Elderly people sit with their shopping bags as they wait for transportation at a bus stop in Hastings, U.K., on Tuesday, July 23, 2013.
Chris Ratcliffe—Bloomberg/Getty Images
June 19, 2014 11:44 AM EDT

Most adults think they’ve outgrown the days of endless hang outs at the mall and marathon chats over the phone. In fact, they haven’t quite grown into them.

A Bureau of Labor Statistics annual survey of how Americans spend their time, released Wednesday, reveals that the pasttimes typically associated with adolescence, shopping and gabbing, tend to peak in the golden years.

Calling, texting, e-mailing and snail mailing consumes roughly 12 minutes of an average teenager’s day. If that figure seems low, it’s partly because the survey only counts the moments when gabbing is a “primary activity,” outside of work and school for instance. It appears to be a primary activity of the golden years, however, steadily climbing to nearly 16 minutes a day.

Shopping tends to consume more and more waking minutes of Americans’ lives as they age, beginning at 30 minutes a day in adolescence and steadily climbing to a peak of 52 minutes for Americans 75 years and older.


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