We ‘squander’ two years of our lives just waiting

March 23, 2018

Life is what happens while you are waiting: If you count all the seconds and minutes you spend waiting for elevators, trains, water to boil, a conference call to begin, a maitre d’ to acknowledge your presence, a doctor to see you, or a security guard to check your luggage, you would notice that your life is passing by in small increments.

In fact, according to a recent poll of 2,000 British adults conducted by Malta-based online casino operator Casumo and released on March 22, the average person spends the equivalent of 42 minutes a day—or two years in total—just “killing time.”

Specifically, Casumo found, standing in line at the supermarket and sitting in traffic leave us doing nothing for almost five hours a week—the equivalent of nearly 11 days annually.

In a typical week, we will waste 12 minutes waiting for a kettle to boil, and eight minutes standing by the microwave as our food cooks. We also will spend eight minutes watching the buffering symbol on a streaming service for shows to load up.

Respondents said they thought they could use their time more effectively— if they could be bothered.

Greg Tatton-Brown, a manager at Casumo.com, commented, “We all like to think we are living the most productive and proactive lives we can, but downtime is often an inevitability even in the busiest of schedules.

“When you have time to yourself, it’s worth trying to change how you feel about this perceived downtime and turn those fleeting moments into an opportunity, whether you use it for self-reflection, catching up on social media, or just to seek entertainment and play your favorite mobile game.”

The study also found that, when Brits have a chunk of time to kill, 45% daydream, while 33% tap out a tweet or a social media update.

Forty eight per cent blame their short attention spans for their abundance of downtime, which stops them from getting on with something more constructive.

What would they do if they could get all of the time they spend waiting back? Fully 25% of Brits would like to use the time to learn a new language. Another 27% would channel their efforts into picking up a new instrument, and 13% would make a start on the novel that they have always wanted to write.

What’s more, 15% say they could have chiselled away at their dream body at the gym in all of the time they have wasted, and 6% think they could have mastered a martial art.

But time spent watching minutes pass on the clock is rarely wasted:

  • 42% of respondents believe that having downtime has allowed them to” think deeply” on an issue that is affecting their lives in order find a solution.
  • 22% percent have thought of “the perfect words to express how they feel” while clock-watching, and
  • 17% have stumbled across a life-changing idea after letting their mind drift unguided for a few minutes.

Despite the perception that time killed is time wasted, 45% of Brits said they enjoy the knowing that they always will have a few moments of time to burn coming up in their hectic lives.

Finally, despite regularly finding themselves killing time waiting for other people to arrive, 68% of respondents describe themselves as “most likely to be early for appointments and social events so as not to keep others waiting around.”And only 6% confess to being the kind of person who is regularly late.

Research contact: @GregTattonBrown

61% of Americans regularly feel ‘wardrobe panic’

March 22, 2018

Do you ever feel like you have nothing to wear, although your closet is full of clothing? You are not alone. In fact, the average American spends eight hours a month in his or her closet trying to find a suitable outfit, based on findings of a poll of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Trunk Club, a personal styling service.

The new data, released on March 7, reveal that most people experience “wardrobe panic” 36 times a year—and more than 2,800 times in a lifetime. Indeed, 61% of Americans admitted that they regularly think they have nothing suitable in their closets to wear.

And they don’t mean nothing “new.” In fact,6% of respondents own nine or more items in their closets that still have the tags on them! And 13% of U.S. men and women  concede that they have nine or more items in their closets now that they only have worn once.

Coabi Kastan, head of Styling for Trunk Club said there is a solution to the apparel anxiety attack: “As you approach building your wardrobe, start with the essentials. When you build the fundamentals of your wardrobe first, you’re able to lessen the ‘wardrobe panic’ that’s so common.”

For men, Kastan said, these essentials include:

  • Dark jeans
  • Crisp white shirt
  • Brown shoes and a brown belt
  • V-neck sweater
  • Navy blazer

For women, start with:

  • Dark denim
  • Leather jacket
  • Sleek flats
  • Cashmere sweater
  • Silk blouse
  • Striped shirt
  • Black dress
  • Tailored blazer
  • Structured leather bag
  • Beige pumps

“These building blocks allow you to create great and versatile outfits for any occasion and will help you feel more organized while getting dressed each morning,” Kastan added.

Finally the inability to properly clear our closets might simply be because we’re sentimental. Seventy-four percent of Americans admitted they have pieces of clothing in their closets they don’t ever plan on wearing or think they’ll wear anytime soon, but they really don’t want to part with them.

