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The missing dolls

A BT Christmas Tale Part II


IT WAS the night before Christmas 
There was calm all around 
Little children were sleeping 
Wrapped tight in nightgowns

Oblivious to the chaos 
Playing out way up high 
Where, from Santa's workshop, 
Came a long string of sighs.

Said Santa, who knew 
Productivity was low: 
"My elves just don't cut it! 
Everything is too slow."

His elves were only making 
About three dolls per hour - 
A rate so poor, he knew 
That the outlook was dour.

The per-hour target 
Was for 10 dolls, you see 
Laid out by the Commission Of Supreme Efficiency.

"What else do you expect?" 
Said the Head Elf to Santa. 
"Cheap labour, low costs - 
That was always your mantra."

Chastised into submission 
Santa booked an appointment 
With a PIC vendor 
Who promised zero disappointment

"I have just the right machine 
For your toy-making needs! 
I'll train all your elves, 
They'll know how to proceed."

"And the smell of success 
Will be yours in a flash!" 
Swore the PIC vendor, 
Pocketing Santa's cash.

In case you were wondering, 
PIC stands for this: 
Pretty Immense Credit, 
Which was set up to assist

Workshops like Santa's 
Which were too labour-reliant.

The grant spurred automation, 
Firms were generally compliant.

But instead of solving Santa's 
Productivity pains, 
The machine sputtered and failed 
Why, the elves could not explain

How this happened at all! 
They knew not the fix. 
So Santa ordered his elves 
To get back into the mix

They made dolls from scratch 
Working as fast as they could 
They wanted so badly 
To reward kids who'd been good.

But St Nick was aware 
Christmas Day was nigh 
"This can't be happening again!" 
Was his frustrated cry.

(If you missed last year's story 
Here's what you should know: 
The tight labour market 
Had disrupted Santa's flow

He had not enough reindeer 
To help pull his sleigh 
So plenty of children 
Were toy-less on Christmas day.)

When the time came for him 
To distribute gifts worldwide, 
Santa gathered all the toys 
And took things in his stride

But deep down he knew 
That he hadn't met his goal 
He hated to admit it, 
But he felt like a schmo.

And so, on Christmas morning 
Some kids awoke to gifts 
But others soon realised 
That something was amiss.

"I failed to deliver 
Once more in 2014. 
Will the Commission of Supreme Efficiency 
Step in to intervene?"

"Will they lower my target? 
10 dolls per hour is tough to breach. 
Perhaps as a more distant goal 
It'd be feasible to reach."

Poor Santa, poor elves, 
Poor kids on the ground. 
We'll see if next year 
Marks a happier round.

To watch an animated video of this poem, go to