New York -- home of smartphone shopping during funerals
A survey probing when people in different cities use their smartphones to shop reveals results that some might find deadening.
New York is lovable.
I have lived there, enjoyed affection there (briefly, of course), and witnessed kindnesses there beyond belief.
There is a side to New Yorkers, though, that is a touch self-centered and venal.
Perhaps there's some inner shame they fear, associated with failure or ridicule. But, at times, you fear that some New Yorkers' smiles are merely deflecting your eyes from their hands fiddling in your pockets.
From my own pocket, may I share a piece of research from which New Yorkers don't come out so well? In fact, in one mortifying area they come out dead last. Or, rather, dead first.
The research attempted to gauge when people in different cities use their smartphones to shop.
The interested party financing these inquiries was SOASTA, a company that, stunningly, exists to make Web sites and mobile apps function under the highest of demands.
It appears that the city with the greatest predilection for smartphone shopping is San Francisco, with 75 percent of respondent proudly avowing to buying on the go.
Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Dallas Forth-Worth are also au fait with the habit.
However, people in some cities manage to take the smartphone shopping experience to considerable depths. Some 31 percent in both LA and New York admitted to doing it during a meal.
Because you can't possibly eat without ordering the next size up of your favorite black business suit.
Los Angeles is the champion of smartphone shopping at the doctor's office, suggesting either a huge hypochondria or a terrible scheduling of appointments by doctor's office staff.
The numbers could, of course, have been skewed by a disproportionate number of film people in the sample, whose acquisitive impulses know no bounds (of taste or otherwise).
It is also quite believable that San Franciscans are the undisputed kings and queens of smartphone shopping during a business meeting. You can see them, can't you, staring into their laptops, eyes glazed by too much hipsterish disinterest and secret desperation for another check shirt?
But while you might be wondering why Chicagoans are the national leaders in buying things on their little phones while a co-worker is chatting about his or her kids, I want to focus on the one deadly statistic to emerge from this seminal piece of investigative work.
New Yorkers are the undisputed lords and ladies of smartphone shopping during funerals.
While the dear departed are being eulogized, the cheap and discounted are being discreetly scoured on Galaxys and iPhones.
While Auntie Leonora is being lowered into a shallow grave or incinerated to her next life as celestial ash, New Yorkers are staring down and buying shallow flower pots and ash-colored wallpaper. (Brooklynites, I suspect.)
It's true that the proportion of New Yorkers who admitted to this is small -- just 6 percent.
But it's three times that of any other American city. Indeed, not one person in San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, Boston or Washington, D.C. had ever, ever phone-shopped during a ceremony for the recently clog-popped.
Of course, some will say these results merely reflect the in-between-your-teeth honesty of your average New Yorker.
I am not so sure. I feel confident that if Malcolm Gladwell were to look at these numbers, he would immediately begin penning a book titled "The Corpsing Economy" or "The Coffin Point."
I appeal, therefore to New Yorkers. Please think very hard about such concepts as respect and materialism. Also, such concepts as decorum and gross, thoughtless insult.
I know that you are often too busy talking about being busy to have time to buy the latest Prada pumps or One Direction MP3.
But remember that karma can be quite a vindictive sort. It takes an especially dim view of disrespecting the dead.
Sometimes, the dead return to teach you a lesson, a stern lesson about the truly important elements of humanity.
At least that's what my Ouija-lady-cum-effigy-pinner tells me.