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From: Ian Gibson (
Date: Mon Dec 15 1997 - 03:02:00 EET

MEMORANDUM - Restructuring at the North Pole

Seasons Greetings!

The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the

early reindeer retirement package has triggered a good deal of concern
whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions
the North Pole.

Streamlining was appropriate in view of the reality that the North Pole
no longer dominates the season's gift distribution business. Home
channels and mail order catalogues have diminished Santa's market share
he could not sit idly by and permit further erosion of the profit

The reindeer downsizing was made possible through the purchase of a late

model Japanese sled for the CEO's annual trip. Improved productivity
Dasher and Dancer, who summered at the Harvard Business School, is
anticipated and should take up the slack with no discernible loss of

Reduction in reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental emissions
which the North Pole has been cited and received unfavorable press.

I am pleased to inform you and yours that Rudolph's role will not be
disturbed. Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole.
Management denies, in the strongest possible language, the earlier leak
Rudolph's nose got that way not from the cold, but from substance abuse.

Calling Rudolph "a lush who was into the sauce and never did pull his
of the load" was an unfortunate comment, made by one of Santa's helpers
taken out of context at a time of year when he is known to be under
executive stress.

As a further restructuring, today's global challenges require the North
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
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


The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice mail system,
a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the
have been calling, how often and how long they talked.

The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of Directors.
Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could have negative
tions 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
It has long been felt that the production rate of one egg per goose per
is an example of the decline in productivity. Three geese will be let
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.

The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order.
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
by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce is being sought.
more militant maids consider this a dead-end job with no upward
Automation of the process may permit the maids to try a-mending,
or a-mulching.

Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will
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
band getting too big. A substitution with a string quartet, a cutback
new music and no uniforms will produce savings which will drop right
to the bottom line.

We can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people, fowl, animals
other expenses. Though incomplete, studies indicate that stretching
deliveries over twelve days is inefficient. If we can drop ship in one
service levels will be improved.

Regarding the lawsuit filed by the attorney's association seeking
to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing") action is

Lastly, it is not beyond consideration that deeper cuts may be necessary
the future to stay competitive. Should that happen, the Board will
management to scrutinize the Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs
the right number.

Dr. Ian Gibson
Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical Engineering
The University of Hong Kong
tel: (852) 28597901
fax: (852) 28585415

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