A student composed the following draft in response to this basic assignment: "After selecting a topic that interests you, develop an essay using strategies of classification or division." Study the student's draft, and then respond to the discussion questions at the end. Finally, compare "Types of Shoppers" to the student's revised version of the essay, "Shopping at the Pig."
Types of Shoppers
(A Draft Classification Essay)
Working at a supermarket has given me a chance to observe the different ways human beings behave. I like to think of the shoppers as rats in a lab experiment, and the aisles are a maze designed by a psychologist. Most of the customers follow a dependable route, walking up and down the aisles, checking through my counter, and then escaping through the exit door. But not everybody is so dependable.
The first type of unusual shopper is one that I call the amnesiac. He always seems to be going down the aisles against the normal flow of traffic. He mutters things to himself because he left his shopping list at home. When he finally makes it to my register and starts unloading the cart, he suddenly remembers the one item of food that brought him here in the first place. He then resumes his trip around the store while the customers waiting in line start to grumble impatiently. Inevitably, when it comes time to pay for the goods, the amnesiac discovers that he has left his wallet at home. I don't say a word. I just void his receipt and tell him to have a nice day.
Senior citizens mean well, I guess, but they can also try my patience. One man stops by several times a week, more to pay a visit than to shop. He wanders around the aisles slowly, pausing now and then to read a box of cereal or squeeze a roll or sniff one of those lemon-scented blobs of room freshener. But he never buys very much. When he finally comes up to the checkout, this type likes to chat with me--about my hair, his bunions, or that pretty tune tinkling out of the ceiling speakers. Although the people waiting behind him in line are usually fuming, I try to be friendly. I really don't think this man has anywhere else to go.
Even more annoying is someone I call the hot shopper. You can tell that she plans her shopping trip days in advance. She enters the store with a pocketbook on her arm and a calculator in her hip pocket, and she carries a shopping list that makes the Dewey Decimal System look chaotic. Like a soldier marching in a parade, she struts from one sale item to another, carefully organizing things in her basket by size, weight, and shape. Of course, she is the biggest complainer: something she wants always seems to be missing or mispriced or out of stock. Often the manager has to be called in to settle her down and set her back on course. Then, when she reaches my lane, she begins barking orders at me, like "Don't put the grapes in with the Nutty Ho Hos!" In the meantime, she stares at the prices on the register, just waiting to jump on me for making a mistake. If my total doesn't match the one on her calculator, she insists on a complete recount. Sometimes I make up the difference myself just to get her out of the store.
These are the three main types of unusual shoppers I have encountered while working as a cashier at the Piggly Wiggly. At least they help to keep things interesting!
Evaluating the Draft
- (a) Does the introductory paragraph engage your interest, and does it clearly suggest the purpose and direction of the essay? Explain your answer.
(b) Compose a thesis sentence that could be added to improve the introduction.
- Does the student writer include enough specific details in the body paragraphs to maintain your interest and convey her points clearly?
- Has the writer provided clear transitions from one paragraph to the next? Suggests one or two ways of improving the coherence of this draft.
- (a) Suggest how the concluding paragraph might be improved.
(b) Compose a more effective conclusion for this draft.
- Over an overall evaluation of the draft, identifying its strengths and weaknesses.
- Compare this draft with the revised version, titled "Shopping at the Pig." Identify some of the numerous changes that have been made in the revision, and consider in what particular ways the essay has been improved as a result.
Also see: Evaluating Classification Plans.