The Norm Violation that I performed took place in six different places, but mostly in the same environment. The Violations took place in Sayreville, New Brunswick, North Brunswick, Hazlet, Marlboro, and Matawan. You may now be asking yourself, what is in these towns that perform the same function? It could be a Police Department, Fire Department, a Food Market, a Burger King, or even a Car Dealership.
Well let me tell you that if you guessed any of these you were close but you didn’t pin the tail on the donkey. The setting for my Norm Violation took place at several Movie Theaters in Middlesex and Monmouth Counties.
The Normative Assumption in any Movie Theater is that you go in, buy your ticket, make a stop at the concession stand and buy some goodies, turn in half of your ticket to the Ticket Taker and finally go see your movie. This is the Norm for pretty much everyone with the exception of a few, some people may not go to the concession stand to get goodies, due to different reasons. Also, something that is relatively new thanks to technology and computers, people no longer have to get their tickets at the Theater, they can get them online. All they have to do now is go to the Movie Theater’s web site such as National Amusements.com, or they can go to Movie Tickets.com.
They then go to a machine in the Theater’s lobby to receive their tickets. Now as you know when you go to the concession stand and get your goodies, your popcorn comes in a bag and your soda comes in a cup, this is where the violation comes into play. When I got up to the concession counter I ordered a Medium Popcorn and a Large Soda, the attendant then brought the items to me, at this point I told the attendant that I wanted the popcorn in the cup and the soda in the bag.
I went to 10 different people out of the six theaters, 6 of the attendants called their Managers, 3 were rude and said I had a problem and 1 actually did it. During the 10 times, 5 times I did it during the week when it wasn’t busy, while the other 5 times it was done on a Friday and Saturday night when it was very busy and both the attendants and other patrons behind me started getting very upset.
In all of the situations, I was the bad guy, the attendant was the guy just trying to earn money for a car, college, and his prom and the manager was the intermediate and the person making sure that the patrons were happy. In Hazlet, most of the people were from the upper class and the manager was a white female in the upper class that led to them looking down on me.
While in Matawan the people ranged from the middle to upper class and the manager was from the middle class and most of the people ignored me and didn’t care. When I was in Marlboro it was the same situation as Matawan, but some of the people around sent some very negative remarks towards me. While in New and North Brunswick as well as Sayreville most of the employees were from the lower class, whereas the Managers were from the upper class, they lived in Rumson, Holmdel, and Edison.
In all of these situations, I wore jeans, a nice pair of sneakers, an Aeropostale long sleeve shirt and an open dress shirt over it.
In all of the situations, I spoke very nicely and always used a low voice as well as always saying “Thank You” and “Please”. I was also always telling them that this was the way that I always eat popcorn and soda and that you could charge me the same price but only fill the bag with a medium drink and fill the drink up, that they would be making money on me. When the Managers would come down to see me, I would tell them that I never had a problem at other theaters.
For example, if I was at a Sony theater I would tell them that I never had a problem at a Regal theater, if I was at a Regal theater I would tell them that I never had a problem at a National Amusements theater, and so on. Due to race, age, gender, and area there were different reactions to my norm violation.
First, out of the ten regular employees, eight were males between the age of 16-20, and two were females both of age 18. I went to Hazlet once on a Friday night and had a white female, she acted very nice and said she needed to ask her Manager, her Manager then came down, a white female of age 24 who said she couldn’t let me do it, she then changed her mind when she called her head Manager in New York. I went to Matawan on a Friday night and had a white male, he refused to do it and wouldn’t call his manager, and finally, his manager came over due to the fact that I was holding up the line.
The manager was a white male of age 36 and said that I could have it, however, the soda broke the bottom of the bag and fell all over the counter, I then asked for my money back and this made the employee very upset at which point he threw the money at me. Note that Matawan was a small movie theater with 4 screens and was not in a big chain, Sayreville and Hazlet were National Amusements, Marlboro and North Brunswick were Regal and New Brunswick was Sony. I went to Marlboro twice, once on a Wednesday night, and once on a Saturday Night.
The first time I went on a Saturday night and had a Black Male that was about 19, he was very arrogant and acted like he was a God, I then left and got a Manager, the manager was a White female at age 28, she told him that the customer is always right, he refused and told her that he quit, he then walked out and the manager got me the items. The next time I went it was on Wednesday night and I had a white male of age 16, the kid said ok and said that will be $6.50 and got me the stuff. My next stop was Sayreville, on a Tuesday afternoon and a Wednesday Night.
The first time was on a Tuesday at about 2:10 pm, I had a white male of age 20, when I asked him to get me the items he said that I must not usually do this and that a Fraternity put me up to it, at this point I told him no and that this is the way I always get popcorn and soda, he said whatever and got me the stuff, on the way in towards the movie the Manager passed me and said that if that leaks or spills that there not responsible, I told that I have never had a problem before and that for $4.00 if better hold soda, he just shook his head and continued walking, the Manager was a Male of about 41 years of age.
