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Cultural Behavior Patterns, Research Paper Example

Pages: 2

Words: 645

Research Paper

The objective of this research was to observe the behaviour of people in a public place in order to learn more about the culture in which it is taking place.  I chose to observe in a supermarket for approximately 50 minutes, the time it took for me to shop for my groceries, have a coffee and some onion rings, and check out my groceries.  I made a point of shopping the complete store so that I could observe any differences that might exist in the various departments.  While having coffee, I had an excellent view of the two entrance and exit doors, of the check-out stations, and some aisles.

All of the cashiers were female, with the exception of a male relieving for one coffee break.  A male also came to the front to carry a customer’s groceries to her car.  The meat department was staffed  by only males, but the deli, the bakeshop, and the pharmacy had a mixture of males and females.  Consequently, I concluded that there was a work gender difference among some visible employee groups; namely, the all-female cashiers and the all-male meat department. I, however, noticed no staff conflict.

The shoppers were heterogeneous with respect to a number of variables.  The age range was from babies to seniors using canes, pushing walkers, and two people in a wheelchair.  People were considerate and helpful to the seniors who seemed to enjoy their shopping.  The fact that the store is wheelchair friendly and that a special check-out lane is dedicated to the handicapped and wheelchair bound helped a lot. The shoppers consisted of single men, single women, heterogeneous and same-sex “couples,”singles and also “couples” with children.

Most of the shoppers were by themselves.  As for those who were not, they also concentrated on their shopping only getting closer together when looking at particular items.  Dress was very casual and sufficiently uniform as to render it useless as an indicator of SES.

What was very noticeable, were the different ethnic groups in the store.  When Acocela (2008) wrote that most of the people who live in New York had not been born there, she could just as easily have been writing about the city in which the store that I shopped today is located.  Although the city, as is the case in New York, is considered unaffordable for many, unlike Acocela’s description of what some New Yorkers are willing to sacrifice to be able to live there is not the case here. Patios—and glassed in sunrooms—are almost a must have as is at least one car per household.  The city is expanding faster than the bus service, which means that for those families living further out in the suburbs, if the wife is working she requires a car as do any university students still living at home.  This city is an extremely desirable place in which to live with the result that people move here not only from other places within the country, but from other nations as well.  The relatively continual influx by millionaires and billionaires, who buy expensive mansions, has greatly driven up the cost of living here, especially of housing.  As a result the pressure continues to have more affordable housing built.  While I do not know what happens in the world of the rich, I do know that there is not much social mixing between them and the middle and lower classes. I have also observed that there is a tendency for members of an ethnic group to interact more—as was evident today in the grocery store—with members of their own ethnic group than with members from another group.

In my very heterogeneous society, citizens are generally tolerant, if not totally accepting, of the cultural groups’ norms that do not deviate too much from the dominant culture.

References

Acocella, J. (May 2008).  You got a problem with that?  Smithsonian.com. Retrieved on November 03, 2012, from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/mytown-n.

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