Research contact: kyled@trunkclub.com

Cleaning can make your child a kinder person

March 21, 2018

Clean home, warm heart: A person’s level of empathy is positively associated with living in a clean household—especially if he or she is responsible for some aspect of the scrubbing, scouring, or tidying up. Those are the findings of a poll of more than 2,000 adults nationwide conducted in February by Clorox

Not only does a clean environment enhance a person’s level of compassion, but it also is linked to “ a drastic increase in connections and willingness to help others in the communit[y],” Clorox researchers report.

What’s more, parents say that their kids are more productive and better-behaved in clean spaces. Indeed, fully 59% of parents report that their children study better in a clean room; and 49% believe that their offspring are more pleasant to live with, if their rooms are clean.

Specifically, the Oakland, California-based bleach manufacturer claims that kids who are given cleaning chores at home learn critical life skills. Indeed, the recent poll found that, when a person has performed cleaning chores growing up, the likelihood that he or she will exhibit higher empathy as an adult increases by 64% —and the chances are 60% greater that he or she will help others in the community.

“There’s nothing more important to me as a dad than making sure my kids grow up to be kind and resilient adults and I think that’s something that connects all parents,” said Sterling K. Brown, who plays Randall Pearson on the NBC-TV show This Is Us, and is, himself, the father of two children.

Of the Clorox campaign, Brown says, “It’s amazing that something as simple as cleaning can be such an essential tool in teaching my kids life lessons, like the importance of caring for others and being connected to the community around them.”

Beyond connecting us to the people and communities around us, the research findings show that simply being in a clean space impacts us in other key ways. In a clean space, the majority of people say they are:

  • More relaxed (80%),
  • Less stressed (60%), and
  • More productive (72%).

What’s more, Clorox claims, the more people clean, the happier they are. The likelihood someone is happier than average increases by 53% for every additional hour that they clean in a week.

“At Clorox we believe that cleaning matters. Through this campaign, we hope to show people that clean isn’t the opposite of dirty—it is the start of new possibilities,” said Clorox Director of Marketing Shaunte  Mears Watkins. “Cleaning is a way to show our family, friends and loved ones that we care by creating an environment where they can succeed.”

Research contact: rita.gorenberg@clorox.com

Citing your favorite snack in a dating profile could position you ‘at the top of the food chain’

March 20, 2018

Eat, drink and be merry: Mentioning food in an online dating profile may result in a substantial increase in responses, based on findings of a recent survey.

A poll of 7,000 singles conducted late in 2017 by the San Francisco-based dating site, Zoosk, found that those who are looking for love online can score 144% more dates simply by adding the word, guacamole, to their profiles.

Overall, Zoosk’s researchers said, any mention of food in an online dating profile is going to result in an increase in inbound messages. But some really add to your appeal—among them:

  • Guacamole: 144% increase in messages
  • Potatoes: 101%
  • Chocolate: 100%
  • Salad: 97%
  • Sushi: 93%
  • Avocado: 91%
  • Pasta: 75%
  • Cheese: 75%
  • Cake: 72%
  • Burgers 68%

There are a few exceptions, however. Interestingly enough, although fried chicken is considered delicious by almost everyone, a mention of this food in a dating profile results in 15% fewer responses.And the very worst thing to mention is yams, which can cut your responses by 70%.

Conversely, while it may seem counter-intuitive, mentioning foods in follow-up messages may have a detrimental effect on a promising hookup. Indeed, based on the results of the survey, food probably shouldn’t be the first thing you talk about with someone. For the most part, mentioning food in an initial message doesn’t result in many more replies. But there are some exceptions, the most surprising of which is eggplant, which attracts 10% more responses than the average.

Finally, according to data from 12,000 profiles released last year from dating site eHarmony.com, a number of words make a potential love interest more likely to respond to you.

Here are the five most attractive words to put on your profile for both men and women.

The top five words for men, include the following:

  1. Physically fit (+96% more interaction)
  2. Perceptive (+51%)
  3. Spontaneous (+45%)
  4. Outgoing (+44%)
  5. Optimistic (+39%)

For women, those words would be as follows:

  1. Ambitious (+48%)
  2. Perceptive (+46%)
  3. Sweet (+33%)
  4. Hard working (+32%)
  5. Thoughtful (+28%)

This research all comes at a time when fully 15% of American adults say they have used at least one online dating site and/or a mobile dating app to look for Mr. or Ms. Right, according to data from last year released by the Pew Research Center.

Research contact: datemix@zoosk.com

Americans splurge $5,400 each year on impulse purchases

March 19, 2018

Do you get the urge to splurge? On average, Americans spontaneously buy three things a week, based on a recent survey of 2,000 adults nationwide by Slickdeals, a consumer-driven deal-sharing platform.

And that adds up fast: Respondents said they spend an average of $450 every month on impulse purchases. That’s $5,400 annually—or $324,000 over the course of a lifetime, which is more than many people contribute to their retirement accounts.

