Ethnographic study of Saddique Trade Center’s Food Court

Muhammad Umer Student of M.Phil

Lahore Business School, University of Lahore, 1- KM Defense Road, Lahore Pakistan E-mail: umerwarich@gmail.com

Ethnographic study of Saddique Trade Center’s Food Court
We (the people) living at the same place daily interaction with each other. Everyone has his norms, values, traditions, culture, behavior, attitude and life style, but there is only one thing which remains same and that is ethics. How to interact, with each other? How to behave with others? How to communicate with others? What are those things which we should have to remember when we are sitting together at same place? Everyone has his own celebrations with his family or get-together with friends that must be celebrated. Sometimes we want to spend our time with our self or sometimes we just want relaxation. These are happenings in your daily life. And we should celebrate them. That decreases your mental stress and other hectic material of your life routine. When we go to celebrate these occasions, there is a need of that particular place where you can feel more pleasure and joy. When a place will be selected, there will be many other people coming over there to enjoy the similar kind of events. So, every person is responsible, that he or she doesn’t do that kind of activity which creates problem or inconvenience for others, every person is representing of his own personality and how ethical he or she is? I think everyone knows that what sort of ethics should be kept in mind while visiting such kind of places. The ethnography research that I studied took place at the Saddique Trade Center PL Floor. I visited the Fried Chicken and Burger Corner on the PL floor of Saddique Trade Center on a Saturday at around 1pm. Saddique Trade Center is one of the biggest shopping mall in Lahore, Pakistan. The Fried chicken and burger point is located in the first level of the mall. There is only one roof form ground floor to PL floor; there are two floors between them. When you enter in the Mall there are on left side escalators which are for moving up and on right side for moving

down and straight to entrance lift to move up and down. There is a mechanical joker hanged in the middle of Mall which moves up and down on rope like a real joker is climbing. In the mall; in a square shaped area, the stalls are to be found on the sides leaving a big space in the middle, where large number of tables and chairs are placed. When all's said and done, it creates a cozy feeling for the customers. There are shops of garments, jewelry, shoes, purses and glasses all around. There is also a play land for children on PL floor, a lot of entertainment stuff over there. The mall’s floors consist of more than 15 individual stalls, from coffee shops to proper cuisines. The shoppers have a wide range of food variety to choose from. Some of the stalls are self service while in the others food is served by runners (waiters). There is a lot of running around and quick moves between the counter and the kitchen. Most of them working in the stalls appeared to be younger than twenty years of old. The reason for young staff could be, less pay and may be younger is always more active than the old one. I was amazed by the fact, most of them wearing black trousers as their uniform, but, the shirt different from stall to stall. Apart from this, there were people working in blue clothing, looked a little elderly, who were cleaning the tables with left over food and the wrapping papers. It was a late Saturday afternoon and the food court was filled with people off all ages, there were families with kids, couples, individuals and teenage groups. I could see different races of people; some were looking like as if they came from Lahore. It is easier to assume people with their cameras clicking some pictures are out siders. Apart from that I could see people of different race speaking English, Urdu and Punjabi. I could never categorize them that either they are Lahori or not, because all the languages are spoken in Lahore. Out of the whole crowd I noticed this group of friends who were loud in laughing and cracking jokes. They got seated before they could order food; I guess this was to ensure a seat due to the

increasing crowd. The group was between the age group of 22-27 years old. I was seated between them and the counter, which made it very easy for me to hear their conversation at both ends. The group consisted of three boys and two girls. Out of which, one of the guys was loud and cracking jokes and the other two were listening to him, out of the girls one was listening to the first guy’s comments and the other one was meddling with her hand bag and finally removed a Mobil phone, probably checking her message she must have received on it. This is one difference I have noticed between the two sexes everywhere. No matter how big or small a Mobile phone is, men always carry it in their pant pockets where as women always use their hand bags. The boys were dressed sporty. Two among the three were wearing cap and the other guy was blonde. The third guy had a good hair-style. Among the three, two were wearing t-shirts and the other one was wearing a white colored vest. All the three were wearing jeans. And to my greatest surprise two guys were not wearing any shoes. And the other one was wearing sandal (walker shoes). Among the two girls, one was wearing a white shirt and faded blue jeans and the other one was wearing long brown shirt on top and black jeans. Both the girls had veils falling on their shoulders running besides them to the ground. I was surprised because, going places with out shoes is considered as indecent. Also in a big shopping mall it is impossible to find one person without shoes. From their dress code we can assume two points: typical summer clothing and they belong to the popular culture, the lahori culture. As soon as after they got their seats, both the girls sat back and the guys got up to take their food orders. In most when there is a group of girls and boys the girls rarely get up to order their own food. Most of the boys make use of this opportunity to show their graciousness. The group spent a lot of time looking at the menu board which had the list of different kind of burgers. After much discussion among each other the boys ordered their food. The girls got a small burger and a salad respectively, but, the guys grabbed the

Big Macs and fried chicken. Well this reminded me of a Jack Nicholson movie, in which he positively passes a statement saying women never eat on dates. In agreement to that I can not remember ever noticing a girl eating more than the guy on the table. Every one in the group got a drink as well, which I guess was due to the increasing heat. The conversations began to flow again and this time they were talking about the food they had ordered. The boys exchanged bites of each others burgers and took comparatively larger bites. After each one of them started eating their meals the conversation grew less among the guy but the women continued to whisper and mutter words among each other. The boys just quickly ate through their food. Where as, the girl who was eating the smaller burger took really small bites and had longer intervals between them. The girl who ordered the salad plate kept on playing with the food by just mixing everything in the plate using a fork and took equal portions of each vegetable. Conclusively, female have more table manners than guys; no matter which age group they belong. Than had finished their food and sat more for just 5 minutes because one guy’s mobile was ringing he picked up and said to the caller that “we are coming outside in five minutes”. And so they left from there. Then I had a zinger burger and a drink, after that I went back to my home. Thus it is gathered on the basis of the ethnographic study of food court of Saddique Trade center, a key aspect of understanding people’s interaction with each others, how they communicate with each other and in which languages. How they enjoy gathering with friends, with family and sometimes just alone. Children were very happy there, they were running and shouting everywhere on the floors especially on PL (play land floor). Everyone is busy in his or her work but they all were watching each other for a sudden time. If you go to such kind of places it results in increases the confidence to interact with others and a lot of learning develops among yourself according to others which look like better than you and others.

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