Observing the Setting and People of Royal Market

By: Sawley Vickrey

Royal Market – 11th and Tyler (Jefferson Westside), Jan. 20, 2010

6:30 p.m.

Chris and I sit at a tall, round table with our orders of dahl and rice with drinks from the deli, ready to start this assignment. We are sitting in between the frozen foods and pet foods and supplies. The store is very bright – white lights, white floors.

Indian music can he heard playing in the background.  Audible but not too loud.  The sound of the fridge running mixes in with that music.

With my first bite of the dahl and rice I notice the Indian flavors, saltiness and mild spiciness with the textures of carrots, peas, corn, beans and rice. It’s delicious. I wash this down with the sweet and tangy flavor of my root beer. It takes me about 30 minutes to finish all of this.


Tall, white man in mid-30s with a black hat, black jacket, black jeans and black Oakland Raiders jersey comes up to us asking to borrow 10 cents. I offer what I have (two cents), but he declines.

The doors beep several times as he leaves. This occurs every time someone walks through them.


Soda fountain to my left makes noise as the store manager fills his cup with a drink

White woman in early-20s walks in to use ATM machine right next to the door. The machine makes noise as she selects options. She has brown hair and is wearing blue jeans, flip-flops, a white top, black jacket.

Manager is of Indian descent, has a thick black mustache with short black hair. He is wearing a blue dress shirt and black slacks. The man with him behind the counter sitting down also appears of Indian descent, but he is much older in age. He wears a black turban, black jacket, full gray beard.

Another young woman with black hair walks in. She buys two 18-packs of Coors Light.


There are a lot of neon signs for various alcoholic beverages throughout the store. There store is perfectly heated. Not too hot, not too cold.

White man wearing a red sweatshirt, one earing in each ear and brown hair enters and buys two six-packs of an unidentifiable beer.

A white little boy with brown hair and glasses enters with an older girl and even older boy. They follow the boy as he roams the aisles.

Elderly man enters soon after them. He has white hair with gray peppered in, glasses and is wearing a dark blue jacket.

Many children of about 9-12 years old and a few adult men walk in (probably all from more than one family). Too many kids to keep track of. They all disperse throughout the store.

The chatter by the kids becomes the dominant sound.

The sound of the manager taking money out of the cash register become audible as one of the dads purchases items.


Laughter of the children starts. One dad scolds one of the kids about something.

Door keeps beeping as most of the children and their dads leave.

Two dads who are still in the store start speaking about directions to someplace: “Take two lefts…at the steep hill, turn left.”

A woman in the store begins laughing with the manager about the door constantly beeping.

Most of the families who entered at the same time have now left the store.

Bearded white man with glasses enters the store. He is wearing a black jacket and a green Oregon Ducks beanie.

The same woman joking with the manager is still in the store waiting for her food from the deli to be prepared. She is still laughing with the manager. Her laugh is loud, crackling and very rough.


This woman is a middle-aged white woman with curly blonde hair, tight blue jeans, black boots, blueish-gray top and a black jacket.

Sirens become increasingly louder as an ambulance whizzes by the front of the store. Sirens then fade away.

White guy in late-20s or early-30s with long, brown hair, a goatee, light-blue beanie, dark-blue sweatshirt, and grey sweatpants enters and buys several items.


Indian-style music become apparent again. The sound is composed of a sitar, some type of bongo drums, some type of flute or horn, chimes and bells. It has a relaxing sound to it.

The manager is suspiciously eyeballing Chris and me.

Two guys and one woman enter the store. They all are in their early-20s. They’re not all together. The woman and one man are. The gentleman by himself buys a dark purple Gatorade and a lot of candy. He leaves before the other two.

That same woman has a nose ring through her left nostril, glasses with red frames, frizzy blonde hair. She and her friend have an inaudible conversation with the manager as he rings them up at the counter.


Store is completely empty other than Chris, myself and the two gentlemen who work there. No activity going on.


Manager takes trash out. The black bags makes a crinkling sound as he walks with it.

About Sawley

Tortured but loyal fan of the Golden State Warriors, Oakland Raiders, Oakland A's, San Jose Sharks, Oregon Ducks and Chelsea FC. Life's easier with the R. Kelly Pandora station.
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