Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cost of Social Norms

Chapter 4 in the book predictably irrational is an interesting topic and is very true in my everyday life. We all operate under certain norms weather they are social or market (financially) oriented. Norms are what give us order and direction but both social and market norms can be taken very differently depending on the situation. Social norms have to do with what we personally believe is the right thing to do that is based on our values. Market norms are basically what you are willing to do for a certain amount of money.

The other day i helped a friend move from gateway to Bozeman. It was in the later afternoon and i had nothing going on so i was more than happy to help him out. The move only took us one trip and had all of his stuff moved into the new house. When we finished with the move he treated us to pizza and beer which is more than i could ask for in such a small task that took only took an hour or so. If he would of told me before hand that he was going to pay me $12 an hour, or whatever the rate, i would have immediately been thrown off by the money offer because i am acting under a social norm rather than a market norm and changes the whole reason of why i am helping him in the first place. The gesture of feeding me pizza and beer far outweighed the value of cash i could have made in this scenario.

Our perceptions can change dramatically depending on the situation at hand. If this were someone i was helping move on Craigslist my mind set would be totally different. I would be taking it as more of a "work" job rather than a "fun" job. When you are acting under a social norm you are less likely to consider it work and receiving things like dinner or a simple thank you are sufficient.

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