The 12 Days of Christmas in a Down Economy

It’s that time of year that I dread: Christmas. My wife goes nuts over Christmas. The grandkids all want new iPhones and if we buy them something that does not run on electricity of some sort, they won’t know how to use it. This is that time of year when folks who seem perfectly normal the rest of the year become something else entirely. People go around wondering who to buy a gift for and what should it be and how much to spend and what did we give others last year and what did they give us? The economy is still in a funk and it seems that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men just can’t get it right. I often joke that I would like to go back in time 2,000 years and meet the three wise men on the road to Bethlehem. I would ask them not to bring any gifts. They didn’t know what they are starting and it has grown complete­ly out of control.

So, in a move that caught everyone by surprise, the FAA has not only told Santa to install HUD, TCAS, GPS and a long-range NAV unit on his sleigh, but to completely re-integrate the Christmas sea­son into a more profitable operation. HeliMx magazine obtained the following information to answer questions in this regard..

The recent announcement at the North Pole 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..

Streamlining was appropriate in view of the reality that the North Pole no longer dominates the season’s gift distribution business. Home shopping channels, mail order catalogs and the Internet 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 sleigh 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 the airborne environ­mental emissions for which the North Pole has been cited and received unfavorable press. .

Santa is 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 under executive stress. .

As a further restructuring, today’s global challenges require that Santa continue to look for better, more competitive steps.  Effective immediately, the following economy measures are to take place in the “12 Days of Christmas“ subsidiary: 

1. 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. 

2. The two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective. In addition, their romance during working hours cannot be condoned. Their positions are there­fore eliminated.

 3. The three French hens will remain intact.  After all, everyone loves the French.

 4. The four calling birds were replaced with an automated voice mail system and a call waiting option.  An analysis is underway to determine whom the birds have been calling, how often and for how long.

 5. The five golden rings have been put on hold by Santa’s board of directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on a single 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.

 6. The six geese a-laying constitutes 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. Ten lords 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 10 out-of-work congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant because we expect an oversupply of unemployed congressmen next year.

11. & 12. Eleven pipers piping and 12 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 new uniforms will produce savings 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 12 days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one day, service levels will be improved.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorneys associa­tion seeking expansion to include the legal profession (13 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 dwarves is the right number. Oops! We just received an update … now there are only six dwarfs.  Doc was replaced late yesterday with an HMO. 

I hope this clarifies the rumors that have been going around, and wish you all a Merry Christmas and joyous holiday season.