Field Research Report | Wrap Shack on the Square

For my research report, I chose to observe a sports bar and restaurant in the Rittenhouse area of Philadelphia. Wrap Shack, also known as, Wrap Shack on the square happens to be the place where I work when I am not at Temple University. Since Wrap Shack is located in Center City, the clientele varies from day, night and weekends. I chose to observe during lunch hour on a weekday which is from 12:00PM until 3:00PM. Wrap Shack is a small bar and restaurant – like most sports bars in Philadelphia. Throughout the restaurant there are different types of advertisements of beer and liquor as well as advertisements for events happening in the Philadelphia area. Wrap Shack also offers wifi access, which is frequently used.

Everyone that came in was dressed business casual, business, and a few who were wearing casual clothing –they all looked like business professionals. There were many groups of men and women who looked very neat and professional. There are also couples, some that looked like friends and some that looked like they were dating. At the bar, there were many men by themselves, on the computer or mobile device. In general, everyone looks very nice even though it is a sports bar after all. The average age during lunch hour was 35-40 years old, and mostly white, Americans. There are many people who sat on the table and quickly pulled out their phones to check their e-mails, messages, or calls even though they were with a large group. There was one table that sat down, pulled their phones out and were completely tuned into their phones and not the people around them for the first ten minutes – I figured these people were out to lunch during a busy business day. The couples have their mobile devices on the table, right in front of them – just in case they get a phone call or an important e-mail or message during their lunch hour.

Those who were on their mobile devices during lunch looked like they were only focused on what they are seeing or reading on their devices and completely unaware that they were out to lunch at a restaurant. The part I found amusing was that when those people put their mobile devices away or on their table, they were back to normal and engaged in conversations with those around them as if they never stopped paying attention. Others at the restaurant did not even pay attention to what was around them because they were looking down at their phones for almost the entire time they were at the restaurant. There were also those sitting at the bar on their computer, with headphones on, and their mobile device next to them- they must have had a really busy work day.

I found it really interesting how some people completely isolated themselves from reality and the present time and instead, focused on their virtual lives. One incident that struck me is when a guy who was on his laptop and had headphones in at the bar for about forty five minutes. Whenever he wanted another drink, he would not call the bartender by her name instead he would wave his hands or raise his hand a little bit to get her attention. He did not seem like he was interested in talking to others and all of the sudden, I overheard him telling a guy who just sat next to him about how he just got an e-mail about a job that pays $350,000 a year. It was so loud that a couple of the people turned around to look at him – and that, was the first thing I heard him say. I also found it interesting to see those who seemed as if they were on a regular work day and met up with a friend to have lunch. They were excited to see each other for the first five minutes and then they would be on their mobile devices for the rest of the time – some business people find that to be an enjoyable lunch date.

Given the fact that mobile devices serve a very large portion of many people’s daily lives, I feel as though the app I am designing will benefit many who are in the business world, as well as those who just need to stay organized with their daily routines and most importantly, their daily goals. While observing those at the Wrap Shack, I have gained many different ideas to try and help those in the business world be able to enjoy a lunch date or lunch meeting without having to look down at their mobile devices the whole time. I would like this app to be used on cell phones, iPads, and laptops devices.

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One thought on “Field Research Report | Wrap Shack on the Square”

  1. It’s not clear what the app you are designing is or how it connects to social justice. Related to this, it’s unclear how an app would “help those in the business world be able to enjoy a lunch date or lunch meeting without having to look down at their mobile devices the whole time.” It is likely that it is the demands of their job and norms of their profession are what pressure them to take a “working lunch.” It seems like you want to argue that slowing down and taking an actual break is important (which would connect to research and social justice more clearly). If that is the case, what could you design to make that argument or promote that kind of “time off.” One thing that comes to mind is that there are many apps that help increase productivity (things like Freedom). There are also ones that force you to take breaks (like Timeout). Given the kind of always-on work schedule you discuss, is there are way to envision apps like this that can promote a work culture that allows people to “just eat lunch”?

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