Tiffani HallSocy 230 Essay #1 February 28, 2005 Introduction The Soup Nazi is a very famous episode of Seinfeld. This show is centered on a new soup stand that is owned by a gentleman who is not very conventional. He demands that his customers order their soup in a certain way and if you do not do it correctly he screams, "No soup for you!" Explanation of Deviance This violates the social prescriptive norm of "the customer is always right." The role of the person giving the service versus the person receiving the service is switched. Due to the fact that the customer is providing money and business to the service, the provider of that service is generally supposed to be some what submissive to the desires of the customer. The "Soup Nazi", as he is called, makes the customer feel privileged to be receiving his soup and as if they were doing him a service, and not the other way around. Kramer, who is the only one that the "Soup Nazi" seems to speak openly too, understands him, and states that the "Soup Nazi" is a slave to his soup, the "Soup Nazi" agrees saying, "How can I expect anything less from my customers?" As far as prescriptive norms are concerned, the "Soup Nazi" is wrong in his behavior toward his customers; he is rude and unpleasant and defies all rules about the interaction that should take place between customers and business owners.
As far as descriptive norms are concerned, he is not necessarily wrong. Because descriptive norms can be based on justifiable behavior, and due to the fact that the "Soup Nazi" felt as if he was a slave to his soup, he was not being mean to the customers, but he felt that his soul was in that soup and the people who ate it should behave worthy of it. Personal Opinion It hard to say what I would have done in that situation, but I do know that there are times when I cook, that I feel as if my soul is in that food and want the people who eat it to appreciate the effort that I have put into it and feel good about the fact that I have made it for them. But on the other hand, I am not a business owner and am not making food for a living. I think that the "Soup Nazi" took his love for soup a little too far and therefore was reflected negatively toward most other people. I would not have treated my customers in that manner because it's just not the right way to go about treating people and when it comes to your business; keeping the customers coming back is what keeps your business going.
And due to his rude behavior, Elaine published his soup recipes and ended his career as the "Soup Nazi." In America, this way of behaving is not culturally right, the man known as the "Soup Nazi" was not American, which is why they played on the title "Nazi." Because Seinfeld is a show based off the strange events that happen in everyday life, the irony and humor in this episode is relating to the fact that not only is this behavior from a business owner against social norms, but he is also not American. Conclusion Emile Durkheim states that "[Exchange theory] also regards a person's prior history of rewards and punishments as important for predicting his or her future actions." (Sand strom, Martin, Fine 2003; p. 22). It is obvious that the "Soup Nazi" knew that his soup was exceptional and that people would be willing to behave in the manner that he saw fit and still pay to eat the soup. This is an example of a negative reward for behavior in regards to the Exchange Theory.
Most people are overly nice or concerned with their behaviors out of fear of a negative reaction from others, but this gentleman felt the complete opposite knowing that people would still eat his soup even though he behaved badly. The "Soup Nazi" was a great idea for a show because it was humorous and entertaining due to the rarity of something like that actually occurring in our society.