The Problem with Santa

Santa in Migros advertisement

There was excitement in the office. It was time for the annual Christmas slogan: after all an advertising agency lived from good ideas.

“Ok men, think. We want to show the public that our catering service is the best. We want to save the housewives the exhaustion of preparing a family banquet, but it has to be good. We have two days for the perfect solution, so boys get to work. Bring me something breathtaking, make it good and above all think it is a family occasion; something for the mothers and fathers, the grandparents and above all the children. Imagine their sparkling eyes when the food arrives on the table from our catering service.”

Now that was an inspiring speech Joe Doe thought and so when he arrived at his desk he switched on the computer and began to play with some Christmas photos. He even switched on some Christmas carols on the computer to play as background music and all the fellow workers in the office joined in when he began to sing “We wish you a merry Christmas” in time to the music, although it was actually only the beginning of October. Joe’s boss liked to be on time with their new campaigns and the men were trained to obey.

Santa was the main figure in the photo, but a Santa giving out the gifts or sitting on a sleigh together with Rudolf would not inspire the housewives, and they were the target of the effort. They would be organising, telling their men to buy. It had to be something homely, but Santa had to be there and then he had an idea.

Why not let Santa do the cooking? Yes he was sure that would be a seller: Santa baking Christmas cookies over the oven. Joe noticed a shadow over his computer terminal. It was the boss, watching over his shoulder.

“Good idea Joe, yes I think you are on the right track. Something completely different: a rear view of Santa. No shiny red cheeks giving the idea that Santa might have drunk a little too much Christmas spirit. Ha Ha. No Santa is working hard, showing the women that even Santa needs catering. Carry on Joe, looks good.”

Joe was inspired, he was sure extra Christmas money would be in his pay packet at the end of the year. Santa was there, but let’s shift him to the right of the picture. We want to save the housewives time and energy, we want them to buy the food and not make it themselves. Joe decided to insert a comfortable dining room arrangement to highlight the relaxation of having someone do all the work. Just have it delivered and put it on the table. He still had a day to finish his work, so he spent it with using homely warm colours of red and silver. Yes Christmas was coming with all the catering necessary.

Joe’s boss was looking over his shoulder again.

“Can I make a suggestion Joe?”

“Go ahead” said Joe, although he really wanted to do it all by himself, but the boss was the boss.

“I would put a bit of contrast on Santa, perhaps some snow on his dress like this.”

Joe watched as his boss took the mouse and spread some white shades on the red on the computer.

“But boss…..”

“No buts Joe, that is the finishing touch.”

Of course all the other workers in the office submitted their ideas, but none were as original as that from Joe. One even showed Santa with a cooked turkey with snow flocks, but the boss laughed.

“A cooked turkey with snow is not logical. The snow would melt with the heat and our housewives do not put snow on the turkeys. Show no food, we keep the food hidden. The buyers can choose their products from our menu suggestions.” And the menu suggestions were quite expensive if Joe remembered correctly.

D-Day arrived and of course Joe won the competition. His idea was the best especially as the boss had put the finishing touches on the photo. No-one wanted to improve the boss ideas. He was always the best, although Joe did have a strange thought in his mind. It was perhaps the slogan the boss had decided on that gave Joe second thoughts, but the boss was the boss.

“To ensure that your next Christmas is not for the a***”. Joe found it a little too down to earth, to compare Santa with a subordinate part of the anatomy, but in the 21st century things were different and the boss always knew better. It was perhaps the snow stain on the red trousers ……”

The following week the posters were plastered all over the shops in the areas belonging to the advertising agency. By the end of the week the first complaining letters had arrived at the newspaper.

“This is not Christmas worthy, Santa does not suffer from flatulation or attacks of wind and definitely the product would not be snow etc. etc.”

There followed a column in the newspaper where the advertising agency were criticised and eventually it was promised that the posters showing a Santa with digestive problems would be removed.

You think I invented this story. Well I did a little bit. Of course who Joe is I do not know, and whether the boss made the wrong decision is another open question. All I know is that I took this photo this morning of the poster on the wall of the parking lot, the last remaining poster. The other posters have already been removed from the supermarket. Our local newspaper was flooded with letters of complaint and Santa has been reinstated in his task of taking rides with Rudolf and bringing the children their Christmas presents. The catering company exists, but Santa will definitely not be cooking the food. He is probably too old to bend and it would not be advisable.

Daily Prompt: Reverse Shot – how it all began

What’s your earliest memory involving another person? Recreate the scene — from the other person’s perspective.

Me at Nutfield

“Take your finger out of your nose and don’t put them in your mouth.”

A first memory from mum’s point of view? She could never leave me to my own thing, always interfering and I found so many tasty things in places where my fingers should not have wandered..

“Stop it” she said pulling my hand away from where it was. “Have a nice swing. We don’t have a swing at home, so make the most of the country life. Go and play with your friend and stop sulking. Take that hand away …….. I will give you a push on the swing.

You would think she would be happy, but there she is doing her best to make a sulky face.”

Ok, there we have one of my earliest memories from mum’s point of view I think. It must have been 66 years ago, so who knows if some of the details are forgotten.

To be quite honest my first memory is arriving on the scene. The midwife clapped and said “at last”. Someone gave me a thump on a sensitive part of my anatomy and I took my first deep breath and screamed. It seemed to be the thing to do. They all clapped again and cheered as if to say “it’s alive”. Of course I was alive and breathing; I mean that was what it was all about. Then I decided it was time to have a sleep to recover from the exhaustion of my birth. It was not easy and I had to do it all on my own. Ok, someone was pushing from behind I suppose, but only because I was giving the orders.

The next event was someone putting a rubber thing into my mouth attached to a glass bottle. Ok, I was thirsty after all the pushing and screaming so I decided to see what this thing was. Some call it instinct, I call it my natural born intelligence but I had a pull on this rubber thing. Not bad, I was being fed,  so I decided to carry on. Everything was going fine until I took another draw on this object in my mouth and nothing came. It was empty. No more of this stuff called milk. I decided to give out a few more screams. There were tears running down my cheek and everyone around me was smiling and saying things like “how sweet”. I did not feel sweet, actually I felt quite uncomfortable, but after all this excitement I decided to try out my recycling process. I did not exactly smell like Siddartha, but again everyone seemed to be happy. Everything was in order.

“Bring me a clean diaper” said this person dressed in white to another person dressed in white. The person that pushed me out into this place was no longer around. I decided this person would be my main contact in this place, but she was gone. I was missing her already, after a few hours, so I screamed again and someone patted me on my cheek whilst someone else was washing my private parts. Was this what it is all about? Was this what I was waiting for after nine months tossing and turning in a dark place, hearing noises and wanting to join in. I was a recycling machine: put it in one end and it arrives at the other.

I arrive, am given a resounding slap on my bottom causing me to scream. I discover that I can make noises and now I smell and everyone finds it sweet. Where is this person that pushed out to this place, it is her fault, I want to go back. I decide to close my eyes and forget it all. And then I wake with this person that I was missing and she gave me that rubber topped glass bottle and I was happy. Everyone seemed to be happy.

“Yes that’s my baby.”

“What will her name be?”

Maureen Patricia Ann, my mum wanted her to be called Patricia”

“But we thought you wanted a Maureen.”

“No I changed my mind, let her be called Patricia.”

Actually by the time that conversation occurred I couldn’t care less if my name had been turnip. My decision was made for me. I had no choice, I was here to stay so they would all have to put up with me.

And that is my story and I am sticking to it. “No mum I will not tell you why I had my fingers in my mouth, it is none of your business.”

Daily Prompt: Reverse Shot – how it all began