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Open-Door Policy at the Fridge

May 13, 2001|MARY UMBERGER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

If it seems as if somebody in your house is always standing at an open refrigerator door, it's probably true.

The Electrolux Group, parent of Frigidaire, wanted to learn how much time we spend in our kitchens and in other parts of the house. So it arranged with a family in Sweden (where Electrolux is based) to "spy" on them for a month.

The company put video cameras and motion sensors throughout the house and observed which rooms the five family members visited and how frequently, how long they stayed and what they did in those rooms from 6 a.m. to midnight.

Considering that the study was done by an appliance company, it probably won't stun you to hear that the kitchen was the star of this family's show. Nonetheless, some of the numbers are surprising--and some might even be regarded as disheartening.

Overall, the family spent 175 hours in the kitchen, versus 31 hours in the living room. They put in about 16.5 hours specifically in front of the range, cooking. Laundry consumed an annoying 33-plus hours.

Here are the numbers that I found most remarkable: They spent 10.4 hours standing in front of their refrigerator. And they opened their refrigerator door an average of 55 times a day. That averaged three times an hour, in the context of this study.

The study maintains that this particular family used its personal computer about 10 hours in the month in question, which sounds low, considering the number is almost identical to the time spent glued to the space in front of the refrigerator.

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