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Violation Of A Social Norm Essay

870 words - 4 pages

Society is ruled everyday by Social Norms. What is considered the norm in our society? According to Merriam-Webster, norm. 2014. In Merriam-Webster.com.Retrieved Feb 22, 2014, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/norm, it means an authoritative standard; a principle of right action binding upon members of a group and serving to guide, control, or regulate proper and acceptable behavior. In breaking a social norm, I realized the significance of social expectations among people in society and how it is a ruling factor in everyday life. We observe and are observed as well as judged and judge each other every single day socially. To act outside the expectations of society is nothing short of a social taboo. It is what keeps everyone in line, and those who do not comply with these standards are found wanting.
For my norm violation, I chose two different settings. One, a major retailer where I have seen social norm violations happen in the past; mainly around Black Friday when human beings seem to turn into creatures capable of anything, and the other, a local farmer’s market. On the first attempt, I visited the retailer. To switch things up, I took had an accomplice who had no idea she was in any sort of experiment. I asked my mom to go shopping with me, and then asked her to wait in line for me while I went to go grab a non-existent “forgotten” item. As the line grew and people were restless with waiting, I made my way back to the front of the line where my mom was waiting. I am sure you can already imagine the whispers. The same whispers made louder when I asked my mom to grab something else for me, while I waited in the line this time. As my mom rounded the isle, I even heard someone say, “I didn’t know this place runs a line-cutting service”.
Even though they completely disregarded the fact that switching off or not, we had been waiting in line like everyone else, the individual apparently made a difference. Standing there waiting for my mom to return, I felt a rush of uncomfortable feelings. Was I embarrassed? Yes. Did I want to give up the assignment? Double yes! As I did quick turn to observe the people in line, I already knew what I would see. Some had openly hostile looks on their faces, while others looked away and struck up conversation like they weren’t just whispering about me a few minutes before. They reacted exactly as I had imagined. I also noticed that in this high volume store, the...

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