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Unformatted text preview: ort of commodity.They
neither want nor expect surprises.They want to know that if they journey to another locale, the setting they enter or the commodity they buy will be essentially
the same as the setting they entered or product they purchased earlier. Furthermore, people want to be sure that what they encounter is much like what they
encountered at earlier times. In order to ensure predictability over time and place
a rational society must emphasize such things as discipline, order, systemization,
formalization, routine, consistency, and methodical operation.
One of the attractions of TV dinners for modern families is that they are
highly predictable.The TV dinner composed of fried chicken, mashed potatoes,
green peas, and peach cobbler is exactly the same from one time to another and 373 374 PART V SOCIAL CHANGE one city to another. Home cooking from scratch is, conversely, a notoriously unpredictable enterprise with little assurance that dishes will taste the same time
after time. However, the cookbook cannot eliminate all unpredictability.There
are often simply too many ingredients and other variables involved. Thus the
cookbook dish is far less predictable than the TV dinner or a wide array of other
Fast-food restaurants rank very high on the dimension of predictability. In
order to help ensure consistency, the fast-food restaurant offers only a limited
menu. Predictable end products are made possible by the use of similar raw materials, technologies, and preparation and serving techniques. Not only the food is
predictable; the physical structures, the logo, the “ambience,” and even the personnel are as well.
The food that is shipped to our homes and our fast-food restaurants is itself
affected by the process of increasing predictability.Thus our favorite white bread
is indistinguishable from one place to another. In fact, food producers have made
great efforts to ensure such predictability.
On packaged tours travelers can be fairly sure that the people they travel with
will be much like themselves.The planes, buses, hotel accommodations, restaurants, and at least the way in which the sites are visited are very similar from one
location to another. Many people go on packaged tours because they are far more
predictable than travel undertaken on an individual basis.
Amusement parks used to be highly unpredictable affairs. People could never
be sure, from one park to another, precisely what sorts of rides, events, foods, visitors, and employees they would encounter. All of that has changed in the era of
the theme parks inspired by Disneyland. Such parks seek to ensure predictabilit...
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- Fall '13