anthropology english ethnographic

Field notes 09/27

Store had a plastic door (I think they changed it this week?) on the entrance. entered the design area and waited for Sarah to finish, which took about 30 extra minutes. it seemed like she was did not have control over time and work schedule, unless she was doing the work because it needed to get done before leaving the design area. there was a manager-looking person who seemed slightly disturbed that a stranger was there staring at things.

standing from Sarah’s bench – there is a washing tub to the left, with old sponge and jabon. I think the sponge doesn’t get used very often, it’s dry. informant used the tub while I was there, though. there are vases on exhibition at shelves to the right of the tub. then there is a door to a small room. to the right of the door is the exit to the clerk, or sales area. there is another bench to the right of the exit. on top of the bench, there is a long flat shelf that has many vases of different shapes and sizes. I thin kthey had size number stickers on them. the shelf extends over the corner to portion of the right wall.

in Sarah’s bench, there are several arrangements with tags hanging on one of their flower tallos. tags have a person’s name, and a code. the code is one letter and one number, I think. these arrangements are all on top of the bench, separated from the “inner” ones which are behind a small thin wall to sarah’s side. to sarah’s side is a phone and a computer (that’s why I thought she was a manager). she occassionally takes phone calls. most of the time she is running to different places, on a short term basis (like going to the next room) to the left, to the left of the tub is a doorless exit to a cubed office space.

anthropology english ethnographic

Interview 1 – September 27

Interview 1
September 27 (Monday), 2004

Site visit 1:00-1:30pm, Interview 1:30-2:15pm

Interview was done during Sarah’s lunch hour break in a nearby restaurant. While waiting for her to get off her work, I took a look around the design room and took mental notes which I later write about.

