Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You say stalking, I say people-watching.

Have you ever gone to the mall just to follow people around and see what they buy and make up stories about their lives?

That was pretty much my only reason to ever go to the mall. That, and to get giant cinnamon rolls.

It's especially fun to do this during the holidays, since there is more of a variety and you have to decide if they're buying something for themselves or as a gift.

Don't tell me you've never done it. For example, you're in the center of the mall. You close your eyes. The first person you see, you follow. Quietly. It helps if you have a friend and you talk with them and act natural.

Go into the same stores. Stop a few clothing/whatever racks behind them. If they're with another person, listen to what they're saying. If not, notice if they pick things up, if they make sounds, facial expressions, if they ask an employee a question. Did they try anything on or use any free samples? Do they actually buy anything or do they just look at things?When they leave, browse for a moment more, looking at them out of the corner of your eye. If you have money and have found something that you like, buy it.

Quickly relocate the person. Notice how they walk and how they hold themselves. Note if they wave to other people, smile, or if they stop and talk to someone. Do they have a cell phone? How often is it out? Do they have a bluetooth? Do their clothes look expensive, normal, or secondhand? Dyed  hair or natural? Glasses or not? What kind of shoes are they wearing? What season is it? Are their clothes and shoes season-appropriate? What stores do they go into? Do they go into any food places? What to they get?

After fifteen or so minutes, when you believe you have collected enough data, retreat to somewhere (preferably with food to get) and discuss with the friend that you have brought along for the journey. What is their life story? Are they sad or happy? What are their hobbies? Favorite books and movies? Lame or interesting email address? Leader or follower? Did/do they play sports? Can they type fast? Do they have many friends? Do they have any addictions (from the internet to alcohol)? What is their name? Do they have pets or children? Brothers and sisters? What grades did/do they get? What is their dream job?

It's amazing how much you can guess about a person just by following them around for fifteen minutes.

No comments: