An associate of mine recently was running late for an event in New York City. With no time to spare to get on a subway or bus, he decided to splurge and jump into a taxi. Although it was rush hour, he managed to move quickly down Manhattan’s famed Park Avenue and found that he made it to his appointment in little time. Even the veteran driver took notice.

“I tell you what,” the driver said to my colleague. “There are fewer cars on the road these days with the higher gas prices. Normally, we’d be sitting in traffic.”

Naturally, of course, the driver could have been wrong. But, my guess is he was right on the mark. In fact, I believe the point illustrates what we’re seeing across the nation right now in major cities, small towns and suburban communities. The fact is consumers are hurting, and it will be a while still before they feel better. We may have another year to go before the pain is truly over.

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