Y: Can you, can you tell me about, how.. umm today’s Monday. How your day went, today, from the moment you came into the store, until now?
S: It’s been extremely busy.
Y: and like, what you did, from like when you entered the store, check in the cards… and open the doors, and check the orders..
S: I’m not usually the first person who gets there, usually. (aha) so, when I first get there, I usually I am… open the doors, you know, basically go through the [irrecog:008] opening procedures and the girls are in the front remote opening procedures. Uhm.. I ah.. I ah… let’s see what I do.. (like today, what did you do?) open the back door, [very cut voice] unset the alarm, put the cat down, put down all my stuff, run over to turn the lights on, let the cat out of the cannel (?) uhm.. fed the cat, then… [long silence] check my messages on the machine, and.. in the machine, there was.. there is an order that’s been tending for about a month and a half, that was there, so I called the customer back, talked to that customer, she came in, I took that order, talked to them, it was a funeral order, talked to them, did that, haven’t done the flowers yet but.. put the order on the computer, get everything organized for that. Make sure that I’ve got the flowers for it, order the flowers for the special, talk to the wholesaler.. about.. vases, we’re looking for new vases, got some prices, and stuff that we’re looking for, cloths from a couple different places, order flowers for this afternoon, special stuff that we didn’t have in the cooler, talk to the boss, talked about getting flowers for the next week, umm.. did about I think 10 arrangements so far, got the drivers, made sure they are out, got the [irrecog:023] pill stuff out, made sure that that was ready, and that’s what I’ve done so far.
Y: [laugh] I see. Umm, do you..
S: answer the phone a couple of times, took some orders.
Y: when you mentioned things like “customers” or “wholesalers” (oh yeah?) is that how you call the people among your co-workers? Tell other people “we’ve got a customer..” for example
S: Umm, no. when we call for wholesalers, there are specific wholesalers that we order with, we order from Dudek, we order from Lanborchur, Palm, various places that we need special. So this morning, I needed… 10 gardenias. And in order to get the 10 gardenias I had to call 3 different wholesalers to find them. So… we refer to the wholesalers by name. By the specific salespeople [hmm, is “salespeople” the folk term?] you know, like I call.. I don’t know if you heard me before when I said “Jake, your pant in my ass”. (no, I didn’t.. [laugh]) but we develop relationships with different cells…so when we refer to those people.. between ourselves, we call them by their first names. We call, I’ll get them from Paul, I’ll get’em from Jake, I’ll get it from John Bush, I’ll get it from… you know, call…. Alex type situations. And, because we know who they work for, we know who we’re talking about. So it’s.. um.. that’s how we refer to them.
Y: I’m trying to get into more how you call them, because how you call things from your workplace, so like among your co-workers, do you have a name.. like a general name, when you refer to the wholesalers in general?
S: that’s what I was just telling you.
Y: I mean, like..
S: we don’t to them as wholesalers in general. We refer to specific wholesalers. [here is where informant starts getting angry]We don’t… (Oh you never talk about…) we NEVER talk about wholesalers. We talk about ordering from Glenn, we talk about ordering from Jake, I’ll see if I can get it from Jake, I’ll see if I can get it from Glen, I’ll see if I can get it from so and so. We never ever just say “I’m gonna look at the wholesalers”. If I’m talking to a CUSTOMER, uhm.. then you would have to contact the supplier. (uhuh) okay? (so for the customer, the wholesaler…) for the customer the wholesaler is the supplier. (uhuh) so for US, it’s specific to which one we’re looking at. Okay?
Y: so wholesaler is just a term you are using to explain to me what they are, [oops] what they do (what they DO). Uhuh
S: it’s an industry.
Y: I see. I see…um
S: When I say wholesale, it’s the industry that I’m talking about, I’m not talking about specific people. (uhuh) specific businesses…
Y: what would you do throughout the afternoon? (WHAT?) what would you do throughout the rest of the afternoon?
S: [sounds indignated] what would I do through the rest of the day? (yeah) what I was doing just this morning. Just more OF IT
Y: uhuh. So you’ll be doing more arrangements?
S: Well, I’ll do more arrangements, I’ll do more.. probably I’ve got to call Jake again this afternoon, it’s just more of what is was..
Y: [inaudible question: 052]
S: no, because if you wanna know, that’s all the time you’re gonna get. (Y laughs) but, umm.. I’ll do more arrangements, yes, but I’ll also be doing more.. I’ve got place to sit in the order, an order for baskets, an order for all kinds of stuff this afternoon, so…
Y: I’ll, I’ll pray.. (huh) if you don’t mind I’ll pray before eating..
Y: so.. what you will be doing this afternoon is not that different from what you did this morning? (uh-uh) are there things that you cannot do in the afternoon?
S: uh…. [awkward look] no (….no?) what I’ll do this afternoon, is get everything ready for tomorrow, so that the drivers get it ready so that they can take it when they go in the morning.
