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Does anybody know whether a majority of households in the UK include one adult who stays at home during some/all of the working day?

I'm just wondering how to account for the fact that commercial companies always seem to be extremely surprised when I tell them that I can't actually stay in all day, every day, on the offchance that they might turn up, as I have a full-time job.
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littleangel_103 From: littleangel_103 Date: October 24th, 2006 10:07 am (UTC) (Link)
I entirely agree with you. I've have major rows with companies when they act all surprised that I can't stay home and I've had to point out that the reason I can afford the thing they are delivering is because I work!
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: October 24th, 2006 10:10 am (UTC) (Link)
There are around 7.9m 'economically inactive' people in the UK. Roughly 150,000 of those are full-time stay-at-home-dads, nearly 2m are full-time stay-at-home mums; nearly 2m are students [who should not be 'at home' all day by definition, although many are]; a further 2.1m are disabled.

So yeah, around 13% of the population might be at home during some/all of the working day, but it's not necessarily a given even with those figures. I don't stay indoors every second of the day, it would be ridiculous, and even when I do have to stay in for delivery/appointment, it isn't always convenient or easy to arrange.
bellinghman From: bellinghman Date: October 24th, 2006 11:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Without wishing to disagree with your overall point, you don't have to be economically inactive to be at home - quite a few people do have work-at-home arrangements, or actually carry out their business from home.

I strongly suspect though that such companies reckon that if they're gracious enough to come to you, then you should be grateful enough to wait on their possible arrival.
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: October 24th, 2006 11:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I think ONS take the view that people who work from home (one way or another) don't count. The whole thing's a lot of intersecting grey areas anyway - I'm both disabled and stay-at-home-mum but I also work from home, oh noes, how will they ever categorise me? ;-) And yeah, I'm still not in my house 9-5 Mon-Fri, so fie! and A Pox On You! Obnoxious Delivery/Utility Repair Person.
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: October 24th, 2006 11:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, thank you. I'm sorry, I must have missed this comment with actual figures when I was making my reply :)

So we have 8m non-working, 12m over 60, plus people who work part-time/from home. I'd guess those don't represent a significant amount, but I'm not sure.

And logically, every delivery must go to a household with one of these people, so between 1/3 and 1/6 of households qualify.
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: October 24th, 2006 11:22 am (UTC) (Link)
students [who should not be 'at home' all day by definition, although many are]

Hey, it does depend :) I mean, for *some* of my time at university I relied on intellegence rather than diligence more than I should. But even fully committed, we happened to have 1-3 hours of lectures a day, plus a few hours of supervision a week. So however diligent I was on that course, I could be in all day by doing all the reading/revising/question sheets in my room, and asking someone else to take notes in lectures for once.

But then we also lived in student accomodation, where repairmen were organised by the college (I don't miss that!:)) and deliveries could go to the porter's lodge, or at any rate couldn't go to my room :)
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: October 24th, 2006 11:37 am (UTC) (Link)
*sigh*, I'm bad at this. http://www.statistics.gov.uk/STATBASE/xsdataset.asp?More=Y? That gives ~3.5m people working up to 20h a week?
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: October 24th, 2006 10:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I tried shouting at national statistics webpage, but didn't get any sensible results. I guess "No". I suppose there are also people who work part time or are otherwise flexible (eg. can work from home), who might be able to arrange it.

You could ask. "Excuse me, I know this is a personal question, but I'm curious. You sound surprised, is it unusual to have a full time job?"

Or maybe people who have someone in the house/or who can order to work are disproportionately more likely to order stuff?
bopeepsheep From: bopeepsheep Date: October 24th, 2006 10:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Economic inactivity's the phrase to use; the other figures I've used above are from a different source that cross-references ONS. :)
j4 From: j4 Date: October 24th, 2006 10:27 am (UTC) (Link)
otherwise flexible

Well, I'm lucky that my employers are flexible enough that I can (for example) take a "lunch break" at 3pm in order to cycle home, let removals people in to survey the house, and cycle back again. There are lots of jobs where I wouldn't be able to do that, and I am grateful for it.

Maybe companies etc. assume that if I'm ordering the thing/service in question then I've already agreed to take a week's holiday to sort it out?

You could ask.

I might, next time! Though I suspect I'll be met with the same kind of incomprehension as I get when I make any other sort of deviation from the expected script.
cartesiandaemon From: cartesiandaemon Date: October 24th, 2006 11:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Though I suspect I'll be met with the same kind of incomprehension as I get when I make any other sort of deviation from the expected script.

Almost certainly. But I'm always tempted, when I'm curious. And *some* of the people you're talking to will be insightful, observant, and bored, and love the opportunity.

OTOH, maybe it *is* in the script.

A. Good morning, stupid appliance quasi-emergency helpdesk, Joan speaking. How can I help you?
Q. My widget is [fucked]. Can you [do anything], please?
A. I'm sorry, I'm afraid you have to ring the somewhat emergency helpdesk for that.
Q. Oh, well, thank you anyway.
A. Is there anything else I can help you with?
Q. What's the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and everything?
A. 42.
Q. *stunned* Thank you.
A. No-one ever asks that. You'd think they'd be find it more important than widgets, but apparently not.
pjc50 From: pjc50 Date: October 24th, 2006 10:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. I think it might be a very large proportion. This web page for example says that 16% of households have nobody economically active in them at all. I get the impression that one full-time + one part-time is quite common, then there are large numbers of people with children etc. I'd estimate the number of households that are empty during the day at about 25%.
From: duncanneko Date: October 24th, 2006 10:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Personally I have everything that's signed-for and not astronomically unportable delivered to work anyway (who are fortunately very good about it), and that's despite having a housemate who's currently not working so could in theory sign for things (only he's rarely awake in the morning...).

I guess they assume people are either a) at home or b) getting it shipped to work. It's still annoying; I'm sure there's a large niche for a "6pm-10pm" delivery slot.
bellinghman From: bellinghman Date: October 24th, 2006 11:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Deliveries, yes, they can (and in our case, are) delivered to a workplace. But there are things that can't be done elsewhere, like household maintenance, measuring rooms, and the like. Those are real buggers.

I think the assumption becomes that if you want it, you are there when they come. Which is OK if they give a timeslot for when they'll be there, and they stick to it.

(Emphasis? Ah yes, the emphasis. Perhaps that's down to being at home for an entire day waiting for a no-show on more than one occasion.)
lethargic_man From: lethargic_man Date: October 24th, 2006 11:22 am (UTC) (Link)
It does seem odd, particularly given over a quarter of all UK households, and rising, are single-person.
oldbloke From: oldbloke Date: October 24th, 2006 11:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Very recently I read a rantan article about how customer service was much better in the days when we didn't pay for stuff until after it had arrived.
Those days are gone forever, to quote Steely Dan.
From: bibliogirl Date: October 24th, 2006 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah yes, the joys of "approximate" time slots or, worse, companies who don't give them at all -- who usually don't get my business even though I work from home. Occasionally I do get to leave the house...
ewx From: ewx Date: October 24th, 2006 12:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tescos and other supermarkets manage to deliver at worker-friendly times; I don't see why other companies should be incapable of it.
jvvw From: jvvw Date: October 24th, 2006 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Even more annoying when you take a day offer and they fail to turn up, they seem surprised that the option of just delivering it on another day isn't totally satisfactory to you.
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