Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For May 10, 2009

Projected percentage drop in Mother's Day sales this year, according to industry research firm IBISWorld: 14.7

Amount this represents: $12.9 billion

Source: IBISWorld.

Annual cost to the U.S. economy in lower productivity and throttled innovation -- in organizations of all shapes and sizes caused by information overload -- according to Basex: $900 billion

Source: Basex Inc.

If you address e-mail to an executive, percentage chance that your message will be intercepted by an administrative professional who may be charged with screening, deleting and ghostwriting the boss's e-mail, according to a survey by the International Association of Administrative Professionals and The ePolicy Institute: 59

Percentage of administrative professionals who now ghostwrite responses under their executives' names: 59

Source: International Association of Administrative Professionals.

Percentage of Americans who say lower-income people are paying their "fair share" of federal taxes, up from 32 percent last year, according to a Gallup Poll: 41

Percentage of Americans who say that middle-income people pay their fair share of taxes, as they have in six of the last seven years: 50

Percentage who say upper-income taxpayers pay their fair share: 23

Source: Gallup.

Percentage of Americans who do not know the current average interest rate on a credit card, according to TrueCredit.com Financial Literacy Quiz: 84

Percentage of consumers who revealed that they are not aware of exactly what information is included in their credit report, and mistakenly believe that a credit score is included in the report: 90

Source: TrueCredit.com.

Percentage of grooms who do the proposing, according to about.com: 99

Percentage of proposals that occur in December: 15

Average length of an American engagement: 14 months

Average amount spent on a traditional American wedding: $28,082

Source: about.com.

Number of gallons of gasoline saved each year by using public transit, according to PublicTransportation.org: 1.4 billion

Estimated number of gallons of gasoline saved per day: 4 million

On average, percentage less oil consumed by a public transit rider as opposed to an automobile rider: 50

Source: Kidd Transportation Group.

Percentage of women who said they feel forced to make some tough choices and give up the small things that make them happy when money is tight, according to a survey conducted on behalf of Degree Women Fine Fragrance Collection: 63

Percentage who said they would find it hard to give up chocolate: 40

Percentage who would give up their sweet treats to be able to afford their favorite beauty products: 56

Source: Unilever.

Year that the people in Paris, Tenn., inaugurated their town's annual claim to fame as host of the world's biggest fish fry (where 100,000 people consume about 10,000 pounds of catfish, along with several tons of hush puppies, and attend a carnival, a rodeo, parades and even catfish races), according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 1953

Estimated number of farm-raised catfish produced each year: 550 million

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Percentage of U.S. farm subsidies that go to large farming businesses, according to a WorldPublicOpinion.org poll: 80

Percentage of Americans who favor such subsidies: 36

Percentage who oppose them: 61

Source: WorldPublicOpinion.org.

Idle Thought

"It is not how old you are, but how you are old." -- Jules Renard, writer

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