July 28, 2006 - Ed Of The Crowd
On Wednesday Night, some members of the dedicated staff of edhat.com attended a town hall meeting at Victoria Hall. It was advertised as a, “What can we do now?” session to talk about the News-Press situation. As it turned out, it was actually a rally to support the News-Press (the employees and the tradition of the paper, not the current owner). The employees who quit the newspaper were given standing ovations. And, the employees who didn’t quit the newspaper were also given standing ovations. There hasn’t been this much passion for the press since, well, ever.
We have said it before, but it’s worth repeating that the crowd at these newspaper rallies is mostly 50 and older. The News-Press issue has energized many long-time local political activists who hold dear many
of the ideals personified by the editors who quit on principle. However, it seems to the dedicated staff that this group is struggling to adopt new rhetoric for the new fight. We thought it was strange that while the topic on the table was the future of media in Santa Barbara, the 1969 Oil Spill was mentioned twice and Edhat was not mentioned at all.
Yesterday, the dedicated staff wanted to take a closer look at the citizens of Santa Barbara. We wanted to see if our generalization about the crowd at the rallies being older than the average Santa Barbara crowd was accurate. And, we wanted to verify our theory that many people living in the area today weren’t even born in 1969.
Ed told us that there is not better place to find the average Santa Barbara local crowd than at Trader Joe’s. Everyone shops there, right?
To make things more interesting, Ed decided that we should check out all three of the TJ’s in town (Milpas, De La Vina, and Calle Real). In order to have our observations relevant to each other, we surveyed all three stores at the exact same time. That way we could do some comparative shopping with the results.
Even though we were looking at the crowd in general, we selected yesterday’s contest as something that we could count objectively - comparing male/female ratios at the different stores. And, in order to make the count simultaneous, we deployed three dedicated staffers with synchronized watches and calibrated tally counters to each of the three locations. When the clock struck 5:00 PM exactly, the counting began.
After the data was gathered, our three dedicated staffers met back at the office to compare numbers and observations and to share the food items we bought.
One brought chocolate cat cookies. Another brought unsalted tortilla chips. And the third brought beer.
First off, we should report that in our collective subjective opinions, our age gauge does not appear to have been off. Even when factoring in a conservative margin of error around the age we assume people to be and what age they actually are, it’s as clear as bottled water that there is not much intersection between the ages of the people at the newspaper rallies and the people sampling the free food at Trader Joe’s.
Secondly, we report that the overall ratio of women to men shopping at Trader Joes in the after-work hours is two to one. Breaking that down by store, it’s 31% male on Calle Real, 35% male on De La Vina, and 37% male on Milpas. By a very close margin, Janie Lee (30%, 35%, 40%) wins the Edhat t-shirt – very popular with the younger crowd.
The three pictures above were taken at each of the three Trader Joe's. Guess which one is which and then click here to see if you are correct
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