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” subsidiary:

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 French.

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

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

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 pending.

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.