In Anne Norton’s article “The Signs of Shopping” she has a stereotypical view of marketers as business savages who care about nothing more other than selling items and increasing revenue, even if that means crossing unethical boundaries. Boundaries such as identity and privacy can be trespassed with the strategies of advertisers. Norton describes the mall as a public place that encourages society to find an identity Norton also discussed on how advertisers can arrange stores to set up class distinctions. Using Malcom Gladwell’s text “The Science of Shopping” it supports Norton’s argument of how a marketer works. It has been proven Marketers target a specific audience based on data acquired. Norton’s claim is supported by marketing techniques that are used to cause shoppers to alter identities as well according to Gladwell.
Malcom introduces Paco Underhill, an environmental psychologist who founded market research by spending time analyzing video evidence of human behavior to understand why certain stores worked or did not work; this can further Norton’s argument even more. who founded market research by spending time analyzing video evidence of human behavior to understand why certain stores worked or did not work. This emphasized that Paco falls into the common stereotype in his field of work Norton describes but, he too happens to be shaped by the actions of marketing; due to the repercussions of human interaction. The two authors obtain different viewpoints within a similar topic. Malcom’s analysis deeply concerns how marketers can attract customers into the stores and that determines whether the store is successful or a flunk. Norton begins her argument by explaining how marketers in malls have the power of controlling citizens within their misleading appeal that limits an individual’s identity. Norton explains how advertisers acquire a hidden power that inveigles people to be characterized by the advertisements purpose. Norton states the concept of having mannequins and advertisements is to portray a specific identity for customers to acknowledge.
Another point the author introduces is how store owners are also in control, since they decide what is sold in the store and that contributes to alteration with identities. Norton says, “Stores hang a variety of identities on their racks and mannequins. Their window displays provide elaborate scenarios conveying not only what the garment is but what the garment mean means” (Norton 88). Norton insists the identities are hung up on mannequins, and posters in the fronts of stores as a way to show off the variety of identifies that are being offered in the store basically saying only this time of identity is available here.
Gladwell’s text can support Norton’s argument that a certain image is trying to be portrayed. Gladwell says, “…the reason that Gap and Banana Republic have tables is not merely that the sweaters and shirts look better there, or that the tables fit into the warm and relaxing residential feeling that the Gap and Banana Republic are trying to create in their stores, but that tables invite- indeed, symbolize- touching. Gladwell is trying to represent tables as a welcoming feature that gets an audience to touch what’s on it. This lead back into people trying to embrace new style leading to the new identity that Norton argues about.
Norton continues to argue that these so called “public places” where people go to shop are not exactly a place to escape. She believes that marketers have influence on what shoppers do. Norton say, “Shopping Mall appears public, but it isn’t” Norton 87.
Norton is saying that retailers/market use a “public space” such as the mall concealing and overstepping their authority because customers may think that the cameras are there for security while people like Paco Underhill are being hired to spy on customer behavior and the customers may not know that. Norton believes that strongly malls limit and restrict. The intended idea of a mall is for stores to collect customers to shop, explore, and socialize while feeling safe.