Christmas Downsizing

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"
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.
Their 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 cut back 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
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. 

Thanks to Robert Taylor for this contribution

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This message was sent on 19 Dec 1996