Y: umm…. [looking at my notes] Umm… so you said that you did ten arrangements today. Are there, (so far) are there different kinds of arrangements (well?) well, what kinds are there?
S: I need more specific of a question.
Y: hmmm… so like, are there…. [laugh] umm.. like if I have… if I had a dishware (a WHAT?) a dishware, dishware? A dishware. If you had a container? [oops, now I realize my informant thought I was talking about her containers, not about dishware in general – I make mistakes like these because I don’t know English!] right. If I had a container, there would be different kinds of containers. There would be.. bowls, and dishes, and… I don’t know them in English.. and so forth.
S: [cutting] you don’t know our industry, obviously.
Y: ahah, yeah, I don’t know [stare at informant waiting for comments]
S: we typically work on… our arrangements by occasions. (uhuh) we do… [long silence] funeral work. We do…. Uhmm… base arrangement suitable for a birthday. We do arrangements.. suitable for a new baby. We do… sympathy for the homes, uhm… for the hospital stuff, you know? We basically break down the types of arrangements we do by… the occasion.
Y: Ahah. Is that how you about it with your co-workers.. by occasions? (uhuh?) so, so… [laugh] so.. they are asking also about which one should be this arrangement be, and someone is asking you… what arrangements.. which occasions you do. (It’s on the order) Uhuh. It’s on the order. (It SHOULD be on the order) Uhuh. You said also how you talk about them.. with the customers? As for the sympathy for the.. what was it sympathy for the…. For the wellnesses?
S: [long silence] when a customer places an order (uhuh), the person find out is, where, who is it going to, and where is it going. Is it going to homes or to businesses? Going to a hospital, is it for a funeral? What’s the occasion? Why are you placing this order in the first place? [very marked words] In KNOWING why they placed the order, we get a much better FEEL for what kind of thing they’re looking for. Okay? For example this morning I had people come in, the mother had died. (uhuh) so based on that.. and knowing that it was going to the church, I had a much better idea of kind of thing they were looking for to start with. (uhuh) so, uhm, so yeah, you know, we’re talking about a base arrangement, we’re talking about a… traditional sympathy arrangement. We’re talking about.. [long silence] the terminology is different when you’re talking with customers, than when you’re talking with co-workers. [I think “co-worker” bothers my informant. I will use “designer” next time.]
Y: As you go, could you mostly talk of the terms that you would use with co-workers? Like, if you can, if you could explain also like, oh, these are terms that I use with co-workers, or clients but I would like to first know how you call them with co-workers.
S: Well it’s hard because when I talk about what I do, I can’t talk with YOU as I would.. the same with a COWORKER because you don’t know what I’m talking about.
Y: Right. But could you… could you talk assuming that.. I will understand everything? That’s part of the.. umm.. of the method in trying to… umm.. in trying to understand the meanings of the words that you use, from the context in which you are using them, and not only.. not only the specific meaning that they might have. So.. that wholesalers will be.. our suppliers and so forth.
S: But we don’t CALL them wholesalers.
Y: Right, right. But, for example.. a [irrecog:109] sympathy.
S: So, I’m born to… if I’m talking to, a wholesalers, as I’m talking to my co-workers, I’m gonna tell them that I’m gonna call him JAKE. (uhuh) And get those from Jake. (uhuh) So, and I could tell you that I’m giving them to Paul and you wouldn’t have a clue of what I was talking about! (Uhuh.) So, that’s part of the problem that you are gonna have with those.
Y: Oh, that’s precisely what we are to do on the research (alright, ..) but, not knowing.. not fully understanding what you are telling us in the first time. Umm… eh… is, is your schedule different from day to day? (uhuh) uh… are there specific things that you do on specific dates? (no) how does it change?
S: How does the schedule change? (yeah, how does the schedule change?) well, some weeks.. I typically work between two or five days and I never know which ones I’m gonna work. (uhuh) and it changes every week. And it changes every… we work four or five days, and the store is open six. (uhuh) so it has to be covered all six days (I see)
Y: [long silence] umm.. so.. but do you know for example tomorrow’s schedule? Or do you know which days you work this week? (I DO) and when do you learn of them?
S: I get them once a month
Y: Oh… once a month. Are there different kinds of… are there different.. do you have names for places within this store? Within the… I don’t actually even know what it is, do you call it flower shop?
S: the store (the store. Are there different places within the store?) uhuh.
Y: Which.. which places? For example, the place where you were… the people refer to it with a specific name? (the design room) the design room. [long silence] (I work in the design room) uhuh. And, is, um, so when you were there, I saw you had a phone, a computer, a desk.. (uhuh) it’s not a desk.. it would be like a counter, and then, across that, I saw another lady working there in that corner… is that also probably the design room?
