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Observation Paper

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A norm can apply to different aspects of life and society. Generally, a norm can be defined as a specific set of behavior that the society is expected to emulate. Smith (2006) explains that norms can be either explicit or implicit and they usually specify the behaviors that are acceptable within a given society. There are different types of norms in the society. A norm is therefore the normal way that someone is expected to behave in the society. There are several social norms in the society. Some examples of social norms include saying “Please” and “Thank you” while being served and chewing food with your mouth closed and with no sound. On my observation exercise, I decided to break the second norm which is eating with my mouth closed and with no sound. I went to a fast food restaurant which is very popular in the city. The restaurant was big, well ventilated, very clean, and well arranged. The restaurant was in an old building which had several good carvings outside and a modern setting inside. There was a section for snacks and a section for food. The architecture had a touch of both ancient and modern designs which gave it a unique setting and a good classy ambience. The people there were mostly of middle age and of the middle and upper class because most of them had nice vehicles.

The people there were of mixed gender with almost half of them males and the other half females. There was not much sound in the restaurant, just those of the customers talking in low voices. The waiters and waitresses were well dressed, groomed and very friendly. I went there at noon and even though the temperatures were high outside, that inside the restaurant was well regulated. This was because of the good conditioning. I went there on Monday when there were many people. I observed that many people were using the words “Please” and “Thank you” when they were being served. Most of them were also giving generous tips to the waiters especially those who served them well. Most people were having a conversation but they were only talking when they did not have food in their mouths. Almost everyone was also chewing gently with minimum sounds and almost all of them were maintaining good manners at the table. My observations can be illustrated by different sociological concepts. One of them is attitude. The attitude that someone has towards something will make him or her act in a particular way. Many people were good to the waiters because of the attitude that they had towards the restaurant. Behavior is also another concept.

According to Hechter (2005), people will behave in a particular way depending on the situation they are in. Many people were well mannered in the restaurant because everyone was behaving in a polite way, and, because the restaurant had a good ambience, it was required that everyone behaved that way. Culture is also another concept. The culture of the people and also the restaurant made them behave in such a well mannered way and observe the table etiquette. This shows that their culture expected them to behave the way they did, for example, maintaining the table etiquette. While I was in the restaurant, I felt like an outsider and like I did not belong to that surrounding because of the way people were observing social norms while I was breaking them. When I started eating with my mouth open chewing loudly, people began staring at me and asking themselves why I was doing that or where I had come from. This was a clear indication that social norms are very critical in our everyday lives and we should observe them.

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