Saturday, March 31, 2007

The things you can't live without: Poll results just in

At the back of the fridge this week we found some things that typically go from unappreciated to valued the instant they fail. We picked out salad dressing, paper towels and a bank check, all of whose perforations had not properly passed a QC inspection before leaving the factory.

The experience raised a similar question. There are things we may not actively think about - whose presence are seamlessly a part of our everyday life - yet whose absence would take away from our daily happiness.

The Onion goes one step further, and in asking the question "What five things could you not live without" finds a simple but effective way of getting to the heart of what matters to people, what makes them tick. The context here is the Personals section, so getting a quick but effective read on a person's priorities is key. The very varied way in which the question can be interpreted, literally and metaphorically, says volumes about the author, therein lies its value.

OFD commissioned some research reviewing the '5 things' postings among female participants (a follow up study will be among only men's postings and we'll compare the two) The sample was random but not nationally representative and gives an interesting picture of how people interpret the proposition and what the domains are of greatest perceived personal meaning in women's lives.

Six broad categories emerged, in descending order of frequency from this research:


...a claw-foot tub


...good friends

*Emotions and human characteristics


*Existence basics

...drinking water

*Experiences & sensations

...the feeling of skin on skin

*Places lie naked in the sun


In part two, we'll post the specific items in each category, itself a fascinating picture of artifacts and elements peole ascribe strong and highly personal value to.

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