Saturday, September 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The cost of working

Do you work in an office? Do you spend $195 a week on all expenses associated with your commute, plus purchases that you make nearby your building or on you way to and from work? Can't imagine it, really, even with the cost of gasoline being what it is.

The cost of working

Do you work in an office? Do you spend $195 a week on all expenses associated with your commute, plus purchases that you make nearby your building or on you way to and from work? Can't imagine it, really, even with the cost of gasoline being what it is.

The statistics come from the International Council of Shopping Centers, the real estate arm of the retail sector. The ICSC is trying to get retailers and restaurant businesses to open near offices. It says that in the aggregate office workers spend $184 billion on meals, goods and services near their offices and they tend to spend more if there are more stores and restaurants nearby. 

Suburban office workers spend the most, $227 a week on average. (How much do these people earn????) Urban office folks spend $166 and small-town and rural workers spend $143. 

The biggest expense, not surprisingly, is transportation, at 18 percent. Stopping by the store on the way home for milk or whatever leads to about $20 a week, the survey shows. There's also some online spending associated with office spending and it's highest for suburban and rural office workers. ICSC posits that there could be an opportunity for merchants to respond by having online orders ready for pickup in time for the evening commute.

In thinking about it, I realize that I try to do my weekly grocery shopping as part of my commute one day a week. Especially when I had two hungry high school boys living at home, my grocery bill alone would put close to $195 a week, never mind gasoline, parking and my once-a-week Friday latte.  If others are like me, are these really missed opportunities, or just dollars shifted based on convenient times to shop?

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog

Jobbing covers the workplace – employment, unemployment, management, unions, legal issues, labor economics, benefits, work-life balance, workforce development, trends and profiles.

Jane M. Von Bergen writes about workplace issues for the Inquirer.

Married to a photographer she met at her college newspaper, Von Bergen has been a reporter since fourth grade, covering education, government, retailing, courts, marketing and business. “I love the specific detail that tells the story,” she says.

Reach Jane M. at jvonbergen@phillynews.com.

Jane M. Von Bergen Inquirer Staff Writer
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