S: The entire room back there is the design room.
Y: Ah, I see.. what gets done in the design room? Or what do you do in the design room.
S: [dry[ DESIGN.
Y: uhuh. Are there different steps in designing?
S: Designing is a creative process. (uhuh) based on what your order says and based on what the… occasion is, it’s a creative process. (uhuh) [long silence]
Y: is… is there any… so what, what.. what gets done in the store. Or what does the store do, in general?
S: what doe sthe store do? (uhuh) we are a flower shop. We sell flowers (uhuh) [I think my informant is reacting cold and cynical because of the “steps in desgining”]
Y: but you also.. design… design the arrangements
S: that’s sellin’ flowers honey!
Y: uhuh. And also you said that trees are grown, in the back, in the house?
S: we don’t grow anything there. We sell it. (uhuh) we are a retail flower shop. That’s what we do.
Y: But that’s kind of different from what I thought that what it would be, because.. I was thinking that it was just a retail shop. But in retail shops you don’t… you don’t do the arrangements. Or you don’t create things in retail shops.. I thought..
S: This is the vase. Again, you don’t understand my industry. (uhuh) in a retail shop, in this industry, yes, you create things. (in the.. flower shops) uhuh. (uhuh) in the retail flower industry, you create things. (uhuh) you don’t necessarily have to create them yourselves, you could BUY them, already created (uhuh) then you have to offer it as cash and carry, you can’t as a full-service flower shop (uhuh). A full-service flower shop means that they can’t come in and get anything that they WANT, basically. A cash-and-carry, a bucket shop, would be you come in, you pick up what they’ve got, and go bye-bye. (uhuh)
Y: and this store is not like that..
S: We’re not a bucket shop.
Y: oh.. what kind of shop is this.. this store?
Y: full-service shop.. [awkward laugh] I’m just concerned. Am I making my questions too.. too bothersome?
S: Uhm,… no. But you don’t a CLUE of what my industry is, (uhuh) okay?
Y: Would you like to explain what the industry is?
S: You don’t know my industry at all.
Y: Yeah.. I don’t know at all.
S: Right. So with not knowing…. the industry, the questions that you are asking, are….
Y: are.. are misguided.
S: yes. I was looking for a different term. But “misguided” works.
Y: what kind of questions should I ask?
S: Well, I’m not 100%.. because when I was trying to explain to you, what it is that we do and how we do it, you said you wanted me to talk to you as if I was talking to a co-worker. And I can’t do that because you don’t understand my industry. That being the case, you don’t know the questions to ask to allow me to talk to you like a co-workers. (uhuh) Does that make SENSE? [how to avoid this situation next time?]
Y: yeah.. could you.. like explain in general about what the industry is.. but… (no!) but..
S: No. I can’t.
Y: oh. Oh.. why…
S: [long silence]
Y: Is it that there is no starting point to start from?
S: Let me see your assignment again.
[Informant reads the syllabus again, and pages through the end]
Y: oh but.. the assignment is the entire purpose of the course
S: I know.
[continues reading]
S: Ok. I have to ask you a question. (uhuh) why did you choose the flowershop as your microcosm?
Y: it’s mostly because it’s close to Macalester. And um… yeah, that was pretty much it. [laugh] I mostly do work with the latino community, (uhuh) so I wanted to do that, but the professor told me that it was too complicated, that there were too many factors involved, that I should try to set out to study a more.. how should I say it.. a more defined (uhuh) demarked culture, cuz.. yeah.. last semester I went to a charity, as I was telling you, and there were issues with language, and it was very interesting because the director of the charter, whom I was interviewing, she was trying to learn Spanish, and she had different strategies for coping with people who came and didn’t speak English, but when to talk to, but my professor said “no, that’s not the purpose of what you’re doing”, and.. yeah.. so it’s closed, and I thought, “well, it’s a store, so it has to have a purpose”.
S: It has a very clear purpose.
Y: That’s why.. I picked. And actually I was going to try out all the other stores around this avenue, and check them out, but we had this blackout, during that afternoon, so stores closed.
S: Well, [silence]
Y: and we were encouraged to go to places.. hopefully we didn’t know much about, so that if we asked the really really basic questions, our informants wouldn’t ask us, “why are you asking that? you know that” which would happen if you had.. I work a lot with labor, so if I went to uh.. where was I going to go, [here I doubt a bit.. isn’t she a manager? Will she like knowing that I frequent the Dept of Labor Standards?] to an office that deals with those things. So if I went and asked about.. “what does these.. procedures, or what do these forms do?” they would be like, “you know, you’ve seen those all the time, why are you asking me?” so we would go to places we didn’t know about.
S: were you encourage to go to places you didn’t know,

