Review: The 3rd Time in the Same Shop in 3 Days

Pictured: A large shop comprising of smaller shops that may have been 'bothered' by individuals on more than one occassion over a small space of time

What’s being tested?

The social and psychological ramifications of visiting the same retail outlet for the 3rd time in as many days.

What we found

Pros:  

We found that visiting the same shop over the time-period on test could help instil a sense of belonging or community, in the individual and individuals the individual encounters while revisiting the said store. It was recognised that if upon the 3rd visit the individual had not yet been politely asked to leave or forcibly ejected, then that individual was still ‘wanted’ on some level. Frequenting the same local shop was also found to be a largely positive practice, as it could be interpreted as the individual supporting local business and, as such, contributing to the triumph of our shared humanity over our instinctual inclination towards personal gain and prosperity.

Our testers also found that, even on the 3rd visit in a relatively short space of time, it was still possible for the individual to form the limited-but-cordial relationship that qualifies as the optimum bond between civilians and shopsm’n. Screensaver conversation staples like “We should really stop meeting like this!” and “How’s things?” were still observed to be welcomed, if not actively solicited, by most store staff, (most businesses train their employees to write off up to 4 days non-conversation as ‘shyness’). Alternatively, a casual-but-knowing nod from the individual was found to create the impression of a likeable shoplifter in the minds of most shop staff, which many may like to adopt in lieu of actual personality or confidence, and may also come in handy if the individual is a genuine accredited shoplifter.

In some cases it was even observed that individuals who visited the same outlet on 3 or more occasions over 3 days really just didn’t care what anyone else thought of them or their routine, which in itself was deemed largely positive. It was concluded that these individuals realised, or even didn’t realise that they realised, the inevitability that their actions were not as closely scrutinised as they might be tempted to feel they are, because most people are generally engaged in other more important or interesting pursuits.

Cons:  

Our testers felt that individuals who had entered the same shop or store 3 times in 3 days may have been actively seeking to create a sense of belonging or community in that store (as opposed to simply inadvertently finding themselves with that sense, over time), and as such should re-examine their relationships and priorities. We also found that an individual who visits the same outlet regularly will have most likely absorbed the general aesthetic of that outlet into their subconscious visual palette, and will therefore gain a great deal of satisfaction from noticing minute changes, like a new copy of The Rural Advantage or the removal of a promotional sticker from the inside of a chilled drinks cabinet. This heightened awareness was seen to be a largely negative thing, and it also created the additional possibility of the individual being shocked into coma by something large and unexpected, like a visit to a new place, or unexpected human kindness.

We also found that individuals who have visited the same shop 3 times in 3 days will begin noticing other such individuals, and may feel an obligation to communicate with those individuals on some level (with furtive nervous glancing being the most likely method). This has been known to lead to large pockets of individuals who have visited the same shop 3 times in three days nervously glancing at each other, in that shop, out of a sense of obligation. These build-ups can be a severe problem for businesses, as they block important aisle space and marketing vistas.

Finally, it was observed that most shop staff are generally totally bored most of the time, and, even over a shorter visitation period (two days, for example), will recognise the frequency of the individuals visits. These same bored shop staff will, in most cases, attribute the individual with an insulting nickname based on the nature and pattern observed in the individuals ‘schedule’, and while this nickname will remain secret, the knowledge that it exists has been enough to stop some individuals visiting the previously well-frequented store for at least a week.

Verdict

We found that, while sources of genuine comfort in the midst of such uncertain times are few and far between, relying on a routine that involves simply frequenting the same shop, on numerous occasions over a relatively limited period, could result in the individual being labelled a nuisance, especially if the shop frequented happens to be a bra shop, or a shop that generally sells items of a private nature to members of the opposite sex. Adapting the routine to engender a positive outcome is a preferable alternative – getting into the habit of taking regular exercise or worrying violent countryside pests (i.e. badgers) are popular substitutes. Our testers were keen to point out, though, that spending half an hour every other day in WH Smith just reading the magazines and not paying for them is totally ok.

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