Boiling It Down

I have had two careers: (1) teaching the social studies (2) selling promotional merchandise. Teaching is selling: selling is teaching.

'Tis The Season To Buy More: The Santa Clause

Economy, Education, Employment, Political, Potpourri, Quality of Life

At this time of year, all of the retail stores are trying to sell you merchandise. They offer humongous discounts: 50% off, free financing, take three years to pay. You are enticed to buy, and buy more...get those gifts for those you love

In conjunction with these bargain offerings, the marketers bring you Santa Claus. Santa is, they say, their agent. He will deliver the goods to your home, via the chimney, and create smiles and warmth. So you buy the goods, they hire Santa, and you get the benefit of the good will which ensues. It is just a matter of you putting up the money...your money.

It has always been a source of wonder to me that on one night in December, Mr. Claus is believed to go to every house, irregardless of whether the inhabitants are naughty or nice. He has this sleigh pulled by eight reindeer. He lands on the roof of each dwelling, goes inside, and leaves some stuff which someone has bought (probably on credit).

With all these stops, and all this stuff, he has to be insanely busy. First he has to stock the sleigh with merchandise. How much stuff can his sleigh accommodate? If little Billie gets a pair of shoes and a shirt, that isn't a shipping problem. But what if Santa brings his mother a living room sofa, and his father a lawn mower? What if the next door neighbor receives a Toyota Camry? How does it fit in the sleigh? Does Santa outsource his warehouse needs to independent subcontractors? He also has to have additional helpers, because he can only lift so much. At his age, one cannot ask too much of this man.

Such issues raise concerns. What is even more daunting is the fact that Mr. Claus, with his vehicle full of stuff, lands his sleigh on your roof. He has flying reindeer doing the hauling. Their names are Dasher, Dancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen: these are all old animals. The youngest one is Rudolph, who became famous in 1939, and is now in his seventies.

A normal reindeer can run 12-34 miles in a day, which is faster than an Olympic sprinter. But Mr. Claus's crew is much faster. The average weight of a female reindeer is 180-260 pounds, while the male tips the scales at 351-401 pounds. When the sleigh with the reindeer, and the gifts, and Mr. Claus, land on your roof, that is approximately 6,000 pounds. And you won't hear a thing.

Sad to say, however, the reindeer population varies widely. Global warming affects it, as does worldwide industrial disturbance.

Therefore, it appears that as Mr. Claus gets older, the reindeer get older, the roofs get flimsier, and the environment changes, this delivery system will have to change. Maybe we will have Santa and the eight flying drones. But, nonetheless, you will always pay the price. As we say: “Buy More”!


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