SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- According to the nation's retailers, frugality seemed to be theme this year among holiday shoppers. Despite offering aggressive discounts to entice consumers, with some sales events beginning on Thanksgiving evening, retailers found little more than coal in their stockings as their dismal year-end financial reports bore out analysts' bleak projections. Merchandisers are now hoping post-Christmas sales will help them salvage something from 2013's disappointing figures. A spokesperson for North Pole Distribution Operations Ltd. (NPDOL) said Santa Claus attributed the lion's share of the problem to a Target security breach that gave hackers access to over 40 million credit and debit cards.
Target is the latest chain to be plagued by a data breach. A similar attack on T.J. Maxx and Marshall's in July 2005 exposed nearly 46 million cards to possible fraud. It took a year for the massive data theft to be detected, leading the companies to shell out $9.75 million in settlements across multiple states. So why would the economic ebbs and flows of retailers affect Santa?
"If you believe, in a world of seven billion people, the North Pole can keep pace with the logistics of supply and demand in a hyper-enabled technological society, you're living in a fantasy," said Julien Kringle, spokesman for Claus Industries Ltd. and NPDOL.
"In times past, most retailers left the bulk of the work to Santa," Kringle explained. "After all, he pioneered the concept of outsourcing to cheap, fungible labor pools that operate far outside the oversight of legislators and regulators. Elves don't need money, they eat sugar and, strictly speaking, they're not human so there are no laws protecting them from employer abuses and hostile working conditions. But today, these same retailers are able to do Santa's job cheaper, better, faster. They have indentured servants all across Asia and child slaves in the Pacific Islands. Heck, most companies are now using prison labor. We can't top that. I mean, Elves are essentially prisoners, consigned to an eternity of brutal toil and all manner of sexual degradation, but they still carry an overhead cost. Prisoners, on the other hand, are directly funded by taxpayers. We lack the means to create such funding sources."
To fill all his orders, Kringle asserted, Santa must purchase 70-percent of his gifts from stores. But this year, his credit card was one of the 40 million stolen by hackers who gained access to Target's systems.
"A week after his first round of purchases at Target, Santa's card was declined at a GameStop in Wisconsin," Kringle said. "Then, our accountants began noticing the unauthorized purchases: brothels in Las Vegas that specialize in gender-neutral Filipino dwarf prostitutes, a warehouse of watermelon caddies, a hundred-thousand dog diapers and a sizable angel investment to an unlicensed film studio in Fontana that's dedicated to making sequels to something called 'Two Girls, One Cup.'"
As a result, Santa was unable to deliver nearly half of the items on his list. This marks the second year in a row that NPDOL has fallen short on deliveries or run into obstacles.
In 2012, NPDOL offices were flooded with thousands of angry letters from children who had asked for two front teeth but instead received toys. The media attention eventually uncovered a scandal. Analysts suspected that North Pole elves had entered into collective bargaining agreements with video game manufacturing unions. Other insiders blamed Santa's socialist political stance for creating friction between the North Pole and healthcare lobbies.
"They're [dentists] not having it," a senior lobbyist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stated. "With the threat of new oversight and public options, healthcare administrators aren't getting their Christmas bonuses this year. And that means nothing under the tree for the dentists participating in these programs. Santa's free ride is over, I'm afraid. He's a huge part of this problem. Dentists across the United States lose billions of dollars every Christmas when Santa undercuts them by fixing all the Halloween damage for free. Ultimately, the consumers will be forced pay the price."
Toy makers in Eastern Europe and Asia recently bowed to similar pressures applied by healthcare lobbyists. One manufacturer said the powerful influence peddlers "threatened our existing insurance agreements if we continued to help Santa. We just don't have the political clout or reach of these groups. Regardless of his reputation, I don't know how Santa could really compete if the healthcare lobbies chose to strong-arm him. If a black man in America, despite all odds, could manage to become president but still fall off the fiscal cliff because of reasonable healthcare reform, how could St. Nicholas prevail over these lobbies?"
2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.