Towards the end of last week’s seminar class, I decided to go to Anthropologie with one of my class mates. As soon as we stepped foot inside the store, this sweet, warm aroma hit us, making me feel like I was close to home, and somewhere cozy. Because it was a Wednesday, this store was not too busy. I counted approximately 12 customers inside the store. There were only three cashiers working, so the line was moving quite slowly. The mood in the room was very laid back, and comfortable. Warm colours were displayed around the whole store. Ironically, even the warm colours felt and looked warm.
Although there weren’t too many signs, the ones I noticed were the signs that explained the products. F0r example, one of the signs read “Pilcro and The letterpress”, to inform the customer that the jeans and trousers below that sign, were from Pilcro and The letterpress. Another sign I noticed was the sign for the fragrance. This sign was titled “Fragrance”, but underneath it were four subtitles: fresh, floral, spice, woody. This was interesting to me because the customer could already presume what the fragrance would smell like, before they even tested it.
The rules seemed very clear to me, and they were not difficult to follow, even though no one said them to us. It was evident that we were allowed to take photographs as we were not the only ones in the store. Additionally, the store is so beautifully decorated to the point where it has become an Anthropologie trend, therefore, these photographs could be a form of advertisement. In the areas where the customers were not allowed to go, there were no violent or aggressive signs, just a rope between two small poles.
When I went to the side of the cashier, to eavesdrop, I saw a very friendly interaction between a cashier and a customer. The cashier asked the customer, “Would you like me to gift wrap these?”, so the customer responded, “No thank you, I am in a rush. But could you wrap them in bubble wrap as they are fragile?”. The cashier just looked at the customer, for a good 5 seconds. After this, both of them burst into laughter. The cashier then said “I’m so sorry, I haven’t had my coffee today, and I just got into work.” The conversation continued, both content with the situation.
“The meaning of a sign can be found not in itself but in its relationships with other signs within a system. To interpret an individual sign, then, you must determine the general system in which it belongs.” (Page 19, paragraph 3). When I read this, I thought about my excursion. I wouldn’t know what these signs meant if I wasn’t inside a store. For example, I have never heard of “Pilcro and the Letterpress”, but determining the general system in which it belongs, I concluded that it was a brand for jeans or trousers.