The next time I went it was on a Wednesday night and I had a Puerto Rican Girl of about 17 years of age help me, she was very nice and said that she never heard any ask for this but that she would have to ask her Manager. Her Manager came down, the Manager was a Female of age 53, she said that she would not let this be done and that if other movie theaters let you get away with then good for them, but that it would never happen on her shift. I finally asked her if I could at least have the popcorn in the cup and she said all right. My next stop was New Brunswick, Once on a Wednesday Afternoon and once on a Friday Afternoon.
The First time was on a Wednesday and I encountered a black male of age 18, when I asked him he said that I was fooling with him and asked what I would really like, I told him again what I wanted and he nicely said that he would have to check with one of the Managers. When he came back he said that the Manager said it was ok, but that if the bag broke I couldn’t sue them or ask them to pay my cleaners bill. I said ok and the boy filled my bag with soda and cup with popcorn.
The next time I went, which was on a Friday afternoon, I had a White male of age 16, when I asked him to get me the stuff, he said O yeah sure, would like some skittles in a nachos container, I said no thank you, but now I was upset, so when he brought me the two items I asked him if he had a lid for the Soda, now remember the soda was in a bag, he said no and that if maybe I was like any other normal human being I wouldn’t have a problem getting a lid for the soda.
His manager then came over and asked what all of the fuss was about, I told him what had happened he said that his employee was wrong but why would I want those items in the opposite of what they are normally supposed to go in, I told him it’s how I like it. He said ok and have a nice day.
The final stop on this journey was to North Brunswick, once on a Saturday Night and once on a Sunday Afternoon. The first time which was on a Sunday afternoon, I came across a white male of the age of 16, when I asked him to get me the items he said that he would be right back, another employee came over to me and asked if he could help me, I then presented him with the same order, he said that he couldn’t do it, I asked why and he said that popcorn is supposed to go in bags and soda in cups, he said that there was nothing he could do, so I said ok and left.
The next time which was on a Saturday night had nearly the same outcome, I went to the counter and had a black male of age 18 serve me, he said that there was nothing he could do, I then asked to speak to a manager and he said ok, the manager came over and said that they couldn’t meet my demands because once before in another theater someone had hot coffee spill out of the bottom of the bag and the person suffered burns and sued the company, I told the manager, ok and I walked out.
In almost every case the regular employee would always ask a manager to come over and speak to me. Due to age or race, there was really no pattern to follow, I think it all depends on how the person’s day is going. In Hazlet the people behind me were getting very upset with me and were making derogatory remarks to me, it got so bad that the Security Guard had to come over and ask everyone to calm down. In Matawan and Marlboro, there wasn’t a very big crowd there so no one really noticed, however in Marlboro the people did hear the employee curse the manager and couldn’t believe it, they were in shock.
In Sayreville and New Brunswick it was very dead and there was no one there to see what was going on except for the Cashier and Usher. In North Brunswick however people were telling me to get the item and then switch them later, and others were telling them to just give the items to me. During this exercise I felt very threatened and upset, I felt very threatened by some of the employees and most of the patrons, and I felt sorry for the fellow who quit, but he did curse the manager out and he was probably a very rich kid that needed everything the way he wanted it.
When I revealed my reasons to the employees and Managers, they all said what kind of teacher would make you do a project like that, I said that it was kind of weird but I got to see how different people react in different situations. You may be asking your self, boy I should give this kid an A+ due to that fact he must have spent over $100.00 dollars on this project, well I didn’t.
I am good friends with the Head Manager with National Amusements, he is in Charge of Hazlet, Sayreville, Atco, Newark, Edgewater, College Point, Cross-County, and Saw Mill. He was able to get me passes to all of the theaters I went to, so I didn’t have to pay for tickets, and about a half-hour into the movie, I would come out and tell them that the bag was soaked and wet and that I want my money back.
So in total, my project cost me $12.75. Also when I revealed myself people would ask what college I go to, what my teacher’s name was, what were other reactions from other theaters. When I went back to the Regal in Marlboro which was about a week later and I revealed myself to the same Manager, she said that I cost someone a job and that how would I fell if someone cost me my job, I told them that I have been in worst situations then her employee was and never lost control. I also found out that they asked him to come back and work and they told him what happened, but he refused.
Living in the modern world, we got used to following specific norms. Some norms are so natural, that we even cannot imagine that we may violate them.
For example, attending public restrooms, men and women always go the ones that are identified for their gender. It is almost impossible to see a woman in a public men’s restroom, and vice versa. Of course, there are different situations and sometimes we may confuse something, however, men are not going to attend a women’s public restroom intentionally as there is a men’s restroom next to it.
