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More Americans Nuke the Microwave

It's not just the TARP wife. The recession has Americans from coast to coast redefining luxury and necessity in their lives, according to a new Pew Research survey.

Stan Wiechers

And we’re not talking BMWs and Rolexes, either: What people are increasingly saying they can live without are microwaves and air conditioners.

Hand me those two sticks, Jimmy, I’m gonna show you how we heat up that meatloaf Old School!

The microwave, it seems, is one of the biggest casualties of the recession: Less than half of the adults surveyed said they consider the microwave a necessity, a 21-percent drop from the 2006 survey.

Among other appliances consumers have begun to drop from their necessity list are clothes dryers (-17%), air conditioners (-16%), dishwashers (-14%) and TVs (-12%).

In other words, they see those items as more of a luxury than a necessity.

Of course, it’s a recession not Armageddon, so let’s not get crazy. Americans may be kicking their microwaves to the curb but get your grubby mitts off their iPods! That's right, technology isn't a luxury, as you might've guessed — it's a necessity.

Welcome to the 21st Century!

The same number or more than in the 2006 survey said they viewed their cellphones, high-speed Internet, flat-screen TV and iPod as necessities.

But don’t cry for the microwave, Argentina: You know it’s only a matter of time before someone comes with an iPhone app that will nuke your mac and cheese. And another one to blow cold air on you!

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Questions? Comments? Write to ponyblog@cnbc.com.

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