Christmas is Downsizing
A message from the North Pole
The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen
have elected to take the early reindeer retirement package has triggered a good deal of
concern about whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at
the North Pole.
appropriate in view of the reality that the North Pole no longer dominates the season's
gift distribution business. Home shopping channels and mail order catalogues have
diminished Santa's market share and he could not sit idly by and permit further erosion of
the profit picture.
The reindeer downsizing was
made possible through the purchase of a late model Japanese sled for the CEO's annual
trip. Improved productivity from Dasher and Dancer, who summered at the Harvard Business
School, is anticipated and should take up the slack with no discernible loss of service.
Reduction in reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental emissions for which the
North Pole has been cited and received unfavourable press.
I am pleased to inform you and yours that Rudolph's role will not be disturbed.
Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole. Management denies, in the
strongest possible language, the earlier leak that Rudolph's nose got that way not from
the cold, but from substance abuse. Calling Rudolph "a lush who was into the sauce
and never did pull his share of the load" was an unfortunate comment, made by one of
Santa's helpers and taken out of context at a time of year when he is known to be nder
As a further restructuring, today's global challenges require the North Pole to
continue to look for better, more competitive steps. Effective immediately, the following
economy measures are to take place in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" subsidiary:
- The Partridge will be retained, but the pear tree never turned out to be the cash
crop forecasted. It will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable
savings in maintenance;
- The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective. In
addition, their romance during working hours could not be condoned. The positions are
- The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the French;
- The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice mail system, with a
call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have been calling,
how often and how long they talked;
- The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors.
Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative implications for
institutional investors. Diversification into other precious metals as well as a mix of
T-Bills and high technology stocks appear to be in order;
- The six geese-a-laying constitute a luxury which can no longer be afforded. It
has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per day is an example of
the decline in productivity. Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection
procedure by personnel will assure management that from now on every goose it gets will be
a good one;
- The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. The
function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The current swans will be
retrained to learn some new strokes and therefore enhance their outplacement;
- As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by
the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought. The more militant maids
consider this a dead-end job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit
the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching;
- Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased
out as these individuals grow older and can no longer do the steps;
- Ten Lord-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords plus the expense of
international air travel prompted the Compensation Committee to suggest replacing this
group with ten out-of-work congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed,
the savings are significant because we expect an oversupply of unemployed congressmen this
- Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple case of the band
getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback on new music and no
uniforms will produce saving which will drop right down to the bottom line;
- We can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals and other
expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching deliveries over twelve
days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels will be improved.
- Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney's association seeking expansion to include
the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing") action is pending.
Lastly, it is not beyond consideration that deeper cuts may be necessary in the future
to stay competitive. Should that happen, the Board will request management to scrutinize
the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs is the right number.
Your Christmas wishes welcomed by Santa Claus