NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - During tough economic times when U.S. consumers are trying to cut back the indulgence they can't seem to live without is books.
Three-quarters of adults questioned in an online poll said they would sacrifice holidays, dining out, going to the movies and even shopping sprees but they could not resist buying books.
Dining out came in a far second with only 11 percent of Americans naming it their top indulgence, followed by shopping at 7 percent, vacations at four and movies, which was chosen by only 3 percent of Americans.
"The recession highlighted the downside of greed, indulgence and giving in to temptation, but we noticed a shift back to life's simplest pleasures," said Michelle Renaud, a senior manager at Harlequin Enterprises Limited, which conducted the poll.
The survey of 3,000 people tried to determine what tempts people to spend their money, how they react to temptation and how far they would go when tempted.
Sex was a main temptation for 50 percent of men, while for 56 percent of women food topped the list. The sexes also differed in their approach to straying. Half of men thought it was harmless to lust after someone other than their partner, compared to 33 percent of women.
"Our survey also revealed that one in five women (20 percent) and, shockingly, almost half of the men (43 percent) surveyed have been tempted to hook up with their friend's significant other," according to the survey.
The sluggish economy and high unemployment also seem to have increased competition and temptation in the workplace. Forty-eight percent of people admitted they had sneaked a look at a co-worker's pay slip. Fifteen percent of men and 10 percent of woman also said they had sabotaged a colleague.
"It is very surprising the number of people who admitted they had done that," Renaud said in an interview, adding that she believed it was due to the competitive job market.
An equal number of men and 8 percent of women admitted to taking credit for someone else's work.
"We are so information obsessed right now that we are constantly trying to find out more, even if it is about our significant other or our colleagues at work," said Renaud.