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WARNING--MUNDANE HUMOR: Downsizing at the North Pole

Seasons greetings and all that...


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.
Streamlining was 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 unfavorable 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 under executive 
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 therefore eliminated.
The three French hens will remain intact.  After all, everyone loves the 
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 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.
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 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 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 year.
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 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 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.
Happy Holidays!