I chose to conduct my exploriment in one of the aisles in CostCo. I went around one pm on Saturday to ensure that it would be busy, but I didn’t expect the place to be so crowded. I hoped the large number of people there would result in a wide variety of reactions.
I began the exercise with a feeling of extreme nervousness. This was the same feeling that caused me to delay trying this experiment until the Saturday before it was due. The large number of people shopping that afternoon didn’t serve to make me feel any more comfortable. I was embarrassed because I didn’t want people to see me acting in a way that I didn’t feel was normal. Had I been with a group of friends I would have had no problem acting in such a way. In fact, my friends and I enjoy fooling around in public. When I am by myself, however, I act in a much more conservative manner. Alone I don’t have the safety of numbers, and that makes me feel very vulnerable to other’s negative judgments.
Being under pressure, however, I was forced to push these apprehensions aside. I decided to stand at the end of one of the busier side aisles, facing out into the main aisle. I stood slightly to the right of the center and started my timer. I didn’t realize, though, that I positioned myself directly in the way of the flow of shopping traffic. For the whole ten minutes I heard people behind me say, “Excuse me,” but I didn’t want to have to start the exercise over so I didn’t move. I felt so embarrassed as the shoppers squeezed past me. Others just did their best to navigate around me without trying to get me to let them by. I can’t see through the back of my head so I don’t know what people looked like behind me, but I did try to see how people were reacting to me as they passed. I tried not to make eye contact with anyone, just see the expressions on their faces. Of the people that passed me from behind I saw basically three types of reactions. People either looked at me out of the...
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