[recording stops here because I felt this was not an interview]
I think informant’s line continues like this:
S: You didn’t know, or places you didn’t know anything about?
Y: anything about..
Etc… 10 min.

[recording begins again, informant starts talking about arrangements]
S: funk, unusual, they order all of that (funky or unusual?) funky, unusual, different.. out of the ordinary
Y: could you give me an example of an funky or unusual arrangement?
S: not verbally, but I can show you pictures.
Y: (uhuh). Oh, but when you because… you..
S: [starts talking very fast] it’s a creative process (uhuh) okay? (uhuh) if somebody comes in and they want something out of the ordinary or something unusual, it’s a creative process. You develop that in your HEAD. And that’s part of the uhm, that’s part of the talent of a professional flower designer. That’s why some people can put flowers in a container, and make it look very good, and other people can put flowers in a container that looks like crap. (uhuh) but it’s knowing how to put it together, it’s knowing how to do it, it’s knowing how to uhm.. how things are gonna look together, having an IDEA in your HEAD. [slowing down] It’s like creating a.. VISION in your HEAD, it’s kind of like.. umm.. it’s ART. (uhuh). It’s everyday, sellable art. [again quick] And the other thing is, is what I think is beautiful, is probably not what YOU think is beautiful (uhuh) what I think is funky, is not what YOU think is funky. But I think is funky, is something that other people in the store is funky. Because of my experience level, and umm.. my growth as a designer. I’ve been doing this.. on an off, for 30 years. With that being the case, I have a great deal of experience. I have worked some MASTERS. I have training from some top designers from the United States. I’m considered.. I’m regularly considered one of the top designers in the Twin Cities. And very good at what I do. With that being the case, what I think is beautiful, and what somebody else thinks that is beautiful is probably a lot different. People think babies rep is very pretty. I think it sucks. Because I’m babies.. fed up. [fed up? 270] For after 30 years of using, let’s do something creative.. let’s do something… that’s gonna look “knock your socks off”. It’s gonna look, and we get orders that say “make something that knocks your socks off”. Which means that you’re not gonna put carnations and daisies in a vase, you know?
Y: But still.. eventually the arrangement will be put in some sort of vase. So it has… (sometimes a container) right, some kind of container, so there are parts in the final product, in the arrangement. There’s the container, there’s the kinds of flowers they are put..
S: that’s not a process, it’s a Creative process. A Creative process is sticking it out. The mechanics of it is something different. The MECHANICS of it are the vase and flowers, that type of situation. The PROCESS is what goes on in your brain. There are… [sigh] I guess you can call them “steps”, you have to get the container full of flower in, fill a lot of water in, put it on the table, put it on a box, put a paper around it, and send it out to the driver.
Y: uhuh… so could you talk about the mechanics of it [awkward laugh upon seeing informant’s expression] I know that, I know that, I understood that, the really important part is the creative part, and what goes inside your head, but I can’t really grasp that, I think I will never be able to grasp that, but I was wondering if I could learn about the mechanics of it, how it’s done, how it’s done materially.
[informant grabs a spoon, and dumps it loudly into a glass cup. Then she pours water to it from the teapot. Teapot is dropped loudly on the table]
S: You shove it in! That’s it!
Y: Ahah. [awkward small laugh]
S: that’s the mechanics of it!
Y: Ahah.
S: This is the flower! [shows spoon] Here is your container! [shows cup] Here is your water! Put the water in the container, put flowers in! Done! That’s the mechanics of it! There’s nothing more than that in the mechanics of it!
Y: But there are different ways of…
S: different ways of putting it in there? [put spoons in different positions] no, there’s not! It’s all the same way! It’s one, basic thing! It’s the CREATIVE PROCESS that makes each arrangement different, but it’s all the same process! It’s all the same mechanical process. It’s an art. [ms. Brings check] Can I get two separate check on that?
Y: Yeah, could we?
S: thanks. Umm… it’s an art. Okay? The mechanics of the process are ALWAYS the same. You get the container, you… put the water in it, you put the flowers in. That’s the mechanics of it. It is ALWAYS THE SAME. Where the flowers go, the type of flowers you do, that kind of situation.. is an art, it’s a creative process. Okay? (yeah) Did that make sense? (yeah, yeah, it did make sense) But there’s no… there’s ONLY ONE WAY of putting flowers in the vase [dumps spoon at cup again] I can put it in the same way. The mechanics of it doesn’t change. [I stare at the new post-it note] That’s how much it costs [she means, receipt] Is that right?
Y: do you accept credit card? (yeah, he got the .34) Yeah, that’s right.
S: Alright. So the mechanics never change (I see). Now, depending on what you choose for a container, and depending on what you choose for flowers, which is part of the creative process, WHERE do you put them, the length that you cut them, that type of situation differs. But the mechanics of it always stays the same. It’s the process, the creative process that makes the difference in, where things go, how they go, what goes in, what doesn’t. And some of that is based on what is written on the actual order that it gets to us. (uhuh) which comes from.. sometimes we take orders. But most of the time it comes from the office, for which they actually do the order taking. We have some people who work on commissions, based on their sales, to take their orders for us. But the room is that the backup to them, when they’re busy, we go take orders. We know how to do it. But we don’t do it very often. If there’s somebody SPECIFIC, like someone who came in for the funeral this morning, I talk to them, I put their orders in, because I talked to them and I’ll be doing the arrangements.
Y: Uhh… do you have to leave now, or do you have some more minutes, like 5 minutes. (yeah, maybe like 5 minutes) could you talk about how there were these organized.. like outside of you, or around you, without peoples.. or how.. if there’s any work that is done along with other people, or you pass on some things, or you receive some things.. or so forth?
