The Dim-Post

April 30, 2009

Chart of the Day

Filed under: general idiocy — danylmc @ 6:37 am

The Pew Research Centre asked 1003 Americans about which appliances they felt were a necessity:

appliancesI think the average New Zealander’s list would look pretty similar. Interesting that dryers have fallen so dramatically; when I was in Los Angeles I was astonished to find that my workmates threw all their laundry in a dryer even though they were living in a desert! Apparently washing lines were associated with poverty and contributed to lower house prices so people didn’t use them, but now almost everyone in the US is poor and their houses are worthless I guess it’s okay.

And I’m still amazed that so many people use microwaves. What are you all cooking in those things?


  1. ‘And I’m still amazed that so many people use microwaves. What are you all cooking in those things?’

    We are mostly just using our microwave to heat up babies bottles.

    Isn’t everything pretty much a ‘luxury’? Other than say food and shelter? Who was it that only owned a cup and when he saw a man using his hands to drink water decided that he didn’t even need the cup?

    Comment by ieuan — April 30, 2009 @ 8:43 am

  2. “What are you all cooking in those things?”

    I think you will find it’s “y’all”

    Comment by Exclamation Mark — April 30, 2009 @ 8:48 am

  3. It’s not so much cooking as reheating. Frozen or other processed foods would be the staples with occasional cooking of popcorn. Still, the clothes dryer addiction is disturbing.

    Comment by Will de Cleene — April 30, 2009 @ 9:14 am

  4. Isn’t everything pretty much a ‘luxury’? Other than say food and shelter?

    If you live somewhere with no public transport then getting food or to and from work needs a car, so I think it could fairly be counted as a necessity.

    Comment by danylmc — April 30, 2009 @ 9:14 am

  5. Yes, the design/planning, or more likely the absence of these, of the typical US (and NZ for that matter) urban form makes the car a necessity for most people (except the more wealthy inner-city dwellers, who still insist on the necessity of a couple of SUV’s).

    I think Kiwis would have different relationships to landlines vs mobiles though. Air conditioning also (I would hope).

    Comment by Sam — April 30, 2009 @ 10:01 am

  6. “And I’m still amazed that so many people use microwaves. What are you all cooking in those things?”

    sweet corn
    reheating soup from the freezer

    It’s not that you need a microwave for any of those things, but the microwave uses far less energy to do them than the stove does.

    Comment by kahikatea — April 30, 2009 @ 10:13 am

  7. Sam@5: so where do the carfree households fit into your picture? I lived for about 5 years in Christchurch in houses without cars, and now live in Melbun ditto. I realise the West Island isn’t yet part of NZ, but I find it hard to believe that every single student household in Christchurch has become a wealthy two-SUV household in the last few years. The Cullen revolution must have really taken off if so.

    IME carfree households fit into two related types: student households where cars cost more money than students have to spend; and grown-up students who possibly fit your “wealthy wanker” stereotype but obviously without the SUVs. For me it was deciding that after 10 years waiting until I had enough spare money to buy a car that I was never actually going to see the point, so I decided to change my expectations. It’s pretty telling that my personal cost-benefit analysis would go “spend $1000 on the toy of the week or a car… I’ll buy the toy” every time.

    Microwaves… we use ours for reheating much more than anything else. Occasionally for making cheese-on-bread type snacks, but generally for reheating. It took us a fair bit of work to find one that doesn’t use power when it’s not in use, but we eventually got it. We try to avoid “phantom loads” as far as possible, and it’s so much better to have no load by design than have to turn stuff off at the wall every time (coz people forget to do it).

    Comment by Moz — April 30, 2009 @ 10:46 am

  8. Washing machines!

    Or do people not regard them as appliances? I would hate to have to wash all my clothes and linen, and my family’s clothes and linen by hand, as my grandmother did, in a huge copper kettle.

    Comment by Deborah — April 30, 2009 @ 11:22 am

  9. Reheating, mostly. Cook enough curry one night to last three meals, the free Easy Mac my flatmate got from Armageddon…

    Comment by Graeme — April 30, 2009 @ 12:00 pm

  10. I’m more interested in the patterns within, like what proportion of people rated how many of these. I rate four as necessities: car, landline, home computer, fast internets. That probably tells you a lot about me 🙂


    Comment by Lew — April 30, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  11. Washing machines!

    Fridges and ovens aren’t in there either. I guess they’re classed as must-haves.

    Comment by danylmc — April 30, 2009 @ 1:08 pm

  12. “Apparently washing lines were associated with poverty and contributed to lower house prices so people didn’t use them.”

    It’s sad the things people do to keep up appearances.

    As you said, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the figures in New Zealand are very similar. Sigh.

    Comment by Mark — April 30, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

  13. I think that for most New Zealanders the sight of fresh washing flutering brightly and cleanly in the breeze is still taken as a pleasing indication of domestic virtue rather than a harbinger of poverty. Certainly, one of the biggest complaints of friends of mine who live in apartments is the lack of outdoor drying facilities. I love the smell of sun & wind dried clothes, whites sem whiter off the line and a stiff breeze also makes fabric softener redundant.

    A microwave is excellent for making porridge, reheating and suchlike.

    When it comes to aircon, New Zealand isn’t quite hot enough and not quite cold enough for us to really feel the need to invest en masse in expensive warming/cooling solutions for our houses. Anyway, we love our cold houses, nothing like throwing open all the windows to let a cool breeze through to air out the place after a cracking frost has given away to bracing, cloudless winters day!!

    Then you just use the gas heater in the lounge at night.

    Comment by Tom Semmens — April 30, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

  14. I used to live in an apartment building which banned residents from putting their laundry on the balconies – not just over the balconies, but even on racks on the balconies. Fortunately my apartment got a lot of sun so I could dry things on a rack inside, but otherwise I would have been forced to use a dryer on sunny days, under pain of eviction. And most of our (ugly, ugly) building’s balconies weren’t even visible from the street. There should be by-laws against those rules.

    Comment by Helen — May 1, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

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