Wednesday, October 14, 2009
To investigate how trusting/reliable people were, I went to two stores that categorize different socioeconomic statuses- Goodwill (in Waughtown) and Harris Teeter (in Thruway). In both stores, I dropped my bag several times to see if people would return it and if location and demographic had anything to do with trust. I wanted to know if those who shopped in Thruway were more likely to return a bag because they had more wealth than those who shopped at Goodwill. I thought that individual need may affect a person's actions.
At Harris Teeter, every time I dropped my bag, a person who saw picked it up and brought it back to me. People were very willing to help each other out. At Goodwill, I don't know if it was that no one saw, but people ignored my bag. I didn't believe they would steal it, however they didn't pick it up and give it back to me either. I don't think this accurately concludes that those with more financial need are less trustworthy, some of the differences could be do to store layouts (things laying in aisles in the supermarket are much more obvious) or possibly how focused people were on me when I dropped my bag.
While I should not be proud of this, I thought one of the most interesting portions of my experiment was my own lack of trust. While my wallet in my bag was totally empty (I am after all a broke artist/student), I still was extremely uneasy about leaving my purse. So much so, in fact, that I made my friend come to both stores with me to watch from afar as I dropped my bag and make sure that no one would steal it. I know that this was showing my own tendencies to "bowl alone" however I would not have completed this experiment without my friend watching.