W3. Let’s look at people look at screens.

Recently, I became aware of some rules that allowed me to take photos less self-consciously in public and made my peace with the bitter memories of when I thought I was defenseless (read the short story). Yesterday I decided to take my phone for a stroll and capture some footage while I studied people’s behavior around public screens and their personal screens ( cell-phones,…) in Mcdonalds on a Tuesday night.

I captured Mcdonald’s at its most quiet 


I had been to Mcdonald’s many times before but I had never looked around at what other people were up to. I usually storm in, aim for the ordering screen I have been keeping an eye on before I even walk through the door and once I have ordered my food, I stand aside and spend the waiting time simultaneously skimming through the screens above the counter, calculating what other deals I could have made spending exactly the amount I did. Then I’d be interrupted hearing my order number and before I know it, I’m out of there.

Screens of a Mcdonal’s near me 

My night time research discovered that: a lot of people do the same! Although I couldn’t tell what they were thinking about while looking at the screens, I saw a lot of resemblance between other customers’ movement patterns and mine. After all, there isn’t much you can do waiting for food. What I found interesting was how only a very few numbers of the customers engaged with their phones during their waiting time, if they weren’t looking at the screens, they would stare into the abyss.

An interesting discovery!
After I got my order and sat down I had an even more interesting discovery. I realized that I could identify the delivery drivers from the customers by the way they behaved around the restaurant screens and their cellphones before they even announce they’re picking up a delivery order or walk away with the bag!

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I work in a fast-food chain 3 days a week and interact with many costumers as well as delivery drivers. My experience at work, helped me recognize the behavioral patterns of costumers from drivers. For example – in my experience – delivery drivers rarely take a glimpse of the restaurant screens, they walk more confidently towards the counter and they spend more time on their phone compared to customers.

Good to know
This little moment of realization resembles an activity that happens automatically in our brains called pattern recognition (J.J.Sparkes, 1969) that exchanges the information we receive through our sensory receptors with previous memories and makes decisions like pulling our hand aside almost instantly when we have touched a hot pan!

Have you come across any of these patterns in your daily interactions?
What can YOU tell about people by the way they behave around screens?

A good read:

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