Computerisation and standardisation in shops affect our choices.

SKU: 921
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Producer: Steel Bank Films
Year Produced: 1991
Running time: 52 minutes
Trailer:  Watch on Youtube
Watch online: ideo on demand


This impressionistic documentary draws attention to the changes which have been taking place in shopping. Computerisation and standardisation have affected our experience and our status as customers. Do we want the staff to wear the same uniform, say only the phrases they have been taught, and smile only when they are told? Filmed mostly at Sheffield’s Meadowhall Shopping Complex, the film examines critically the shopping culture of the present and the future.
Made in 1991 this film reflects the cultural attitudes and language of the time it was made. The issues raised are timeless. The film quality may not be to modern standards.

I shop Therefore I am – A piece on ‘Custom Eyes’ from the Independent, Thursday 10th October 1991.

Custom Eyes (9pm Chanel 4, Thursday 10th October 1991), Jessica York’s entertaining film for CRITICAL EYE, examines the shopping culture of the present and perhaps of the future too. Filmed mostly in the futuristic Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, Custom Eyes investigates the way in which senior executives dictate what all their shops sell, how they look, even what their staff say. The American Head of Human Resources at the unlikely sounding Retail Academy at Meadowhall says she wants employees to “feel good about Meadowhall”. Not all employees agree, however. One former employee if the self-service restaurant claims that the stress was more on selling than caring.

“The words with ‘s’ and ‘r’ make a customer’s mouth water. So we don’t just sell sausage and rolls; we sell sizzling, succulent sausage on fresh French crusty bread. This is not customer care, it’s customer con.” At a retailing exhibition, (another) American pundit demonstrates an automatic checkout with a spooky computerised talking woman. Nevertheless, customers seem to like Meadowhall. One admits that, “For most of us, life is quite serious and grim. This is like an oasis of superficiality where you can forget about those things.”

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Custom-eyes from Concord Media on Vimeo.

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