Indeed, based on the research, performed last month, fully one in five (20%) of the products or services Americans buy are not planned; they are acquired on the spur of the moment.

Top impulse buys include food and groceries, clothing, household items, takeout meals and shoes. And the majority of impulse spending happens in the store or restaurant: Three in four Americans buy the candy at the register before they check out. Nearly one-third of us (32%) get a yen for food after passing a restaurant. Twenty-five percent of us cannot leave that cute pair of shoes when they see them in the store.

Interestingly enough, we tend to buy on impulse when they’re happy and excited as opposed to sad or stressed. What’s more, the majority of impulse buys (54%) tend to be for ourselves.

One factor that encourages impulse buying? Slightly under half of us (40%) have gone out and purchased something because of a coupon in the mail and 33% have acquired a product after receiving a coupon in their email inbox.

Research contact: @slickdeals

No time like the present?

March 16, 2018

Although being “fully present” and “living in the moment” are gaining popularity among lifestyle gurus, it turns out that many Americans would rather keep moving—toward either the past or future. Nearly three in ten Americans (29%) wish they could travel in time, based on findings of a Marist Poll released on March 14.

And if they cannot possess that particular super power, the 1,033 U.S. adult poll respondents said they would like to:

  • Read people’s minds (20%);
  • Fly (17%);
  • Teleport to other physical spaces (15%), or
  • Become invisible whenever they choose (12%).

Just 5% said they were just fine without a special skill or ability—and 3% said they were unsure.

Looking at the demographics, time travel is the super power of choice for pluralities of white (30%) and Latino (26%) Americans. Similarly, 23% of Latinos would like the ability to teleport.

Among African Americans, the ability to read people’s minds (30%) tops the list, followed by time travel (26%).

Men (36%) also are more likely than women (22%) to select time travel. Among women, nearly one in four (23%) selected mind reading as their power of choice.

Also worth noting: Reading minds is the most mentioned super power among Americans 60 and older (26%). The ability to time travel is number one among those  in the 30 to 44 age group (36%), as well as among those who are 45 to 59 years of age (31%).

Finally, fully 30% of Millennials would like to be able to be able to teleport.

Research contact: @LeeMiringoff

Love patrol: Most Americans would hold out for a soulmate rather than settle

March 15, 2018

There is no formula for a perfect love, but most Americans are willing to devote a great deal of time and energy into finding just the right chemistry. In fact, 60% of U.S. adults say it’s better to hold out for a soulmate than to settle, based on findings of a poll by YouGov released on March 13.

In fact, just 11% of the 6,038 Americans nationwide who responded to the poll would consider marrying someone who is not their ideal romantic mate, but who is “more or less okay.”

A majority of women (65%) and men (56%) believe that it’s better to hold out. However, men (15%) are twice as likely as women (7%) to say they would recommend settling. And a nearly equal number of men and women simply are unsure about what to do.

Americans over the age of 55 are the strongest advocates of waiting for one’s soulmate (72%), followed by those between the ages of 45 and 54 (63%).

Fewer than half of Millennials (46%) think it’s better to hold out for a soulmate—perhaps because of their ticking time clocks for pregnancy and family life—and those in the same age group are the most likely to report that they are not sure (38%).

Is the idea of a soul mate even realistic? When it comes to soulmates, another YouGov Omnibus poll has found that 69% of Americans “definitely” or “somewhat” believe in the concept. Nearly one-quarter (24%) report that they don’t deem the idea to be valid at all.

Specifically, a majority of women (71%)  believe in soulmates, while men are slightly less likely (65%) to say the same. Older Millennials are the least likely of all age groups (64%) to believe in soulmates, while Americans over the age of 55 (72%) are the most likely (72%).

Research contact: ray.martin@yougov.com

Among social media users, Facebook rules

March 14, 2018

Facebook remains America’s most popular social media platform, with roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults (68%) self-identifying as users and about 75% of them catching up with their “friends” at least once a day, based on findings of a poll by The Pew Research Center released on March 1.

With the exception of those 65 and older, most Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook, the poll of 2,002 Americans over the age of 18 concluded.

Only YouTube gets more traffic, with 73% of respondents noting that they visit the site regularly. The video-sharing site—which contains many social elements, even if it is not a traditional social media platform—is now used by nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults and 94% of 18- to 24-year-olds.

In line with that trend, some 78% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat—whether or not Kylie Jenner loves it anymore—and a sizeable majority of these users (71%) visit the platform multiple times per day. Similarly, 71% of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45%) are Twitter users.

Of course, that’s not counting President Donald Trump, whom Fox News says has given Twitter “a big boost.” He even fires his high-level employees via the platform—which he used on March 13 to oust Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and install CIA Director Mike Pompeo in his place.

