I don’t usually get over excited about doing our Design Studies Assignments however this time I was truly looking forward to it. We had to choose a location and observe peoples behavior, note down any unwritten rules and special etiquette. There were a number of suggested places that would provide us with some interesting finds however I felt it would be best to go somewhere I had never been before because then I would notice a lot more about the place and people. As a lot of my class had never been to the bingo a group of us decided to go because sharing the experience would allow us to bring a lot more ideas to the table and boost our discussion.
We made our way to the bingo on Wednesday night, not a particularly busy night but busy enough to obtain the relevant info. Me and two others were running late and got there just on the stroke of 7 which was when it was supposed to begin so we all felt extremely stressed because we didn’t think we’d get in. However after rushing to become a member and get our bingo strips sorted it was all fine and we had plenty of time to spare as we had to sit through the end of the first game. This was good because it provided me with time to take in my new and strange surroundings and make some quick notes before I began playing.
I noted numerous points:
-No one talks much at all except from when someone shouts house and there’s a small outburst of chatter and then 1 minute later it’s straight back in to concentration.
-The bingo caller addressed some of the crowd by first name as they must be regulars, furthering the sense that bingo is a members club only.
-The bingo caller talked very clearly but at great speed and nothing is repeated meaning you really have to listen carefully.
-A special Mecca bingo song is played at the break along with advertisements on the big screen for the Mecca café and bar. The music is cheesy and the advertisements bright. It is like they are hypnotizing you to love the game, the surroundings, the great offers and the great amounts of money available to win. Drawing everybody in.
-Just like the strict formality of the game and the concentration the seats are all in an arranged and strict order, table after table. Like small pens at a cattle market. It doesn’t look fun and casual, you can’t move the seats around. It’s like your there for one reason and one reason only. This makes it seem quite scary and shows that there is an underlying unhappiness and desperateness to the game.
-New comers and beginners are not made to feel very welcome. The experts are just there to get on with the game, not to care about new people.
-In-between games there are special prize games and there are many betting and gambling machines around and outside the bingo hall, shouting win money. It’s all about the money, money, money.
-The style of dress is very casual, a lot of people go all the time so it’s not something to get dressed up for.
-The interior is very retro and art deco. It has not been modernized in anyway as they probably feel it doesn’t need to be because it does the job it sets out to do and still attracts the same customers. The money is what draws people in not the decoration.
-It is reminiscent of a Haven holiday, chucking cheesiness in to the palms of those who think this is the best type of entertainment.
-There is fast food and drinks on offer, all the things to make your experience all the better!
-People are a mix of middle and lower class, a lot of older people, certainly not many people under 25.
-People aren’t in big groups, they sit on there own or with one other person.
My notes make the bingo seem like hell, a scary and horrible place however I did enjoy it and there is a brighter more fun side. When you are playing the game it really tests your concentration skills and gets the adrenaline pumping. You really feel like you have a chance of winning because there is no skill only luck. Even when you don’t win you feel like your really close to winning before someone shouts house so you feel like “I’ll definitely win next time,” making you want to keep playing. When you see the amount of money you could win it gets you really excited and keeps you concentrating.
We were in the bingo for and hour or so and played about 14 games. I’m glad we stayed for this long as it let us see what the whole experience is like and gave us enough time to take everything in.
I feel the unwritten rules are quietness and respect for other players and everyone behaves