In one final post before we check out for the holidays, we'd like to offer an update on Santa. Our friends at the Renaissance Group have looked at the various types of insurance it takes to cover Santa's operations in their post Protecting the big guy. We thought we'd expand on this theme by highlighting some of the risks that Santa has faced this year as noted in recent headlines:
- Swine flu outbreak has Santa taking extra precautions. Here's a tip for your investment portfolio: buy stock in companies that produce hand sanitizers.
- Someone is impersonating Santa to rob banks. At least, we think that's not the real Santa. Times are tough, but we don't think Santa has had to resort to theft to finance his operations yet.
- Santas debate whether it's naughty for them to be obese: "This battle of the bulge has been raging quietly within the Santa community, which is made up of an estimated 4,000 professional Santas who congregate at annual conventions, chat year-round on Claus-centric online message boards, spend thousands on customized outfits and perform everywhere from shopping malls and military bases to homes and hospices. In some Santa circles -- typically, the ones with the largest circumferences -- the idea that Santa Claus should consider swapping sugar cookies for carrot sticks has been about as popular as vegan eggnog."
- Santa's "naughty-nice" database may have been hacked. This could cause untold mayhem. Perhaps the hackers are the same folks that messed up Congressional databases allowing the naughty to get financial bailouts while the nice folk are left high and dry?
- Claus in Crisis. If it's not one thing, it's another. There are rumors that some of his reindeer may be on steroids. Plus, Santa has OSHA examining him on one front and the anti-immigration people questioning the status of his workers on the other.
We know the job of being Santa is a tough one, but he still has obligations as an employer. We've been trying to keep an eye on Santa's record as an employer over the years - we don't want his workers to be forgotten up there in the North Pole. After all, they work long hours under arduous conditions. Via David Letterman, we've learned about the Top 10 Elf Complaints:
10. Bells on clothing target for jeers at truck stop
9. Need two pieces of I.D. to buy beer
8. Santa's union-busting goons killed a guy last spring
7. Black elves control weight room
6. R&R weekends in Aleutians spoiled by trigger-happy shore patrol
5. Incredible markup at North Pole 7-Eleven
4. Workmen's compensation doesn't cover "Mistletoe lung"
3. The Colonel practically runs my life (Sorry, that's an Elvis complaint)
2. Dead elves just tossed out on tundra
1. Santa only invites his favorites to join him in the Jacuzzi
In a recent interview, Santa dispels most of these charges. He says that he pays the elves a living wage and "We give full benefits, pension, 401(k), and free shoe lifts for life. Plus, the uniform is free." He offers an alternate viewpoint - apparently the elves aren't always fine, upstanding employees. After firing some leves for lying on their application, all hell broke loose. Santa says they "...Got drunk on eggnog and ginger ale and had chicken fights all over the workshop. Nothing worse than an angry, drunk elf."