Be It Ever So Humble, Home at Least Seems Safe

We’ve supposedly lived in the age of cocooning for more than a decade. Somehow, though, Americans have snuck out of the house often enough to dine at restaurants, attend sports events, take “adventure vacations,” go to movies, trample the national parks, shop in mega-stores, etc.—all in record numbers. In the post-Sept. 11 world, though, there’s reason to think Americans finally will retreat en masse to home and hearth. Whatever else one might say about home, it looks less menacing than the outside world. Polling by Euro RSCG Worldwide picks up on this mood. It finds, for instance, that 63 percent of women and47 percent of men plan on being more “family focused” in the coming year. Eighteen percent of respondents will stay home more; 13.5 percent will eat at home more. And even as consumers rein in many of their expenditures, 16 percent plan to increase outlays onmaking their homes “more comfortable.” These findings are consistent with an Ipsos-Reid survey in which 72 percent of respondents subscribed to the statement, “Staying home and being close to my family appeals to me more than usual.” Capturing the martial spirit of the day, this polling firm describes the new trend as “bunkering down.” Its survey found 22 percent of Americans planning to spend more on home furnishings/decorating during the next six months (versus 17 percent planning to spend less) and 19 percent expecting to spend more on home entertainment (while 16 percent will spend less). Since women are more likely than men to say they’ve been unnerved by terrorism, they’re also more likely to be bunkering down. A CBS News/New York Times poll found 40 percent of women and 29 percent of men saying they’ve spent more time with family and friends since Sept. 11.