Atoosa: my favorite little devil.

Oh, after reading this assignment for the blog entry, I only chuckled to myself about how many people in the greater Orange County area were going to have bugged eyes and gaping mouths at the experiments that our Mass Media Effects class was going to bring. For my experiment, I barely had to do any work…I just left it all to my little cousin, Atoosa.

Atoosa reminds me a lot of how I was when I was a little girl, a spitfire. She craves attention so much that it borders on the obsessive, but you would too if you were the youngest of four girls. The two things that puts her as my perfect subject for my experiment was that 1.) she was 5, and 2.) she relishes in any chance to act.

The job was simple, my brother (Alborz) and I would go to three different grocery stores with Atoosa and, upon our signal, she will randomly start a tantrum, demanding a bag of chips. We decided to choose three different grocery stores that three different groups of people would shop at. The three stores were Trader Joe’s, Stater Bros. and a local international (mostly Persian) grocery store called Wholesome Choice. I was sure that with such hot headed Persians all packed in one certain place, Wholesome Choice was where we were going to get our most reactions and out lashes from the shoppers. Alborz, on the other hand, thought the people at Stater Bros would be more inclined to intervene. Neither of us knew we were going to get the reactions that we got.

“What did we get?!” you might ask. Well, I’ll tell you, curious reader.

We got nothing. Not a nudge, not a stare, not even a managerial interference. All three of the stores consisted of Atoosa putting on one hell of a show, jumping on the front of the cart, pushing Alborz when he tried to calm her down, and even in Trader Joe’s, Alborz picked her up and carried her out and we got nothing more than averted eyes and loudly changing subjects.

I’m sorry, I thought I was going to give you a much more compelling and interesting observation than that, but my experiment pretty much turned out a dud. Or probably not. I guess the more I can think about it, the more I realize that the lack of a reaction is the reaction in itself. These people wanted so much not to be out of their own little world, that they were able to just block us out and even pass us by in the aisles that Atoosa was having the tantrum. When it didn’t happen in Wholesome Choice, I understood and accepted defeat of my hypothesis. When it didn’t happen at Trader Joe’s, I understood and thought they weren’t going to do anything about it anyway. However, the second that we knocked out three for three on no one giving a flying fig about my little experiment, I felt like our world was in an even bigger bubble than I imagined.

In “How do young children misbehave in the grocery store and in the school,” the authors mentioned that of their 70 test subjects hearing about misbehaviors in grocery stores, around 242 non-repetitive behaviors occured ranging from moral transgressions to [blatant] violations of social norms (Tisak, Tisak, and Goldenstein 2001).  That was the kind of reaction that I was going for, a hopeful violation of social norms. However, society shocked me even more by being as mediocre as I feared they would be.

It’s ok, Atoosa still had a fun time with her cousins.

Tisak, Marie S., Tisak, John, & Goldstein, Sara E. (2001) How do young children misbehave in the grocery store and in the school. Early Education and Development Vol. 12(4). Retrieved April 6th, 2009, from Academic Search Premier.

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