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Violating Social Norms Essay

Social norms are the shared expectations of what kind of behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. Violating social norms can be very amusing for the person who’s doing it, but can sometimes gather very hostile reactions from those around you. Violating personal space, standing on the wrong side of the escalator, walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk, wearing your clothes backwards and paying with change are just a few examples of how social norms can be broken. My partner Jordyn and I proved with our project that stepping outside of the box and violating social norms isn’t always as bad as it seems.

For starters Jordyn and I decided we were going to violate a social norm by going to a food place and paying with change. At first I felt really awkward because I wasn’t sure how the cashier and those around us were going to react but I just went with it anyway. Jordyn went first and I filmed her, she waited in line like normal and oddly enough when she pulled out the change it really wasn’t that big of a deal for anyone. The cashier was really nonchalant about it and even helped her to count the change, it was all very casual.

The results I got when it was my turn were very similar to Jordyn’s I went up and ordered my drink and when he told me the total I pulled out my change same as last time and the cashier helped me count the change, he seemed to have no problem with the fact that I was paying with change which was actually very refreshing. It didn’t feel like anyone was being judgmental and overall I just felt very comfortable with the whole situation.

In conclusion violating social norms can have varying results depending on the act you’re taking part in and the people that are around you while you’re doing it. I feel that our project was very successful because we broke a social norm but we didn’t show up with all pennies which would have probably gotten a better reaction, but in my opinion would be slightly obnoxious. I know that if I were in a cashier’s position I would be pissed so we didn’t take it that far. Regardless of the type of change we paid in I think we definitely displayed a great example of violating a social norm and I’m very proud of our uniquely found success with this project.

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