I have decided to violate this norm and to choose a men’s restroom. I want to see the reaction of men when they see a woman in their restroom. This rule violation is referred to a folkway as violating this rule I present myself as a person who does not know the elementary norms of social behavior.
Violating this norm of social behavior I want to see the reaction of people and their readiness to face the norm violation. Considering the reaction, I want to know whether people are going to correct my behavior or they are too careless for the surrounding world which does not have a direct attitude to them.
The main idea of this experiment is to consider human readiness to point to incorrect behavior and to have a desire to improve the situation by means of teaching a strange person the simplest rules. The experiment will help to understand how many people are ready to spend their time on the elementary notification about the rules violation and correcting it.
I visited several men’s public restrooms where the number of attendants is high. I went to public places during the time when the rate of people is high. I entered a men’s restroom and watched the reaction of people. First of all, I wanted to know whether men in the restroom would notice me.
Second, I watched their reaction and made notes if men tried to tell me that I used the wrong doors. Third, I considered the way people reacted. It was important for me to see the way of their reaction, whether they were aggressive or not. Finally, I considered the time people were ready to spend on trying to show the door for me.
I was in a central supermarket on Monday and Thursday. I also visited the central park restrooms in the morning on Tuesday and on Friday, and in the afternoon on Saturday and on Sunday. Generally, I spent almost a week on this experiment, still, it was about 20 minutes a day. After each visit, I made notes to get as much information as possible about the reaction and the way men behaved when they saw me in their restroom.
The results of the experiment are as follows. In most cases men reacted on me, however, the most common reaction was silent amusement. Men understood that I chose the wrong doors, however, in most cases, they either left faster or just closed the doors (if they were just about entering).
The amusement could be read on their faces. There was one case of an aggressive reaction on my presence in the men’s restroom. A man told me in a rude way that I used the wrong door and that my place was in the next room. No aggression was noticed, a man just used impolite tone and irritation in his voice. There were only several cases of men’s trying to show me on my wrong behavior. Two men said that I might choose the wrong room. One man asked whether I need help with something. Three men asked me to leave as I used a men’s restroom.
All other men just silently looked at me, smiled, or expressed their amusement in another way, and remained silent. No one tried to push me or use another physical power. No one laughed at me openly or showed their disrespect. It seemed that I just entered a simple room where I was extra, but no rule was violated.
Analysis and conclusion
Violating this norm I felt embarrassed and ever fear. I was not sure whether the reaction of people was going to be normal and aggression would be absent. Only after several days of the normal outcome of the experiment, I entered fearlessly the restrooms without being afraid of what would happen. The whole affair was fun for me, I was interested in the results and the adrenalin rush I felt was great.
My feelings were connected with the violation as breaking the rules I appeared in a frustrating situation, IU showed myself as a person who is unable to distinguish between men’s and women’s restrooms as it cannot come into mind that I intentionally broke the law. As I have already said, after several attempts of rules violation I felt more comfortable.
It says that the absence of criticism in my direction made me feel comforted under strange circumstances. Moreover, it showed that the constant violation of the norms and absence of negative reactions and punishments allows thinking that it is possible to act in such a way and violation of the rules becomes an ordinary behavior.
Giving me just weird looks people understood that I acted n a wrong way, however, no one wanted to make any affairs with me being bothered by their own business. I suppose that the main reason for the absence of actions in many cases was provoked by the lack of desire to spend personal time on an action that has nothing to do with them directly.
People think only about themselves in most cases. When they face issues that do not touch them directly, they prefer to stand aside to avoid any complicated situations. Speaking about my actions, many people understood that I acted in the wrong way, but they did not want to deal with me as it was not their business.
The crude reaction was the reason for the bad mood of a person who needed someone to cry at to relax. That is all. In another situation this person may behave in a way others did, just a silent weird look and that could be everything I deserved. The experiment showed that modern people care only about themselves and the violation of the rules does not bother them if it does not touch them directly.
This norm violation helped me understand that society has become too personalized. Thinking only about themselves people have forgotten that we all live in one society and that cooperation between people is a guarantee of success. Only working in a team, people can reach the result. People have become too distant from each other and they think only about themselves. This experiment may be developed and the reasons for human behavior may be studied.
In sociology, norms are expectations that are social that guide the behavior of an individual. They actually explain why human beings do what they do in certain situations. Some norms are enforced by the sanctions that are legal such as walking naked in public places is not allowed and can result in one being arrest by law enforcers while others require one to just use common sense. In real life, people normally experience the pressure that is very strong of conforming to the norms
The violation that is going to be imagined and discussed is clipping my toenails while sitting with others. The behavior of clipping my toes while others are sitting next to me was very irritating to them since two of them were reading a novel and one of them seemed to be very stressed and never wanted to be disturbed at any cost.
Therefore, it would have been wise for me not to do that since it is clear that there was the need to apply the norm of being silent or look for somewhere else to do that by the use of common sense.
