As part of Assignment 3, we were given the task of visiting a Bingo Hall to observe people. (full brief can be found here). We had to observe many different things including: how people acted whilst there, how staff interacted with the people attending, the class of people and if there are any unwritten rules of how to act.
It was quite a daunting experience, entering into a situation I had no familiarity with (which was after all the point of visiting the bingo hall). But it was made slightly easier by being with two of my friends (RemyTextiles & RachelleWDesign) which means that we could share in the awkward feeling. When we arrived we had to register with the Bingo Hall before we were able to play, but the staff at the main reception were really nice and helpful. Once registered, we had to buy the book for the game we were about to play and it was clear to the woman helping us that we had no clue what to do, but again she was extremely helpful and managed to explain the ins and outs of what we had to do.
The three of us were unsure when we first entered the bingo hall and felt extremely out of place compared to the obvious regulars already seated waiting for the games to begin. Whilst waiting for the game to start, we were able to make many observations about the hall that we were sitting in and of the people there too. After the initial awkwardness, it was quite an interesting situation to be in, although we weren’t sure that we would actually enjoy playing bingo.
Contrary to our previous thoughts we actually thoroughly enjoyed playing bingo and really got into the game, joining in the group disappointment whenever someone called “House” to announce they had won. We’re even considering going back! However, we still did manage to make many notes over the course of the evening and made many interesting observations, including:
- a surprising amount of young people (had previously thought it would be full of the older generation).
- all the participants are very serious during game play.
- there is no sound throughout the game apart from the bingo caller and when someone wins, calling “House.”
- more groups of people rather than single participants.
- seems to be quite a sociable event; groups of friends coming out together for the night.
- working class people more than any other.
- very competitive atmosphere.
- lots of different deals to encourage people to spend more money and/or return to the bingo hall again.
- interior setting dedicated to enticing participants to gamble more, with the slot machines easily visible from the bingo hall.
The findings we gathered will definitely be very helpful in the completion of Assignment 3, however I still have to make observations in a “Secondary Site” to back up my data collected from the bingo hall.