When the kids leave, we'll get plastered

November 8, 2002

Parents, it seems, are delighted when their children head off to university because they can get their hands on some additional living space.

According to a survey commissioned by the Staples office-equipment chain, the moment the new undergraduate's back is turned, mum and dad make for the DIY superstore or the office-supply shop.

The "Fleeing the Nest" survey showed a dramatic upsurge in sales during October, attributed to parents converting their child's bedroom into a home office.

"There was a flurry of activity last month from parents who couldn't wait to get their hands on the extra room," Staples marketing director Jo Irons said. "The 'nest' that has been vacated has been rapidly turned into a home office. A new computer and furniture have been shipped in before the 'body is even cold'. This is followed by a new bed-settee as a token gesture for the occasional visit from the child.

"The days when students moved back to live with their parents after graduation seem to be disappearing. They stay in the city they've been studying in or go travelling. They're more accepting of this than their parents would have been," Ms Irons said.

The survey also reveals that Bridget Jones has had a huge influence on female students leaving home for the first time. "Since the film romanticised the premise of writing down your daily thoughts about life and love, female undergraduates have snapped up diaries at a record level," Ms Irons said. Sales had increased by 20,000 - up 8 per cent on last year, she said.

"While the guys want to know if the union bar has got Sky Sports, the ladies want to write down every last detail about the new adventure."

And who would students of both sexes least like to share a room with at college? The answer, says the survey, is Jade from Big Brother .

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