On the date of October 26th, 2017, I went to the Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket and I sat down on a bench, in the main area right after the Entrance #3. Why did I do that, and why was I there for half an hour? I did all these because I was gathering data for a research I am doing in one of my courses using the participant observation method. In my paper, I am trying to show that the mall is not only a space for purchasing goods, but also for people to gather, socialize or relax.
When Predictable Meets Unpredictable
As I mentioned in my thesis, the mall is not only a place where people purchase goods or services. They can also simply come there and relax, enjoy a cup of coffee or engage in a one-hour gossip session. However, the event that I am going to mention next was at the least interesting and took me by surprise. A mother and a grandmother were walking around pushing a stroller, with this very cute little baby-girl inside of it. At one point, they decided to stop and sit down next to one of the support columns that had benches all around it. Nothing unusual has happened yet. I turned my head and looked somewhere else, in order to continue with my observations. When I looked back at the pair of mothers, I noticed that the mother of the little girl was holding a small baby bottle. It took me no time to put all the pieces together. While I turned my head, this mother created a little station there, with the milk powder, thermos and baby bottle. She prepared the food for the little one and there she was, feeding her. I was impressed with the transition from just pushing the stroller to going into full mom mode, making food in a record time for her baby. All this happened in the mall and no one even paid attention to them. Except for me.
Another activity that I have noticed from my vantage point (that is, the resting area with a lot of benches just at the intersection of three pathways of the mall, in front of Entrance #3) is picture-taking. There was a group of three ladies, one red-headed young lady and two older blonde ladies, all very-well dressed. They talked about who knows what, but they were laughing a lot. However, at the end of it, they just got up and stroke a pose for a selfie! After that, they handed the phone to this 4th person which was there with them. I did not notice that this older man, who wasn’t as well-dressed as them, was part of their group. He took a few pictures of the beautiful ladies, and then they all left. Almost simultaneously, just 10 meters away from this group, in front of the same column where the mother story happened, another person was taking a picture. This time, an old man wearing a pair of blue jeans and a navy-blue shirt asked a lady, who I suppose it was his wife, to take two pictures of him. The scene itself was very cute, because the man was trying to smile a lot. After she took the pictures, they held hands and left.
Stop Looking and Start Seeing
Another reason why I think the...