NORTH POLE (Reuters)-Prohibitive production problems and local labor loopholes have forced the Jolly Ole Elf to seek alternative budgetary strategies or else cease global toy distribution operations altogether.
"If it's not one thing, it's something else," a harried Saint Nick exclaimed in a hasty walking interview through the frigid fun factory. And that's no overstatement. Kris Kringle has been ambushed from all sides; a plight outsiders say could have been avoided with a little common business sense.
Situated literally in the middle of nowhere, Santa's workshop presents a unique challenge to delivery services. Until recently, get-it-there giants have garnered free advertisement from annual contracts to transport raw materials transformed into trillions of toys by the minuscule minions of the Man of Mirth. But the latest negotiations have put the kiddie caterer into a virtual strangle hold. "Toys don't grow on trees, you know," Mrs. Claus sighed in frustration.
Making things worse, the elves themselves have thrown the entire enterprise into a state of turmoil. Factions on both sides of the polar production plant are at odds, putting the December delivery date in jeopardy. The Northernmost Occupational Elfin League (NOEL) strongly opposes efforts of the Yukon Union of Laboring Elves (YULE) to organize the occupational oversight of the wee wilderness workers. Though they've worked blissfully for decades without outside interference, the aging arctic aggregate have become concerned about Santa's ability to provide for their elder care.
Millions of additional Christmas lists have also put a substantial strain on selecting and sending toys to the world's youth. Though they don't involve themselves in the religious activities surrounding Christmas, those who espouse Chanukah, Ramadan and Kwanzaa have ‘come out' to appreciate the commercial appeal of Christmas. So, now it's not just the Christians Santa must satisfy, but ‘the other kids on the block' as well. This has added considerably to both the volume on the sleigh and the number of miles the reindeer must traverse, not to mention the extra chimneys Santa must shinny down and back up again.
Contracts are in the works with manufacturers in Sri Lanka, Mainland China, Korea, Indonesia and Mexico to offset Santa's workshop woes. Once finalized, toys will be fabricated at selected geographic sites, allowing Santa to make numerous pick-ups at the strategically located distribution points and deliver from the regional centers, thereby eliminating exorbitant centralized North Pole pre-delivery costs and lessening the total weight load of the sleigh at any given time.
So, yes, kiddies, Santa is on track for a record-setting toy trek this year, so don't despair. But parents beware! If all else fails, Santa has one last trick up his red velvet sleeve: he may soon begin demanding prepayment for what is hoped will end up under the Christmas tree.