My Experience With Social Norms


Palmer Flood, Reporter

Social norms are all around us. Shaping our society with written and unwritten laws that govern our behavior. I set out to break one of these norms and observe the reaction of my peers as well as random strangers around me.

The norm I broke was to eat it holding the cone, eating the ice cream first.  I set out to first order a cone at a fast food location, then when presented the cone by the cashier, I would then grab the cone by the ice cream, thank the cashier for their service, take a bite out of the cone and sit and eat. I replicated this experiment three times visiting first the Layton Chick fil a,  next the Kaysville Mcdonald’s, and last the Layton Kaysville border Mcdonald’s. Each location had different circumstances as well as different number of people, this resulted in different reactions from those around me ranging from completely ignoring me, to laughing and telling me that I was eating it wrong.

The most interesting reaction happened when I was able to survey a few people around about if how I was holding the ice cream cone was correct or not. A group of teenagers probably juniors or seniors in high school, when asked if I or my friend (who was holding an ice cream by the cone “the norm”) was holding the cone correctly looked at each of us and then pointed to me and said that I was! I was fascinated by this.  I then went to the other side of the restaurant where two guys also high school age were enjoying their meal. I asked them the same question and they too said the correct way to hold it was by the ice cream! I wasn’t sure whether their answers came from me being intimidating as a person, or if it really just shows the element of counterculture teenagers seem to display. It is my hypothesis that if I asked adults they would have told me I was wrong. Where as teenagers who often like doing things against the norm and mainstream, as well as enjoy things that seem funny, sided with me.

In hindsight this social norm is there for good reason. The ice cream was much harder to eat, as well as I made a huge mess trying to eat it, and my hand got really cold. This is one social norm that is in place for good reason.