S: The easiest way to do it is to draw a map. (ahah) okay. Here’s, this is basically the square’s basically the store. (uhuh) alright. So you’ve got the back door here, you’ve got the front door here. ‘kay? Uh, you walk into the backdoor, there’s the green house, back here is the garage… ‘kay? Back here is the executive offices (uhuh) alright. So you’ve got if there’s a big huge cooler here, alright? You can see everything. Here’s the sales…. area. Right here.. is the design area. There’s a front office, and this is the store part. Alright So a customer comes into the store, okay, can go into the cooler, do whatever [slightly despective tone] pick up whatever they want. Here’s your… umm… (the counter) the clerk. The counter. (uhuh) So when you come in the store you either can go in here [I think she indicated the clerk area] or you can look around the store. Go to the clerk corner, it goes through into an office, there is a prineter, goes to the printer. From the printer, it goes to the design room. From the design room, it goes.. there’s Na’s bench, there’s my bench, there’s jan’s bench, there’s jean’s bench and there’s marion’s bench. From here it’s dispersed to one of these three benches. This is Jan, this is Jean… this is Marion, this is me… this is Na. Okay? Alright. So from there, it goes in back into this garage, there’s cooler four. Alright? So you get the big cooler here with the flowers in, there’s a little cooler back here with flowers under it, but that doesn’t matter. So, it comes from here, and it comes through here. It gets dispersed to one of us. Okay? It can go to the store clerks. And take the order. Or it can go through the phones, and if it goes just through the phones, and they never come to the store, it goes to the office. No matter, it all goes to this desk back here [which one was it?] It’s the central desk. From this desk, it gets dispersed here, or COULD go back to the front store. (uhuh) Front Store takes care of the plants. They just pull them out of the inventory of the plants that are in the store. We do all the design work. There’s one, two, three, four, five of us, that’s the design staff. We’re the creative people. We do it, once it gets done with us, it either goes to this back drivers’ table, or goes into cooler four. (uhuh) okay? If it’s for today, it goes to the driver’s table. If it’s for the next day, or something in the future, it goes to cooler 4. We work three days ahead. We’re doing orders this afternoon for tomorrow and Wednesday morning. Okay? From the driver.. so it goes into cooler four. It will sit there overnight. From cooler 4, it will go back to the dirver’s table, they will wrap it, and go back to the garage, and it goes out the door for delivery. That’s the FLOW of traffic in the store (I see…)
[lady takes payment from informant]
Y: Did you.. like today’s interview? I, I.. had the impression that you got really offended in that I was describing your work in material terms, and.. yeah.
S: Yeah! I am offended that you describe it in mechanical terms. Because it’s NOT MECHANICAL. (and I can be respectful, and..) it’s a… it’s a… it’s an artistic process.
Y: Yes, just as academics, yeah… so
S: Well, academics is not an artistic process, it’s a mental process. This is more of an artistic process, okay? (yeah, more of the spirit) there’s no research here, there’s no.. I mean, it’s like telling the painter, you know, there’s the difference between being a building painter, and being a portrait painter, and being a artist. Okay? We’re more of a portrait painter-artist type situation. Okay? We don’t paint buildings. That’s mechanical. We don’t DO that. (uhuh) this is a process by which everything we make, we put our heart and soul in it. When I do a funeral, when I do this $1,000 funeral this afternoon, I’m gonna put my heart and soul into that. And our comment is that if you wouldn’t send it to your mother, don’t send it. Now, if you’re gonna send it to your mother, there’s emotion involved here. Okay? This is, this.. may be different from a lot of retails in that WE PUT OUR EMOTIONS and our feelings into these things. And send it out the door. (uhuh) Okay? So it’s not… it’s a creative process, it’s an emotional process. And… [silence] you’re trying to explain it as a mechanical thing.. (it’s offensive) yes, it is offensive. (yeah.. yeah.. I got it. So…) I mean it’s like you go and shop and buy a present for your mother. If I told you that there is nothing more than a mechanical thing to do, would that be offensive to you?
Y: oh of course.. [actually I don’t agree, but..] I was not trying to imply that there was only a mechanical part.. so… but you spend most of your time in the design process and the creative process.
S: I will wake up in the middle of the night, you know, if I know I’ve got an order (uhuh) that… umm… if I know I’ve got an order that is unusual, or troublesome, or worrisome, it’s not uncommon for me to wake up in the middle of the night designing it in my head. Okay? It’s not uncommon for me to a lot of people come in and ask you.. what should I do?
Y: Right.. [laugh] (you know) and.. and they don’t really understand what’s going on..
S: they don’t understand, they don’t have a clue what they are looking for, they don’t know what they are looking for… I had a lady call me today, and she said, I was in last week, I didn’t have a clue what I was looking for. And she didn’t know she was talking to me. And she said, “I didn’t have a clue what it was that I was looking for” and the clerk, took her to the cooler, and showed her some stuff, and we talked about some stuff, and it was perfect, it was exactly what I wanted, and when I got there, it was exactly what I wanted. And how it was that it was exactly what I wanted, I don’t know. But it was perfect. Well, she talked to me, I did the arrangement, I sent it out the door, it was exactly what she wanted.. now..
Y: Some people.. just come in.. want to grab something.. and leave [hmm, that’s me]
S: Right! some people don’t care. Some people say, you know, whatever you do, it will be fine, because I trust you. And it’s part of it, it’s building a trust with your customers, and your clientele, and getting to know your clientele. (uhuh) Um, I had certain customers, that will specifically ask for me, because they know my work, they like my work, they trust me. I have other customers, that wanna pick on [informant marks syllables by hitting the table with something… I think it was the cup] e.very flo.wer in the store [/mark] in the arrangement, and they will stand there and watch me do it. They trust me, but they stand there watching me doing it, because, they wanna know. (right..) so, it’s more of an emotional process. This industry is different than a retail. It’s not, it’s not… I think of it in a lot of times, when I’m teaching [at her other instructor job], what kind of industry my industry is. Are we… a value added industry? Are we a … retail industry? Are we a manufacturing industry? We’re all of that. So, it’s kind of a hybrid industry. Because we manufacture these things, but we don’t manufacture quantities of it. The harder you try to make natural things look the same, the worse, the more different they look. (uhuh)
Y: so would you mind… if… I don’t know if you want to have a further interview, but would you mind if in the future interviews, we focus with what went around, outside the design room, and what happens in the store.. and what happens with the customers.. and this is something I find very interesting in the design process, and there are clients that appreciate the design process, but they trust you because they have a building relationship with the designer. But, but there are other customers, because these two types of customers, will both ask you to do what you find most appropriate.. or what you find.. most.. appropriate I guess. The customers who don’t understand it, and the ones that do, but they trust you because of the relationships. I was wondering if for future interviews we could focus with what went around, and outside the design room? Because, for this project, supposedly [I roll eyes] we are just starting how to do these interviews, I mean we can’t really get.. we can’t really do anything with something that’s, that happens within a person’s, within a person’s head. Within.. within a persons’ creative efforts that don’t have boundaries. Because we are just learning to do it. So we need something simple to start with. So.. I was wondering if you minded, if I asked you about.. so… what happens in the cooler,…
S: What happens in the cooler? (yeah…) flowers sit (yeah… [laugh] that kind of thing) I don’t, I don’t care.
Y: would you, would you mind having another interview, this week or next week?
S: na, I can’t do it this week. This week I’m off for Tuesday.. and Thursday and Friday this week.
Y: what about next week?
[we agreed on that I would call her sometime next week]

