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I stop at Wawa almost every morning on the way to work ($1.44 for 16 ounces of goodness made possible by a gift card someone gave my day, which was then bequeathed to me.)

The stop usually ads about 3 minutes to my commute. But over the past few weeks, those 3 minutes have turned into something more than a coffee stop: they have become my 3 minutes of social experimentation.

That probably sounds a little strange, but let me explain. There a plenty of reality shows that “dress down” beautiful people and place them in everyday situations, just to see how the people around them will treat them. Or you’ve probably seen something like this before: a beautiful waitress gets in a fake argument with customer, and other customers step in to defender her. But when the overweight waitress gets in the same dispute, no one rushed to her aid.

My version is a little more basic: I can usually anticipate how I will be treated by others based on how I’m dressed.

Today, I dressed up for work. Heels, nice clothes, etc. And sure enough, every door was held open for me and people said hello to me. Even as I was leaving, two random men waited (with doors held open) as I walked toward the exit, even though they were farther ahead than traditional door-opening courtesy would extend.

When I go to work in a t-shirt and jeans (usually with hair up and minimal make up on), rarely do I come across such caring strangers.

I’m not judging Wawa frequenters, I just find this terrible fascinating. It’s not a new phenomenon (humans have always been notoriously bad about looks discrimination), but it does make my morning commute a bit more interesting than it would be otherwise.

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