Therefore, the behavior was violating the peace that those sitting beside me needed. Another form of norm violation that will be suitable for the future classes is whistling while the professor is busy lecturing the class since it will be destructing the attention of other students who are busy concentrating in class (Kratochwil, 1989).
It was in April 2014, inside the compound of the national library where we were seated at a bench with three other people, two of which were reading novels but one seemed to be stressed and absent-minded and looked like he did not want any form of the slightest disturbance whatsoever.
Before the experience, I was feeling very happy and I was in a jovial mood so I started singing in my mind and before knowing it I was clipping my toes since it was a habit that I was used whenever idleness prevail.
During the experience, I noticed that the two boys who were reading novels kept looking at me whenever I clipped until one of them left the bench, and the one who seemed to be stressed got at a point where he was forced to click. After the experience, I felt very stupid of me as it was an embarrassing experience and I vowed never to violate such a norm again (Kratochwil, 1989).
According to Sanchez, doing such an act is actually disgusting, he gives an example of a woman who enters a bus and after some time she removes her shoes and starts clipping her fore toenails. According to him at first, the act makes you feel like you are at home but after other people start reacting in a negative manner then it makes you feel stupid and you feel like the earth should open beneath you and burry yourself alive simply because you violated the norm of not clipping your toes especially in the public places where you are required to conduct yourself with respect.
Sanchez thinks that in this time and age it is high time for people to be civilized as he argues that is the reason why in the past people were living in caves and were not civilized but those days are gone and people should start behaving with respect especially in the public places so as to avoid the small embarrassments.
Therefore, from the book, it clearly shows that the way I reacted and felt stupid was brought about by the reaction f the people who were sitting beside me and it dawned on me that I was violating the norm of not clipping my toes particularly in public places (Sanchez, 2014).
In the sociological book by Linn, the clipping of nails in the office is against the office etiquettes and should not be condoned even in public places. He gives an example of two workmates and one of them had a habit of clipping his toes about two to three times every week.
The other workmate was usually irritated by the clipping sound and could not concentrate on his job. At some point he was fed up and asked the manager to relocate him to another desk since where he was sitting at the moment he could not concentrate at all.
After he was relocated the employee who had a habit of clipping his nails was surprised why his workmate decided to do so but after he discovered that it was due to his habit of clipping his toes in the office he felt stupid and decided to stop the habit.
The book also shows that my reaction of feeling stupid was similar to the employee who had a habit of clipping his toes and what made him realize that he was violating the norm was when his fellow workmate had to relocate to another desk as he could not withstand the irritating sounds (Linn, 2012).
The reason that contributed to the violation of the norm was due ignorance thus making it a habit and also due to the fact that nobody has ever reacted to the behavior in the past thus making me have a feeling that clipping my toes in public was not violating the norm. According to Lin, the employee had a habit of clipping his toes in the office, and before he noticed the reaction of his colleague he never thought that he was doing something wrong.
Therefore the book clearly shows that before people react to your bad habit of violating certain norms, one cannot realize that he or she is on the wrong track but when one realizes after the reactions from people he fills stupid and never repeats the act. If I would have enacted the violation, then my thoughts could not be able to forgive me since it would be a very embarrassing experience which no one would like to experience.
According to most of the reading, people who have passed through the same situations have gone through embarrassing situations because of their behavior since they feel stupid of themselves and it is a lesson enough for one not to repeat the same act once again in public.
The other thing is that since people experience certain pressure which is strong to adhere to the norms then to some extent I did that since I ignored the responsibility of adhering to the norms but if I could have enacted the violation in a real-life situation then my thought s could allow me to bear the consequences of my action.
From the book by Sanchez, it can be clearly noticed that after the woman got into the bus she removed her shoes and started clipping her toes, to some extent she must have been aware that it is not right to do that in public places since she was experiencing a strong force of not adhering to the norm.
Therefore, the book justifies my action if I was to enact the violation in a real-life situation despite the fact that it is not right to enact the violation especially in the public places which need to be given some form of respect (Sanchez, 2014).
In conclusion, norms are the social requirements that control the behavior of a person. They actually do give a guideline on what one needs to do and what he does in particular situations. Some of the norms are enforced by law while others just require an individual to use common sense while applying them. By nature human beings experience a certain force of not wanting to adhere to the norms and thus many times find themselves violating the norms. The violation that has been imagined and discussed is clipping my toenails while sitting with others.
The act made me feel stupid due to the negative reactions by the people who were sitting beside me since they were irritated by the bad habit and one of them had to leave the bench and I vowed never to repeat the act at any time.
Three sociological books have been used to analyze the violation by justifying it and showing how it is not accepted due to the reaction of the people affected. Therefore it is wise not to violate the norms that we are required to respect every time and most particularly in public places.