Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For December 04, 2011

Percentage of employers who reported that workers call in sick more often during the winter holidays, according to a survey by 33

Percentage of workers who have admitted to already playing hooky from the office this year, citing errands and plans with family and friends among the top reasons for calling in sick when they were well: 29


Percentage of consumers who believe the best deals for holiday shopping are available after the Thanksgiving holiday, according to a survey by PriceGrabber: 29

Percentage who specifically indicated Black Friday (Nov. 25): 28

Source: Experian Consumer Direct.

Percentage of executives whose companies awarded bonuses last year who said they plan to give higher bonuses this time around, according to a survey developed by Robert Half International: 30

Ranks of human resources managers, technology executives, and accounting and finance executives on the list of those executives most optimistic about increasing bonus levels in 2011: 1, 2, 3

Source: Robert Half International.

Percentage of companies that will have holiday parties this year, down from 95 percent in 2006, according to a survey by Amrop Battalia Winston: 74

Of the 26 percent of companies not holding a holiday party this year, percentage who said it was not in their budget: 44

Percentage who felt that their employees were simply not that interested in attending corporate parties: 19

Source: Amrop Battalia Winston.

Percentage of gift cards that can be delivered electronically, up from 41 percent in last year's survey, according to a survey by and 51

Percentage of cards that have expiration dates (all of which are general-purpose cards issued by credit card brands): 8

Percentage that charge purchase fees: 14

Source: Bankrate Inc.

When respondents were asked how much they estimate that Americans pay in ATM fees per year, percentage of respondents who chose the correct answer, according to a survey conducted by Ally Bank: 9

Range in which the majority of estimates fell: $100 million to $2 billion

Amount Americans actually spent in ATM fees in 2010, according to consulting firm Oliver Wyman: $7.1 billion

Source: Ally Financial.

Percentage of consumers surveyed who say they most likely will shop for gifts online this holiday season -- a double-digit (13 percent) increase from last year, according to a survey by Deloitte: 48

Percentage of online shoppers who indicate that competitive prices are the top reason to shop with a particular retailer online: 48

Percentage who cited free shipping: 20

Source: Deloitte Public Relations.

Among the 40 million foreign-born U.S. residents in 2010, percentage that reported a year of entry prior to 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 82.6

Ranks of California (19 percent), Texas (11 percent), New York (10 percent) and Florida (9 percent) on the list of states having the largest proportion of the nation's newly arrived foreign-born residents: 1, 2, 3, 4

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

When asked about their last car-buying experience, percentage of women who felt they did not get a fair trade-in value, according to a poll conducted for CarMax Inc.: 15

Percentage who did not feel their salesman was trustworthy: 15

Percentage who thought they did not get low, fair pricing: 15

Source: CarMax Inc.

Percentage of consumers who said they would be more likely to visit a restaurant that offers new or innovative flavors, according to a survey by Technomic: 53

Percentage of consumers who say that preparation style is an appealing way for restaurants to add flavor to their food: 81

Source: Technomic.

Idle Thought

"Time has a wonderful way of weeding out the trivial." -- Richard Ben Sapir, novelist

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)