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How tidy are Spanish people – and are Brits better or worse?
25 February 2020 @ 00:04

ARE Spanish people generally organised, or are the international stereotypes about their supposed flakiness and absent-mindedness true? They often cite the 'famous British punctuality and order', but many Brits would agree that's a bit of a myth, too – or is it just that Spaniards think Brits are organised in comparison to themselves?

Swedish furniture giant Ikea decided to find out.

Its Time and Order study, carried out with the help of Spanish market research company Sigma Dos (so nobody can accuse them of cultural bias) interviewed a stratified sample of 5,300 Spanish nationals living in Spain (as in, residents of non-Spanish extraction, and Spaniards living abroad, were not included).

'Stratified', for clarification, means the proportion of interviewees selected was designed to reflect a microcosm of real demographics in the society being studied – such as, X% of people over 65, X% of men versus women, and so on.

Areas covered included, do Spanish people lose things often, and do they tend to lose the same things again and again, such as odd socks, mobile phones and keys? What is the emotional effect of misplacing something? How long does the average Spaniard spend looking for something they've mislaid or, worse, lost irretrievably?


How long Spaniards spend looking for lost items in a lifetime

Taking Spain's current life expectancy of 82 years (about 81 for men and 83 for women at present, but set to rise to over 90 by the year 2030), Ikea worked out a typical Spaniard spends 4,683 hours, from birth until death, searching for misplaced items.

Assuming you wouldn't mislay anything until you're about five years old – after all, you wouldn't have much of an idea where it's supposed to go before then, but by your early school years, you could well discover you've left your PE kit in the cloakroom or lost one of your felt-tips after lending it to a classmate – this means a total of 77 years (before age 82) in which you're likely to lose things.

Also, by the mid-late 80s and early 90s, when old-age-related dementia may well be setting in, losing everyday items is far more common and would skew the figures.

In terms of days, those 4,683 hours, then, total 195 days and three hours, or a total of six-and-a-half months, assuming Spaniards start looking for a lost item on New Year's Day, keep searching around the clock without sleeping, and find it on June 14.

Read more at thinkSPAIN

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