Today as we were driving to a nearby mall to find an item that we saw advertised on TV, we saw a man on the corner with a red Santa hat and a cardboard sign that said, “Need money for food.” The begging Santa caught my son’s eye and he remarked that it wasn’t right to have Santa begging for money on a street corner.
As I drove home I was thinking what if this was Santa and I wondered what events would have led up to him begging on a busy street corner. Perhaps it would go something like this:
It was a rough year this year, especially for organizations that were manufacturing products. The raw materials used to build toys was costly and Santa had to find a way to cut back expenses. So rather than manufacturing his own toys he imported them from China. When he got the toys, the elves and Santa inspected them and found out that the Chinese manufacturers had used paint that contained lead. Thankfully Santa caught this before he gave the toys to children. So that idea didn’t work out very well and was a total waste of money, which made the need to cut expenses that much more important.
Meanwhile Santa stored all of the lead-painted toys in an old warehouse that they didn’t use any more. Within a short time he was contacted by the Environmental Agency. It turns out with the thawing snow, the warehouse was flooded and the whole area was contaminated from the lead paint on the toys from China. The Environmental Agency fined Santa and he was required to clean up the contamination. This was just another expense that Santa did not need.
Then Santa tried a new idea which was to find cheaper labor. He had worked with the elves a long time, but he had to do something to reduce the cost. So he hired a group in India and he outsourced all of the manufacturing of toys. This meant he had to lay off the elves, which was really sad, but needed to be done in these hard times. Thank goodness Obama got the unemployment insurance extended.
After a short time Santa was having issues with the work force in India. It took all of his time communicating to the Indian group so that they could build the toys properly. This was not allowing Santa time to check his lists of who was naughty and who was nice, which should be his main responsibility. The Indian group required every little detail to be written down, which was a shock for Santa. His elves did not have to have written procedures and requirements in order to build toys. They had years of experience and just knew what needed to be done. Santa ended up hiring back several of the elves to provide instructions for the group in India. They also had to test every item built to ensure no mistakes had been made. The other big issue was the turnover rate of the Indian workers. It seemed like you would just get them trained and then they would quit and go to a competitor that was paying more. With all of these issues, Santa ended up hiring back the majority of the elves. As a result of this, the cost for the elves and for the contract for outsourcing was costing him more money than what he was spending before he outsourced the work.
While all of this was going on Mrs. Santa Claus was getting very stressed about the decisions that had to be made. This really affected Mrs. Claus’ health. With the anxiety she started to have an eating disorder and was binge eating, which was making her gain weight. To help her with her anxiety and depression, the North Pole doctor prescribed an anti-depressant and suggested counseling for the binge eating. She also told the doctor she was having a hard time sleeping. So he prescribed a sleeping pill. Eventually Santa found out that Mrs. Claus had gotten involved in so many drugs that she needed to go to rehab. She was currently participating in a nine step program. Santa just hoped she would stay and complete the program.
Eventually all of this caught up with Santa. He had taken out a mortgage loan to make up for the expenses he had acquired from trying alternative manufacturing methods. Within no time, Santa was late on his payments to the bank, and the bank foreclosed on the North Pole. Santa and Mrs. Claus were kicked out of the North Pole, and the bank sold Santa’s home and the toy manufacturing business. Now Santa was without a home and job, the elves had nowhere to work and were back on unemployment, and the reindeer had no place to go. Eventually the Animal Protection Agency found out that the reindeer had no home, so they picked them up and sent them to the animal shelter. The animal shelter was trying to find new homes for the reindeer and needed to do it within 14 days, otherwise the reindeer would no longer be. The shelter could not afford taking care of the reindeer for very long.
Santa himself was looking for a job, but so far he was not having any luck. There just wasn’t a big need for a CEO of a toy manufacturing company. Things just seemed to get worse and worse for Santa, and that is how we found him begging for money for food on the street corner. These hard economic times really affected poor Santa.