one thing stands out very easily. That is the lack of shopping bags in their hands. One would think that the large amount of consumers that arrive after school would be anxious to shop and spend their money in their favourite place to wander.

    This is not the case however. Actually purchasing commodities is not the main goal of their mall journeys. In fact for the most part, it is the last thing that is on their mind. They make their presence known to the general population of the mall, but their entire reason for being there is not for the purpose of shopping.

    Fiske refers to this attitude as “proletariat shopping” as they use their lack of shopping as a resistance to the bourgeois activity of conspicuous consumption. Their act of continuous window shopping is a pure example of fighting against the system that is in place. They take what is given to them, the public space to consume and shop, but attempt to make it into something completely different. This is something that is easily observable, not only with the young students, but also early morning senior walkers, who use the mall as nothing more than a treadmill.

  19. cs341blog says:

    Over the reading week I went Conestoga Mall, in Waterloo, with plans to see a movie. When the movie was sold out my friend and I ended up looking around the mall because she had a gift card. This led us in a cycle walking from store to store looking in the windows to which when we liked what we saw we would walk in and look around and try things on. Within this shopping experience it was dealing with clothes. Fiske mentions the concept of the window shopper within “ Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance”. Fiske states “ Pressdee coins the term “proletarian shopping” to describe this window shopping with no intention to buy”(309). That said, we had little intention to buy unless we found something we liked.
    Working in retail I know the concept of sales and trying to get customers to buy more. I work at Sportchek to which the concept of sales is discussed daily but I never noticed anything of it as employees were their to help and provide information about product instead of pushing you to buy.
    In this particular experience I went into one store where the concept of sales was quite aggressive. Window-shopping was what drew both my friend and I in through a sale sign to which we wanted to try on a few items. After starting a change room employees were putting none sale items in the change room on the notion it was something that suit us and our ‘look’. That said, they were brand new items not on display, but on a rack near the change rooms ready to be given to customers. It seemed harmless until the constant comments about the clothing and how we should get it came around. It came across as genuine but we left feeling like we had no freedom or choice within the matter and what we tried on. I left with not a sale item but a regular priced item to which I felt I could not make any excuse not to buy as everyone could tell I really did love the top.
    Fiske states “consumption, then, offers a sense of control over communal meanings of oneself and social relations, it offers a means of controlling to some extent the context of everyday life”(315). I found within this experience I did have the freedom and control to make the decision but it was impaired by the constant persuasion within the store. After all I did not want to feel like I was a teenager once again walking around the mall hanging out with my friends never contributing, I did not want to be a trickster (308). After all I am an individual grown women capable of making my own decisions, apparently with a little bit of help.

    Tori Sutherland

  20. cs341blog says:

    Allie Sanchez

    For this weeks quiz, I am choosing to write about my experience at Square One mall. While at Square One I was able to relate many of Fiske’s cental ideas in “Shopping for Pleasure: Malls, Power, and Resistance”. One of the main ideas which largely stood out to me is the idea of empowerment.”My informant’s apparent embarrassment at the “exploitation” of the shop assistant indicates that she understood the relations between her mother and the assistant…her pleasure was caused by her empowered position in this relationship” (316). In this passage, Fiske is referring to a story about a child going to a shoe store with her mom on occasion to buy shoes, although her mother would never keep them. The mother, knowing that she probably wouldn’t keep them in the first place, still made the shop assistant run around for her. This is where the sense of empowerment comes to play in shopping malls. Although we may not always purchase products when we go into the store, consumers still have the option to exploit the shop workers and impose their power, which they may not always possess in their everyday lives.

    This relates to my shopping experience, because myself as a fourth year university student, do not have very much power over my peers and people I deal with in my every day life, but when I go to the shopping mall, I all the sudden possess the power as a consumer. I can make choices to purchase things, and I also possess the power to exploit people and make them run around for me (which I don’t actually do btw). This to me is one of the main ideas that stuck out to me because I do believe it to be very true. A lower class person who works in a factory earning less than minimum wage who is exploited at there place of work, can go to a mall and exercise their will over other people. For some, shopping may be their only sense of empowerment.

  21. Pouya Moosavi says:

    Pouya Moosavi –

    During the break I had a chance to go to the Eaton Centre in Toronto, as I needed to take my computer in to the Apple Store. While in there, I observed shoppers who somewhat fit Fiske’s description of troublemakers, however more so people just hanging out as opposed to causing trouble. There were many younger teens hanging out in groups playing around with the computers and iPads. There were also lots of people around in the food court area without shopping bags who might have just been eating or avoiding the weather. I remember in high school escaping the weather by going into the local mall with my friends and spending our lunch hours in the food court or at the Futureshop playing with the new electronics and games.

    Another interesting thing I noted is the gender disparity evident in the mall. I noticed that most shoppers were women and most of the stores and advertisements were geared towards women, and most of the men I saw were with women. This relates to Fiske and his work because he talks a lot about women and their consumption. Fiske also discussed how shopping can be seen for some as a sign of having control. I agree with this because a lot of the stores and brands in the mall tend to be associated with status, and people can somewhat control how they are perceived by how and where they shop.

  22. cs341blog says:

    Elaina Christaki

    Fiske discusses that “…the meanings of commodities do not lie in themselves as objects…but are produced finally by the way they are consumed” (318). For instance, being seen wearing a presentable suit to church is how the suit gains its meaning of respectability (318). This can be applied to my experiences at the shopping mall. When walking through the department store, it seemed as though certain individuals who come holding their designer purses, are displaying that they could afford to shop in that store. The meaning of the commodity, an expensive purse, is produced in how it is consumed, holding it in the shopping mall. In this case, the individual uses the purse to show that they are high-end shoppers that belong in Holt Renfrew. This goes along with what Fiske says about the need to display is met by consumption (317). The need to display that they can afford to shop in Holt Renfrew is met by the consumption (or holding) of an expensive purse.

