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These are the things I can do without - The Ex-Communicator

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January 3rd, 2009


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10:42 am - These are the things I can do without
From Pandagon a Poll (of Americans) about what consumer items people feel are luxuries or necessities.

What's 'necessary'? Some people couldn't get to work without a car. I need a home computer to do my work and my writing. I wouldn't die without it but I couldn't work. I couldn't work in my office in summer without a/c (I used to have to try) because the building is so poorly designed - however work a/c isn't on the list. There are some items I would really miss. I'd miss my washing machine - though I can and do use a laundry service when it breaks. I'd hardly call my TV or audio books a necessity, but I'd really miss them.

So, I thought this would be a good poll. I've distinguished 'necessity' from 'would really miss'.

Poll #1324573 Necessary luxuries

Which are necessary to your life?

Car
0(0.0%)
Washing Machine
4(16.0%)
Dryer
0(0.0%)
Home a/c
1(4.0%)
Microwave
0(0.0%)
TV
0(0.0%)
Car a/c
0(0.0%)
Home computer
4(16.0%)
Mobile phone
0(0.0%)
Dishwasher
0(0.0%)
Cable/Satellite TV
0(0.0%)
High Speed Internet
0(0.0%)
Flat screen TV
0(0.0%)
i-Pod (or equiv.)
0(0.0%)

Which would you really miss?

Car
0(0.0%)
Washing Machine
0(0.0%)
Dryer
0(0.0%)
Home a/c
0(0.0%)
Microwave
0(0.0%)
TV
1(3.0%)
Car a/c
0(0.0%)
Home computer
0(0.0%)
Mobile phone
0(0.0%)
Dishwasher
0(0.0%)
Cable/Satellite TV
0(0.0%)
High speed internet
3(9.1%)
Flat screen TV
0(0.0%)
i-Pod (or equiv)
0(0.0%)

Which have you got but could do without?

Car
0(0.0%)
Washing Machine
0(0.0%)
Dryer
0(0.0%)
Home a/c
0(0.0%)
Microwave
0(0.0%)
TV
1(3.2%)
Car a/c
0(0.0%)
Home computer
0(0.0%)
Mobile phone
0(0.0%)
Dishwasher
0(0.0%)
Cable/Satellite TV
1(3.2%)
High speed internet
0(0.0%)
Flat screen TV
1(3.2%)
i-Pod (or equiv)
1(3.2%)

Which don't you have?

Car
0(0.0%)
Washing Machine
0(0.0%)
Dryer
0(0.0%)
Home a/c
0(0.0%)
Microwave
0(0.0%)
TV
0(0.0%)
Car a/c
0(0.0%)
Home computer
0(0.0%)
Mobile phone
0(0.0%)
Dishwasher
0(0.0%)
Cable/Satellite TV
0(0.0%)
High speed internet
0(0.0%)
Flat screen TV
1(2.9%)
i-Pod (or equiv)
0(0.0%)

(40 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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[User Picture]
From:andrewducker
Date:January 3rd, 2009 11:21 am (UTC)
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I'm assuming that the second question is "What would you miss, but is not essential" - so that I shouldn't be ticking things in both the first and second questions.

My MP3 player is essential because I cannot get work done at work without it drowning out my fellow employees.

Oh, and Microwave was a close call...
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 11:26 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yes, I was thinking each item would be ticked once in one of the four categories. I only noticed after I had posted that this wasn't clear.

The other way I could have done it would be a Q for each item, with the four categories as radio buttons. Might have been easier to read the results.
From:cdybedahl
Date:January 3rd, 2009 11:29 am (UTC)
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Note that answers are for me personally. As a family, we need a car or jennyaxe wouldn't be able to work.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 11:32 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yes, good point; I think that's the implication of the original poll.
[User Picture]
From:coalescent
Date:January 3rd, 2009 11:31 am (UTC)
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I could do my job if I lost one of my home computer or my car, but not both.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 11:35 am (UTC)
(Link)
It's interesting that I can understand a poll better after the first few results come in. I should have had a 'none of these' because several people like you have no necessities.

I need a home computer for the writing I do which isn't part of my main job.
[User Picture]
From:davidcook
Date:January 3rd, 2009 11:39 am (UTC)
(Link)
I seem to be one of only a few rating home a/c and car a/c as essential - but I'm back in Australia now, and they're as essential here as I would say home heating is in the UK.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 11:45 am (UTC)
(Link)
Yes. I thought too that it might be interesting to have a poll of how essential a car is by geographical region - much more so in the US and Australia (perhaps Canada too) than in Europe?
[User Picture]
From:katlinel
Date:January 3rd, 2009 11:54 am (UTC)
(Link)
I'm also answering for me, and S may have different answers. I think there's also differences between locations such as city/country. We have a launderette that's 5-10 mins bus ride away, so we could manage without a washing machine (although I loathe lugging clothes to the launderette - did it as a student and in my first job), but that would be very different for people without access to a launderette. We don't have a dryer, but we also don't have small children, and we have enough space that hanging up laundry to dry isn't that much of a problem.

The microwave we barely use anyway so I wouldn't miss that at all.

You didn't have refrigerator on the list but I think I regard that as an essential, even though it's relatively new - more recent than some forms of domestic washing machine?

