Money and research do not mix?

Early on in my project I ended up in a conversation with a shop owner. He described how a while back many of the other shops in the strip were vandalised, however his was left alone. The police came knocking and asked, ‘who do you know?’. If this is exactly what happened or when it was I am still not sure, but it did make me hesitant how much of the commercial side of the suburb I would be able to cover. Clearly there is no ‘typical’ shop experience when it comes with intersections with other social happenings in the area.

 When I was first trying to organise what I would do with my time I tried to approach both shops/ commercial businesses as well as more explicit ‘community’ events. I was intrigued that the businesses attitude towards protecting clients and customers was to say ‘no’ (or rather to say, send me an email and I will get back to you). Not-for-profit groups were often slow to respond, and some have many concerns regarding privacy and accuracy, but these were not surmountable obstacles. I thought perhaps once I had put in some hours in the suburb I might receive a more favourable response from businesses, but this something I have not really gotten far with.

 This is all very interesting, but I have a big problem; I do not know if this has anything to do with the nature of business, or if it is the way I come across to people operating in certain sections of a for-profit world.

 To be fair, cafes and pubs are friendly and the reaction I got from the shop floor staff in the other businesses was usually much more enthusiastic than the (small sample of) managers who said ‘no’. Further more I have heard many reports that traders have jumped at opportunities to meet to discuss the community in the area. So perhaps I am targeting the wrong businesses and so am finding out something about hierarchy rather than something special about the not-for-profit sector?

 Does anybody else have similar experiences or any advice?  Is the absence of these perspectives going to be a major issue when I come to write up?


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