Thursday, March 25, 2010

News From My Neighborhood: Social Experiments You Can Do In Your Own Neighborhood!

Dad Gum It!

Someone decided that the roses outside our fence would be a good place to hold gum.  They carefully wrapped a piece of white gum around a branch of the rose.  My kids and I discussed this as we walked past it on our way to school.

Z: Why would someone do that?

Me: Because they are dumb.

A: You should not say that someone is dumb.  Maybe they just didn't know what they were doing.

Me: Oh, they knew what they were doing alright.

A: Then why would they do that.


Me: Because they are dumb?

Alternate theory: Science experiment?  Remember kids, science is not a toy!

The Iced Tea Bandit

Someone who has been discarding giant cans of Arizona brand iced tea in our neighborhood.  I am collecting them.  I've collected about four of them so far, from different blocks on the neighborhood.  I'm not sure why someone is walking to the nearby convenience store (I can tell by the sticker on the can) and then wandering into our neighborhood and leaving the can in a different place every day.  Is it compulsive?  Some magic trick? An advertising gimmick for iced tea?  Evidence that people who are "green" are bigger jerks than people who are not green?

Behavioral Science Is A Fun Toy

The last few weeks I have been using the walk to take the kids to school to experiment on the neighborhood. And here is what I am doing.  In the past I noticed that no one would say hi to me as I walked by.  So, I started saying hello to everyone I pass, whether they look away or even walk on the other side of the street.  Over the last two weeks this has caused almost everyone to say hello to me, except for one junior high boy and one grandfather (who is about 50% on his reciprocal greeting).  The payoff came this week, when I chose a day on which I would not say hi to anyone unless they said it to me first.  And it worked!  Everyone initiated saying hello to me.  Soon my plan for world friendification will be... complete.  PHASE TWO: I am waving to all the cars that pass me in the neighborhood.  Mooo-wha-ha-ha-haaaaaa!


  1. I liked your link to the ethical algebra that accompanies green consumerism.

    In the final stage of your experiment, you should approach those greeted and insist they buy knock-off Amway products from you. The most friendliest/creepy strangers I've met have all been selling Amway. Coincidence? I think not.

  2. I think your conversations with your kids are one of my favorite things to read. I even chuckle out loud (yes, chuckle). You're girls are SMRT.