Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For November 30, 2008

Average amount of money that can be saved per person per day by brown-bagging a lunch, according to statistics from the Oscar Mayer "Brown Bag Barometer": $3

Estimated amount that can be saved per month for a family of four: $260

Rank of sandwiches (41 percent) and leftovers (32 percent) as the most popular items in the bag: 1, 2

Source: Weber Shandwick.

Percentage of Americans who think people give gifts as a way to make subtle suggestions about what someone wears or how they look, according to a survey by Remington products and conducted by Zoomerang: 68

Percentage who admit that's why they've picked particular products: 41

Source: Zoomerang.

Percentage of consumers who cite convenience as a reason to buy online, according to a Nielsen Online pre-holiday survey: 76

Percentage of consumers who cite price as a reason to buy online: 53

Source: Nielsen Online.

Percentage of employees who have felt excluded during annual holiday celebrations in the workplace, according to a national telephone survey by Novations Group: 10.7

Source: Novations Group Inc.

Percentage of consumers who will purchase more "eco-friendly" products this holiday season than in the past, according to the "23rd Annual Holiday Survey" of retail spending and trends commissioned by Deloitte: 20

Percentage who will shop at more "green" retailers: 18

Percentage of consumers who said they will use fewer plastic bags from supermarkets and other stores this holiday season: 38

Percentage who will consider not wrapping holiday gifts in order to conserve paper: 21

Source: Deloitte.

Percentage difference in the one-year performance improvement in operating income between companies with highly engaged employees -- those who believe in the values of their company, are proud of their work for the company, and are committed to their employer -- compared to companies with low engagement, according to a survey by ISR: 52

Percentage improvement in net income growth over a one-year period at companies with high employee engagement: 13

Percentage improvement in EPS (earnings per share) growth in companies with high employee engagement: 28

Source: Towers Perrin.

Percentage of video gamers who are married, according to research by IGN Entertainment and Ipsos MediaCT: 55

Percentage who have children: 48

Average age of new gamers -- those who have started playing videogames in the past two years: 32

Source: Ipsos Media.

Percentage of holiday shoppers who say they begin shopping before Thanksgiving, according to data from Mediamark Research and Intelligence: 35.1

Percentage of holiday shoppers who say they begin shopping between Thanksgiving and Dec. 15: 35.8

Percentage who start their shopping between Dec. 16 and Dec. 23: 25.6

Source: Mediamark Research.

Projected amount Americans will spend on gift cards this holiday season, according to an Archstone Consulting survey: $25 billion

Percentage of consumers who told the National Retail Federation they want to receive gift cards this holiday season -- more than any other type of gift: 55

Percentage of card recipients who tend to redeem them on necessities: 33

Source: Bankrate Inc.

Percentage of Americans who initially say that they support existing policies aimed at promoting the use of corn to produce ethanol, according to an Ipsos poll conducted for members of the "Food Before Fuel" campaign: 55

When informed of USDA data linking ethanol to food price increases, percentage who become less likely to support these policies: 49

Estimated annual tax subsidy to fuel blenders for adding ethanol into the fuel supply: $4 billion

Source: Ipsos North America.

Idle Thought

"Alas, after a certain age every man is responsible for his face." -- Albert Camus, writer and philosopher

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)