Disappearing Dinning Room Table

                                       Disappearing Dinning Room Table

    The headline on a recent story from Britain caught my eye: " Dining Room Table Losing Central Status in Families." It turned out to be great headline for a very disturbing story. The report quoted a survey from the market research firm, Mintel, which found that sales of dining room furniture have dropped eight percent over the last five years. At the same time, sales of other types of furniture have been doing extremely well....home office furniture up 40-percent...bedroom furniture up 37-percent etc.

So what's the problem with dining room furniture?

Apparently, an increasing number of families just don't have a need for it anymore.

It used to be that families in Britain and across the world used the dining table as a meeting point for the family to discuss their day while eating dinner. But times have changed. In many cases, both parents are now working late and with the kids left to fend for themselves....the preferred eating area these days is sitting in front of the T.V. set.

A market analyst with Mintel, David Bird, comments that rising divorce rates, later marriages and more people living alone have also added to the shift in people shunning the dining room chair for the television sofa.

The report from Britain didn't specifically mention the United States...but it's a safe bet the story is the same here. In fact, a recent study done by Columbia University dealt with the importance of a family sitting down to a meal together. According to that study, a family who eats together at least three to five times a week, will see reduced rates of smoking, drinking and drug use among their 12 to 17 year old kids.

So hold on to that dining room table. In fact, go ahead....dust it off...get reacquainted...with each other!

Fred Jackson

AFR News Director