Monday, March 28, 2016

The Pez Easter Egg Hunt and A Thought on Community

I could have pulled a number of news stories or anecdote's to present my point, but this one really seems to fit nicely.

If you want to read a not surprising story of people behaving badly read this story in the Washington Post titled: Easter egg hunt turns ugly after being ‘bum-rushed’ by parents.This story from Connecticut was about the Pez Factory hosting an Easter egg hunt that was ruined when people acted purely selfish and rushed the field (parent's included).

I wasn't there, but can only imagine listening and reading the story. And frankly, it's simply easy to imagine because we're used to the images.

One of the reasons I believe we see these types of stories of mass chaos and people acting this way is because in some ways as the world has become more connected and "smaller" and some would say, in our communities we've becoming increasingly anonymous.

If you live in a small community, or are connected to your local town you might be more likely to consider your behavior in public and in essence find yourself, if not naturally included, to keep yourself in check with the knowledge that your friends, neighbors and community are close at hand. And int this regard, our behavior impacts our credibility, our relationships, and our day-to-day interactions.

Yet, it seems to me that when I am out and about, there is no concern for maintaining community credibility in the way I would imagine in other places.

In reality, I often see people act more civil in the workplace (a place were credibility and relationship potential impact the day-to-day or future economic opportunity) far more than I see people's civility in the marketplace.

So when I see stories about the Pez Easter Egg Hunt I find myself wondering - did these people drive from far away and have no connections to others and felt it appropriate to not only act selfishly, but also with a disregard for the rules of the organizers? Or perhaps they lived close, and knew no one, or didn't care?

I don't want to suggest that behavior is only impacted by the social/economical trade offs that come from known relationships. But I also have to think that the social fibers of community drive behavior, and acts like these suggest that those social fibers are quite weak and worn.

The world is becoming more and more connected, but in our three-dimensional life it seems that we are far less connected and as a result our civil behavior manifest itself in disappointing ways. 

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