I think informant is using her creative process thing to cope with the amount of daily work, and reacts strongly to anything that may suggest it consists of material processes. I will try using more of her folks terms (creative process, design room, designers) next time to appease that aspect, and focus more on the things that occur outside the design room, for the time being.

castellano ethnographic race

Ejercicio Etnográfico: Consumo de la cultura latina popular en los EEUU

Theorizing U.S. Latina/o Popular Culture.
Prof. María Elena Cepeda
Macalester College , Febrero 11, 2004
Yongho Kim

Ejercicio Etnográfico #1: Consumo de la cultura latina popular en los Estados Unidos

Metodología: Mis preguntas podrían categorizarse en tres: Las dos primeras tenían el fin de aprender más de cerca la vida diaria de los entrevistados y su relación con la cultura popular (con énfasis en “tiempo libre”.); dos preguntas cuestionando el concepto de latinidad como unidad conceptual y una pregunta general, solicitando una opinión general sobre tendencias contemporáneas en el ámbito de la cultura popular. Entrevisté a tres personas en el Mercado Central – Gerardo, Mayo y María – todos empleados de una de las tiendas. Estaban en su jornada de trabajo pero creo que los encontré cuando el tráfico de clientes disminuía un poco (a eso de las 5 p.m.). Después entrevisté a mi colega de trabajo, Jane, en una ONG en Franklin y a una compañera – Maura – en la otra clase de Latino Studies. Las entrevistas se efectuaron con grabadora bajo permiso (a veces no muy explícito) de los entrevistados por 10-20 minutos. Las preguntas que terminé haciendo no siempre coinciden con el formato original, pero llevan más o menos ese ritmo, como podrá observar en el transcript.

Don Gerardo es de Durango, México. Ve televisión en casa y escucha música en el trabajo o en el carro. En particular, ve Univisión y ENCL (¿es esto un canal o programa?) y escucha radio Rey. Recibe los canales vía disc. Escucha preferentemente bandas y corridos, como el Gutillo Rivera, Miguel Peña, Vicente Fernández, Tigres, que toquen música ranchera, y no otro. La música ranchera, según Don Gerardo, se distingue porque en la portada del CD dice que es ranchera. Cuando le dije que quería hacer preguntas sobre música latina, afirmó que música ranchera es a la vez latina. Dijo que los cantantes mexicanos y de Latinoamérica son todos latinos. Dijo haber visto un incremento de música latina en el mercado, y que eso es bueno para los artistas y para el mercado hispano.

Don Mayo es de Durango, México. De vez en cuando sale a los moles hispanos o americanos con su familia o ve televisión mientras descanso o hace trabajos de casa. El domingo, vio los premios de la Furia Musical, en la que salieron premiados Vicente Fernández, la banda del Recodo, John Sebastián, a quienes ya conocía. Le gusta más la música de banda norteña, que necesita varios instrumentos. Dijo que la música de acá está en inglés y no le gusta porque no es de su tierra. Una tendencia en el mercado es que los grupos de Durango están sonando muy fuerte y han estado primeros en los billboards. La música de Durango comparten un estilo – en que se toca el tomborón, órgano, batería, saxofón y batería-, nacieron en Chicago con el grupo Montés de Durango por gente que era de Durango, y ahora hay varios grupos como Montevideo Durango, Patrulla 81, los Alacranes Musicales de Durango y los Imperiales de Durango. Todos llevan el nombre “de Durango” para identificarse. Tenía posters de los Imperiales, quienes tendrán un concierto. Estos días la música duranguense, el pasito duranguense, está volviendo a México.

