Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Talking (and shopping) my way out of a Yule Pickle.

So I thought I was being all sly ordering gifts online since I couldn't (or wouldn't) drive to go Christmas shopping, but the Snowpocalypse taught me. Sure the gifts were ordered, but the same crappy weather that kept me housebound has similarly hog-tied the postal service and UPS. And while I'm at least a tiny bit understanding of the UPS hold up (somewhat, but not much) I have no sympathy for the United States Postal Service. Doesn't their creed specifically say "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Ok, in googling that quote, I find that it is not their official creed, they don't' really have one. According to Wikipedia it is an inscription in the James Farley Post Office in New York so it probably only applies to that area, which makes me wonder why that area merits such dedicated mail carriers. Unfortunately the mail slackers in our area can't maintain those rigorous standards.

Anyhow, we got here last night, and none of the packages have arrived, I checked tracking information and none of them look likely to arrive today, which means the kids had exactly one gift each for Christmas opening. And that sucks. I'd scaled back this year, I shopped and picked a few very well thought out gifts for the kids, and now we were essentially giftless. Sure I may be a consumer driven holiday celebrant, but I like opening packages at Christmas. I'm strange that way. So I vented. After listening to me rail against the sissies at the US Postal Service and malign the UPS "Brown" crew, Mr. Dog volunteered to take me to Target to pick up a few things so the kids would have gifts to open. I'd intended to buy just a couple of replacements, but Mr. Dog was with me, and we were having fun, and he was awed by the array of toys and we ended up with a few more than planned. Anyhow, now we're set for Christmas, but I'm going to have to explain why Santa brought some gifts on time, and others were late as they dribble in at the whim of UPS and USPS. Here's the little story I've devised.

Santa has run into a few labor issues this year. While the toys were mostly manufactured on time, there were some issues with his fulfillment and delivery systems. Unfortunately, Dasher bit one of the elves and it looks like there may be some kind of reindeer borne illness outbreak in the North Pole. The first string reindeer are quarantined until we know if the elf develops symptoms of this Reindeer Fever, but since it's so close to Christmas, we're likely to see some fallout.

Most noticeably Santa's going to have to bring gifts in shifts. Some will arrive via the traditional sleigh driven mode of distribution, while others, due to staffing shortages in qualified reindeer, will be delivered by elves. Keep in mind many of the elves are currently out on sick leave due to the previously mentioned epidemic, but don't worry, they have excellent health insurance and prescription coverage. They'll be fine. Meanwhile, this does mean a bit of a staffing shortage at a critical time.

Instead of hiring a full new staff of elves, Santa decided to contract out this work to the lowest bidder. So Santa temporarily hired these new elves, just for the busy season, but he did not properly assess their capabilities. Some of these elves made delivery promises they couldn't keep, some didn't have proper delivery equipment for all weather situations, and some of them were just plain bad. They promised gifts would arrive on time, but they were not able to hold up their end of that contract. Though the gifts are all still guaranteed to arrive, many of them will be delivered after Christmas.

At this point Santa has put his legal team on the matter, and they are looking into the contracts the elves signed to see if there is any legal recourse, but that is all still up in the air since he is still wholly focused on getting the gifts he committed to deliver out to the children on time.
At any rate, that's the big and the small of the issue. I just wanted to make sure you aware of the situation and explain why Christmas gifts will be rolling in over the next few days. In the process, I think we all can learn a valuable lesson about properly vetting contract workers and the importance of understanding your legal recourse in case of contract violations.

And by the time I reach the end of this little speech, I'm pretty sure they'll both have either dropped of to sleep, or wandered off to find more exciting things to do, but I'll have done my part as a mom to cover my bad- mother last-minute gift buying fiasco.


Anonymous said...


And Merry Christmas. We're watching the Grinch, with that classic line (that I have yet to fully embrace): "Perhaps Christmas doesn't come from a store, perhaps Christmas means something more."

mamikaze said...

You're funny! That's a very creative story.

If it were me, I would sock away the incoming gifts for birthday gifts.

Merry Christmas! xoxo

Unknown said...

Not the fact that your gifts did not arrive but the story that you ahve come up with.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Robin said...

Your explanation cracked me up so much I had to read it out loud to my mom (in town this week).

Hope your kids bought it and you had a great day despite the mishaps.

Nauntie Lush said...

Or you could modify the line from ELF...
"They had to use Gnomes who drink too much liquor, and Trolls who aren't toilet trained, which was really messy."

I love this.

chihuahua5 said...

love the explanation and i think they will understand...hey you could keep some of little dog's gifts for his b-day coming up.

and, i'm glad that Mr. Dog now fully understands the magical allure and addiction to Target, house of shopping pleasures!

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