Figuratively Speaking for January 11, 2009

Ranks of Detroit, Philadelphia and Los Angeles as the most expensive places to own and operate a 2009 mid-size vehicle, according to an analysis by Runzheimer International: 1, 2, 3

Annual cost of vehicle expenses, including operating costs (fuel, tires and maintenance) and ownership costs (insurance, depreciation, license and registration fees) in Detroit: $13,199

Source: Runzheimer.

Number of seconds of delay in the response times of Web applications after which business performance begins to suffer, according to a report by Aberdeen Group: 5.1

For every additional second of delay in the response times, projected percentage decline in page views: 11

Percentage decline in conversations: 7

Percentage decline in overall customer satisfaction: 16

Source: Aberdeen Group.

Percentage of travelers who expect hotel entertainment systems to at least match their home set-up, according to research by OnePoll on behalf of Samsung: 75

Percentage who expect an even higher standard: 26

Source: OnePoll.

Percentage of executives who cited better communication as the best remedy for low morale, according to a survey developed by Accountemps: 48

Percentage of respondents who said lack of open and honest communication with staff members tops the list of management missteps that can erode morale: 33

Source: Accountemps.

Percentage of single men in the United Kingdom who were expecting to reduce the amount they would spend on a date due to the economic meltdown, according to research by FreeDating.co.uk: 12

Percentage of guys who believe the man should pick up the tab for a first date: 64

Percentage of women who would expect their date to settle the bill: 35

Source: FreeDating.co.uk.

Percentage of Americans who do not know that you have to pay both the interest on your entire balance as well as a late fee when making a late credit card payment, according to the Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Literacy: 69

Percentage of respondents who cannot identify the percentage that service fees typically take out of a $20 ATM withdrawal: 97

Percentage who either didn't know how much the fee would be or thought it was less than it really is: 90

Source: Econ4U.

Estimated number of American households that lost economic security between 2000 and 2006, according to a report published by the policy center Demos and the Institute for Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Brandeis University: 4 million

Percentage decline in the median financial assets (not including home equity) held by middle-class families during the period: 22

Percentage rise in monthly housing expenses for the middle class: 9

Source: Demos.

Percentage of Americans who set aside money every month for emergencies and a rainy day, according to a survey released by Visa Inc.: 30

Percentage who set aside money for retirement: 20

Percentage who set aside money for education: 10

Source: VISA USA.

When Americans are asked to name their favorite sport to watch, percentage who said football, the runaway winner, according to a Gallup Poll: 41

Ranks of baseball (10 percent), basketball (9 percent), ice hockey (4 percent) and soccer (3 percent) on the list of favorite sports Americans most like to watch: 2, 3, 4, 5

Source: Gallup.

Percentage of human resource professionals who say it is important for their employees to have home computers, according to a survey of HR professionals by Purchasing Power at the 21st Annual Benefits Forum & Expo and the Society for Human Resource Management: 94.5

Percentage of them who say that more than 30 percent of their employees don't have computers at home: 26.5

Source: Kaiser Marketing Group.

Idle Thought

"I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done." -- Henry Ford

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)bwr.eastlink.ca.)

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