Ms. María es de Guajaca, México. No escucha música en el trabajo, pero los miércoles cuando está en casa, música latina, como Chayanne, Enrique Iglesias, música que es bailable, como merengue, cumbia, bachata. También escucha música en inglés como 50 cents, San Pol, y Eminem. La música latina es la que se cantan en español pero también debe ser por gente de méxico. De vez en cuando compra CD’s en el segundo piso. Con respecto a televisión, ve el canal TeveAzteca, #527 en la Dish Network, con programas como novelas, programas en que cuentan chistes, o casos de la vida real como por ejemplo “Lo que callamos las mujeres”. Dice que hoy en día los americanos compran y escuchan más la música latina, lo cual es bueno porque se está compartiendo mutuamente la música.

Jane Doe es de Ohio. Ella no escucha mucha música en general, pero hoy había sintonizado el NPR y no había música en la programación, salvo comerciales. Últimamente ha visto películas en DVD, como Finding Nemo y Legally Blonde 2. Entonces le pregunté si podría pensar en cosas que hacía que pudiera reconocer como explícitamente latinas. Dijo que en el verano iba a fiestas de baile donde habían designated nights for latino en los bares, dance club y discos, y que también se mezclaba música latina en combinaciones estándar. Se sabe que son designated porque como tal se promocionan en los anuncios. La diferencia entre una designated y una non-designated sería que hay más latinos en una, y que por ende resultan en mejores bailes. Bailar mejor, dice ella, es moverse más y get into the music. Dijo que no ha visto una tendencia a que la música latina haya aumentado su influencia en el mercado.

Maura es estudiante de Macalester, female, tiene 20 años, es white y está en segundo año. No tiene tanto tiempo libre, porque se dedica mucho a correr, pero de vez en cuando trata de ver cosas en la televisión o escuchar música que sea fácil, para despejarse un poco de las tareas. Por eso tiende a escuchar sound tracks, lo cual es música de fondo para videos de Disney – para poder cantarlo. También escucha Ani DiFranco, que es más algo estereotípico en los estudiantes universitarios. Dado que Ana escucha mucha música en español o que “se sienten latinos”, ella llega a escucharlos también, aunque no los conoce por el nombre. Dijo que en general no ve una tendencia en que lo latino esté aumentando en Estados Unidos, o al menos en Minnesota.

Observaciones: pude ver que entre los más adultos, se escuchaba la música por ser del lugar de donde provenía uno, mientras que los más jóvenes escuchaban música por su practicalidad. También se daba que la palabra latinos era más familiar a los jóvenes. (O quizás las implicancias del término hispano les era más aparente, o quizás eran los vínculos comerciales que uno establece con la edad). Cuando les expliqué que esto era para una clase de Cultura Popular, todos excepto María y Maura sintieron que no conocían tanto de la “cultura” popular, pero con la entrevista resultaron ser excelentes informantes. No observé tanto el otherness del que habla Storey – ciertamente a todos les era claro de qué estabamos hablando cuando hablamos de televisión y radio. Lo interesante es que no tenemos un sentimiento de que esto sea una cultura “baja” (Storey 8) mientras hablamos de la radio y televisión, pero cuando decimos en general “Cultura Popular” la sensación era (al menos para mí) de alienación. Por otro lado, existía un fuerte sentido de oposiciones binarias como apunta Freccero, pero este concepción de anglo/latino (usé la palabra anglo, o “los de acá” para referenciar a la mayoría white de EEUU) fue en parte inducido por mis propias preguntas que buscaban una distinción del latino (implícitamente en contraste con el anglo)

Preguntas Iniciales:
1. ¿Qué haces en tu tiempo libre? Y si miras televisión, ¿qué canales o programas ves?
2. ¿Escuchas música mientras estudias/trabajas? ¿Qué escuchas?
3. ¿Qué aspectos de lo que haces en forma diaria lo consideras “latino”?
4. ¿Hay elementos en tu vida diaria que son más latinos o menos latinos? ¿Cómo son así?
5. ¿Cuál es tu perspectiva sobre los cambios que está experimentando la cultura popular en Estados Unidos, y cuál es tu opinión al respecto?

anthropology english ethnographic

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