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Study for Psychology essay

Introduction
Our observational study asked the question: Are the race, gender, and age of employees similar to those of the consumers? We wanted to know if those characteristics impacted whether or not a customer would shop at that particular store. We hypothesized that the employees and customers of a specific store would be similar. Overall, findings to this question could assist stores varying the types of people that they hire with the hope of gaining customers.

Methods
In order to observe the relationship between the characteristics of employees and their customers, we spent two hours on a Sunday afternoon at a local mall and two superstores. We visited Nine West; a specialty shoe store, Abercrombie & Fitch; a trendy clothing store, Wal-Mart; a national discount retailer, and Home Depot; a home improvement store. To choose our subjects we observed the characteristics of the employees on the sales floor and then the customers. Each employee and customer was observed based on race, gender and age. We categorized people’s race as African American, Caucasian, or another ethnicity. Male and female were used to categorize gender. We also categorized age by placing people in a group labeled either child, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and 60’s. We determined this by their appearance.

Results
We found that our hypothesis was not accurate except in Abercrombie & Fitch. In Abercrombie & Fitch, we found that 94% of customers were of the same race as the employees. The three other stores, Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Nine West, were diverse in the ethnicity of their employees and customers.

Discussion
Our original hypothesis was not supported by the data we collected. We found that similarity of employee – consumer characteristics did not seem to influence where people shopped. However, in Abercrombie & Fitch all but two customers were of the same race as the employees. It was apparent from our data that people didn’t seem to care from whom they purchased goods. This could lead to some questions; for example, would having a more diverse staff increase sales? Future studies should target the above issue.

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