    Under the ‘Conspicuous Consumption’ section, Fiske states that “[c]ommodities are the resources of the woman (or the man) who is exercising some control over…her relation to the social order” (323). Essentially, consuming certain goods reinforces class divisions. Consuming goods that are high quality for instance, means you are wealthy, and those who do not are of lower standing. When shopping, I noticed how people that shop in higher end stores and carry their corresponding shopping bags are viewed as wealthy. In comparison, those who have bags from more affordable stores are seen as less wealthy. This shows that consumption gives people control over how they are seen socially i.e. what class they belong to. The quality of goods they consume determines their social class.

  23. cs341blog says:

    Sara Charters

    I spent reading week in Laredo, Texas volunteering for a Habitat for Humanity build. On night, we had some time to kill before we were allowed back to our host site, so we went to the mall. I had no intentions of buying anything and was simply going to window shop, but once I was actually in the mall I found myself falling into the trickery of the mall and purchasing items that I didn’t really need. Fiske talks about how window shopping, or shopping without the intent of purchase is one of the most common practices of consumerism (322). He talks about the concept of the “visual feast” (322). We can be persuaded to purchase commodities simply through the consumption of images of products, even when the intent to purchase does not initially exist. After leaving the mall with a bag full of new purchases and upon reflection based on Fiske’s article I have definitely noticed the ways in which shopping malls can persuade and trick people into purchasing.

  24. cs341blog says:

    Christopher Grosso

    Fiske’s description of the “proletarian shopper” was evident in my shopping experience. The majority of shoppers were women and children which would relate to Fiske’s argument of advertisements being targeted towards them. Many people including myself where found spending hours upon hours in a mall and looking at things that we had no intention of buying. The shopping experience for some is a form of entertainment, to get out of the house, or even to see all the new things available. Proletarian shopping is most evident in stores like Sportschek where shoppers have the ability to play around with sporting equipment and testing it out. The Apple store also had the same effect as all products by Apple are on display for shoppers to ‘test’ or use. Many people were found going into the Apple store to see what an iPad can do instead of going into the store with the intent of buying one. I also noticed stores such as the Microsoft store, and Bose store have followed suit by putting products on display for people to play on. This type of store style is promoting a proletarian shopper, which I saw especially in Microsoft where they have their new video game console, the Xbox One, on display for people to play. The majority of proletarian shopping I saw was done by children who came to the mall with their parents. While the parents had intentions to buy products, the children came for the entertainment purposes like playing with new toys that their parents told them they can’t have. There were also many times when I would get dragged into expensive stores to “just look” at things. The ones dragging me into the store had no intention of making a purchase but got enjoyment out of “window shopping”.

  25. cs341blog says:

    Rachel Wilson – Quiz 2

    Over the reading week break I found myself going “shopping” a number of times. However, it would probably be more appropriate for me to say that I went window shopping a number of times over the break. This idea of window shopping or as Fiske states proletarian shopping as I realized over the break has become a frequent social activity in my life. Whenever, I found myself bored or wanting something to do one of the only things I would think of doing is to go shopping. Each time I went “shopping” specifically at a shopping mall I found that my purpose was not necessarily to buy something. The purpose for me was to pass time or to spend time with the person I was with. When walking around the stores, sales persons would often ask if I needed any help to which I replied “no thank you just browsing”. This I found was a common response from almost every other person “shopping”. However, my family is currently redecorating our new home and over the break we were shopping for wall paper. When we were in home improvement or paint/wallpaper stores such as Home Depot, Dulux paint, and Lowes, I found that the purpose of shopping was much different. People when asked if they needed assistance from employees had specific things they needed. The idea of the proletarian shopper was much less evident and the type of shopper was also different. In shopping malls the majority of shoppers were young adults/teens and women whereas the majority of shoppers in home improvement stores was mainly men and couples.

  26. Khurram Soomro says:

    Fiske discusses several major points in his article on shopping malls but the two that stood out to myself during my shopping experience at Conestoga Mall was the notion of shopping as a religion, and the social pressure of consumerism.

    Throughout previous shopping experiences and working in malls, I couldn’t help but notice a ritualistic behaviour with regards to the entire shopping experience as a whole. Fiske’s notion of a cathedral of consumption is exceptionally fitting, because the experiences held in a shopping mall are a congregation of people throughout the day performing the same activities. Walking, staring, eating, and repeating until they find what they’re looking for (if anything at all). The practice of exchanging money for goods, but the goods are what distinguish and individualize the experience for each shopper. The same way in which people go to church together, but their spiritual experiences are all unique.

    Secondly, part of the reason shopping malls have become such a central location for devotion is because of the societal pressure to consume. Like religion, commodities define social status and therein carry with them the kind of desirability that brings people back for congregation every few months. Essentially what people are buying is not just the good, but the social currency of that good. Materialism drives capitalism, and not necessarily the other way around as it once was. My shopping experiences was engulfed in the conversations people held about “needing” things, stores aggressively probing with sale signs and employees constantly reminding you of them as they attempt to get you things you don’t need but can manufacture desire for. Conclusively, the culture of consumption has gone from a sense of worthy occasion or necessity, to a place to go and something to do because these are the times.

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