Part 1 of 3
Upon discovering that Fulcrum Marketing’s own Nick Brewer was once a resident of the North Pole, I jumped at the chance to take advantage of his contacts to get a feel-good story about Santa the holiday legend and his operations.
This is not that story.
Talking to Nick, he gave me the contact name of Buddy CurlyToes, one of the veteran elves at the Santa Workshop at the North Pole. Upon calling the workshop, the helium-voiced operator informed me that Buddy no longer worked there. When I asked if there was forwarding information so we could catch up with Nick’s old “Buddy,” the operator said that Buddy had retired to a farm upstate where they had no phones. As for my questions about how things were going in Santa’s Workshop, were there any new developments this year, and what gifts were going to be the hottest for this Christmas season, I was cut off abruptly: This is our busiest time of year. I’m sure you understand, but we simply don’t have the time to talk to reporters. If you’re really interested, next time try calling us in March. <click>
Pretty darn rude for an elf.
But when I got a call a few minutes later from an unknown number in the 907 area code, I picked up, bracing myself for a car warranty pitch. Instead, it was unmistakably the operator, not nearly as high-pitched or chipper, whispering conspiratorially from over a thousand miles away. And after a score of phone calls, Facetimes, and emails from anonymous elves and one elderly woman, I was given a shocking behind-the-scenes look at some Santa’s operations, both at the North Pole and in the field. The quoted statements are theirs, verbatim, withholding the attribution for their safety and anonymity.
Santa’s Little Shop of Horrors
According to multiple sources, Santa’s workshop now is more of a receiving operation than an actual toy-making factory. “Kids don’t want wooden trains and cloth dolls nowadays, if they ever did,” confessed one source. However, the workshop is still incredibly busy, with shipments coming 24/7 from around the globe with the bikes, video game consoles, iPhones, and occasional packs of woolen socks that are both too hot and itchy. All these presents must be wrapped, and sorted for eventual delivery. Lax, poorly maintained, and dangerous conditions in the workshop result in accidents occurring as well as leaving the facility vulnerable to future threats. Some examples include:
- Nearly daily slip-and-fall accidents due to persistent ice and slick conditions near entryways and inadequate floor maintenance and cleaning. “It’s a skating rink sometimes, and these felt elf shoes make it so we’re like kids in socks sliding around on a waxed hardwood floor – really dangerous when you’re working on heavy machinery.”
- Guards on a conveyor belt that had eroded over time allowed for one elf’s ears to be tangled in the conveyor, resulting in de-furring and emergency ear-tip removal. The unfortunate elf, now dubbed “Round Ears,” was subjected to merciless ridicule from his peers. “His wife left him too,” claimed one elf source. “Who could blame her?”
- Relentless, and often successful, threats to the North Pole facility and its workers and residents from outside perils, such as the Abominable Snow Monster, the Grinch, and White Walkers, not to mention run-of-the-mill holiday-hating baddies, killjoys, and crackpots. “Whenever we have a breach into the facility, security is beefed up, but after the threat has passed, nothing is maintained. What good are a 700-foot ice wall which is melting away, hundreds of intruder alarms which beep every 30 seconds because they need new batteries, or the reinforced steel doors with retinal scanner locks that are left propped open for days on end so elves can pop out for a quick smoke? We’re sitting ducks here for anyone on the naughty list to come get payback.”
Intrigued? Continue reading in our second installment in our three part Exposed! series.