I could still do my job without a computer at home but I would sorely miss having a computer at home for non work stuff (obviously), and the Internet too.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 12:00 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I just copied the list from the other poll, and that didn't have fridge or central heating on it - perhaps they are ubiquitous in the US? We didn't have a fridge until I was a teenager, but I'd find it hard to do without one now.
[User Picture]
From:buymeaclue
Date:January 3rd, 2009 12:11 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I answered this as "necessary to living an acceptable-to-me life" rather than "necessary to continue my current life more or less as is," but reading the comments, I think I should perhaps have answered the other way, instead.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC)
(Link)
It's a fine line isn't it? I haven't read the full research description so heaven knows how it was delivered. There's a huge gap between 'necessity' and 'luxury'.
[User Picture]
From:hafren
Date:January 3rd, 2009 12:28 pm (UTC)

"An intelligent man adapts"

(Link)
I would really miss the internet and the PC with its printer, but given reams of paper, a typewriter and a supply of biros I could work without them both (and would probably get far more done). I would also very much miss the washing machine, but last time it was knackered I did manage with handwashing, though it was no fun. I have managed 58 years without a car; it's just a matter of finding a house on a bus route in a town with a railway station.

The nearest to an essential in that for me is the PC/printer, with internet because so many in my biz use email now. I nearly did put it down as essential, but there must be ways around it and if energy supplies take a turn for the worse, we might all have to find out what they are.

[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC)

Re: "An intelligent man adapts"

(Link)
Perhaps if energy gets very expensive it will be easier to send work by email than by postman - and to work at home than commute. Hand washing is ghastly though isn't it? I couldn't be doing with that, and yet we may have to.
[User Picture]
From:matildabj
Date:January 3rd, 2009 12:29 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I "have" a flat screen TV, but it's computer monitor size and doesn't belong to me. I think of flat screen TVs as those mega things that take up half the living room.

Interesting that everyone has a washing machine, mobile phone, home PC and high speed internet. I could do without my mobile as I don't actually use it very much, but there are the odd occasions when it comes into its own, so I wouldn't want to be without it. And I've only recently acquired an MP3 player and I really, really like it for travelling - especially when you're on a very long plane journey or six.

Good poll!
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I find my i-Pod almost the most useful thing I own. I use it every day. I am hoping it gets me through the plane ride to Jamaica. I expect you found it useful when you were stuck in Bangkok.
[User Picture]
From:happytune
Date:January 3rd, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I guess there's quite a difference in response for people with and without children?
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
(Link)
At first glance it doesn't look as if there is much of a correlation - though washing machines become utterly essential when you've got tiny tots around, but most of my f-list have none or older kids.
From:jthijsen
Date:January 3rd, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I don't own a dishwasher yet, but will get one soon in the form of a Candy Trio, which is a gas cooker with a small oven and ditto dishwasher. My mobile phone replaces my home phone, which I no longer have.

I find my computer and internet connection essential to look up all kinds of things, mostly about my cats whenever there's something I worry about. I could probably do that on dialup, but that's no longer available here.
[User Picture]
From:watervole
Date:January 3rd, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Beware, combined items are far more likely to break down, and can be expensive if you've only lost one function but have to replace the entire gadget.
[User Picture]
From:watervole
Date:January 3rd, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Right now, my computer work is my only source of income, so that's essential. Everything else is optional. I've lived without pretty well everything on the list at some point in my life (used to do hand laundry as a student), so they can't be essential.

I think many people have a skewed perception of what 'essential' means, though replies to your poll so far suggest that your flist have a better perception than many.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I did give people more options than the original poll. I think if I was only allowed to say 'necessity' or 'luxury' I might say that a washing machine is a necessity.
[User Picture]
From:dremiel
Date:January 3rd, 2009 02:32 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Here in Central Texas it is tough to get around without a car and yet many make do without so it's hardly a necessity. Home a/c, however, is a deal-breaker for me. I know that generations lived here without it... but I wouldn't. Everything else is a convenience or a luxury. I will admit to being pretty darn fond of the conveniences!
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I don't know how people in places like rural Texas live without a car. I also wonder what will happen to far-flung places when cars get too expensive to run.
[User Picture]
From:iainjclark
Date:January 3rd, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)
(Link)
For "High Speed Internet" I've assumed "Internet". Or is that just a baseline minimum these days. :-)
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
(Link)
I thought it meant 'not dial-up'. Basically I don't understand technical terms and just guess.
[User Picture]
From:pinkdormouse
Date:January 3rd, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
(Link)
If you'd asked me before Christmas, my answers would have been very different: I've moved close enough to town and the station that a car is far less essential, I've got rid of cable TV in favour of freeview, and I've acquired a microwave with the house, although I haven't so much as plugged it in yet.

Some of the others on the list I had in Suffolk, but Himself is taking, and after nearly two years without them, I'm not planning on buying my own any time soon.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 3rd, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Yes. Going without stuff is really good experience because then you find out what's important.
[User Picture]
From:sallymn
Date:January 4th, 2009 01:01 am (UTC)
(Link)
Actually, if really really pushed... we could too do without just about all of it. Though there's one not on your list - refigerator - that would trump the lot of really really pushed. Which is probably why it's not there, it's a given necessity.

(And I have at least one relative who would look blankly at the list and whimper "where's the jacuzzi???")
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:January 4th, 2009 12:23 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Darling! Nobody could be expected to live without a jacuzzi. Where would you put the guests?

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