For our third assignment we were asked to observe people in a public space. I chose to go to the bingo with my flatmate and her friends from graphics.
We rushed to get there as we thought we wouldn't be able to get in if we were late. We got there around 7 and had to register which took about 5 minutes but we still managed to get in. The lady at the desk just didn't charge us for the first game and we were told we could join in with the silver and gold cards.
When we first went into the hall I was surprised at how big it was, it wasn't very busy but mostly older people either on their own or with a friend. Some were couples and we could tell who the pro bingo players were as they had little electronic machines.
We sat down at a table near the door next to the rest of the group. During the game the hall was very quiet as everyone was concentrating and at breaks some people got up and went for a fag, to the bar or toilet, others stayed and played another game. People seemed quite ignorant as they just sat there playing with their hand and money in the air waiting to get change, the assistants who came around rarely got thanked. The atmosphere was quite intense and competitive, it was clear everyone was there to win and not just for fun. The rules weren't explained and I was getting a bit flustered because I didn't know how to play! Shaun went and asked an old man sitting beside us how to play and his answers were very mumbled and unclear. He seemed nervous and unwilling to help. One of the girls in the group eventually explained the rules to us.We had a silver and a gold card, each card contained 6 games with 6 grids. When the numbers were called we scored them off and there was prize money for the first line, the first 2 lines and the first house. If you had one of them you had to shout 'House' and an assistant would come and check your card. At first I was getting quite flustered and found it difficult to keep up with the man shouting out numbers. He spoke quite fast and the numbers weren't repeated which ment I missed a few in the first few games. I could have won something!
By the end I had got quite into it and started to enjoy myself. When we all got up to leave there was a few dedicated gamblers who stayed for the late night session. There was a small part of me that really thought I'd win even though I knew I probably wouldn't. Each time someone shouted 'House' there was a sigh and tutting that echoed round the room which made me realise that everyone was just there to win, they took it so seriously. When one of the girls in our group won we all kind of clapped and cheered... we got a few funny looks but most people laughed! I think our group brought a bit of fun to the experience and we got a voucher for a free game to go back again!