Several other platforms are popular among special interest groups, including:

  • Pinterest, which remains substantially more popular among women (41% of whom say they use the site) than men (16%).
  • LinkedIn, which continues to be especially popular among college graduates and those in high-income households. Some 50% of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, compared with just 9% of those with a high school diploma or less.
  • WhatsApp, a messaging service that is particularly popular in Latin America, and this following extends to Latinos in the United States—with 49% of Hispanics reporting that they are WhatsApp users, compared with 14% of whites and 21% of blacks.

Finally, the share of social media users who say these platforms would be hard to give up has increased by 12 percentage points compared with a survey conducted in early 2014. But by the same token, a majority of users (59%) say it would not be hard to stop using these sites—including 29% who say it would not be hard at all to give up social media.

Research contact: tcaiazza@pewresearch.org

America’s meanest streets

March 13, 2018

Monroe, Louisiana, is the most dangerous city in the United States, according to a report released by the website, NeighborhoodScout, on March 6.

Filling out the rest of the top ten (from most dicey to least) for this year are Bessemer, Alabama; East St. Louis, Illinois; Camden, New Jersey, Detroit, Michigan, St. Louis, Missouri; Wilmington, Delaware, Alexandria, Louisiana; Memphis, Tennessee; and West Memphis, Arkansas.

The list of the top 100 most dangerous American cities compares the safety of municipalities with populations of 25,000 or more, based on the number of violent crimes (murder, rape, armed robbery and aggravated assault) reported to the FBI to have occurred in each city, and the population of each city, divided by 1,000. This calculation provides a rate for violent crime per 1,000 residents—offering an accurate, normalized comparison of cities of different sizes.

Monroe is representative of a number of communities on the list: It is a medium-size city (population: 49,297) located about 100 miles away from two larger cities—Shreveport (population 194,920) to the west; and Jackson (population 169,148) to the east.

Compared to the rest of the nation, Monroe is lower-middle-income and has a high number of people living in poverty. The lack of a large business and economic center within decent commuting distance means that residents have difficulty finding well-paying jobs.

These factors contribute to the city’s above-average housing vacancy rate and low public school quality indices—which, in-turn, reduce economic activity and can make it challenging for a community to attract jobs that require high skills and pay good salaries. A similar scenario plays out in Chester, PennsylvaniaHomestead, Florida, and other medium-size communities nationwide.

“We continue to see a number of smaller, industrial-satellite communities struggle with crime,” said Dr.Andrew Schiller, CEO and Founder of Location, the parent company of  NeighborhoodScout. “Limited economic opportunity plays a role in such communities and highlights the divide between the safe bedroom communities within large metro areas near major urban centers like Boston, Chicago and New York, and the high-crime industrial-satellite communities.”

Research contact: 191356@email4pr.com

Americans don’t want weaponized classrooms

March 12, 2018

A majority of Americans (56%) don’t want guns in the classroom, according to findings of an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll of 2,857 adults nationwide released on March 8.

In the aftermath of a mass shooting that killed 17 victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month, President Donald Trump proposed that arming some of America’s teachers with concealed weapons and training them to “immediately fire back” at a “sicko” gunman would end school shootings once and for all.

However, students, school administrators, teachers, parents—and even gun violence experts—do not agree, for the most part. Across the board, 44% strongly disagree with the POTUS’s idea; 12% disagree, 17% somewhat agree, and 25% agree. Among Republicans, 50% agree; and among Democrats 75% disagree. Nearly half of self-identified Independent voters (46%) also disagree.

It also is little surprise that Republicans are more enthusiastic about how Trump has handled gun control than with how Congress has handled the issue, with 78% of Republican respondents indicating that they are enthusiastic or satisfied with how Trump has approached gun control so far. Only 43% of Republicans feel the same about Congress.

Majorities of Independents — 72 percent — say they are dissatisfied or angry about the way Trump has handled gun control, and 84 percent feel that way about Congress. A whopping 90% of Democrats are dissatisfied or downright angry at both Congress and Trump when it comes to gun control. Despite increased public pressure since the Parkland shooting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) has given no indication of when — or if — he would bring up any form of gun-related legislation.

A narrow bipartisan proposal that would attempt to shore up the National Instant Background Check System has at least 50 co-sponsors, but it has not been brought to the floor — and GOP lawmakers have been unable to reach a consensus on what they support.

Still, a majority of Americans ( 61%) believe that  government and society can take action that will be effective in preventing mass shootings like the one in Parkland, Florida. Thirty-six percent think school shootings like Parkland will happen again regardless of what action is taken by government and society.

Research contact: Andrew.Arenge@nbcuni.com