You Think Being Santa is Easy, huh?

Over the years, we have developed many processes that make it possible for our Christmas team to process over 1,500 children who will receive almost 10,000 gifts and with only five gift errors this year. Not bad, huh? We also have developed a system that ensures we have collected the family and children information correctly. This information is captured in a database and is printed off as a receipt which we review with the parent at the time of entry to make sure we got it right. We then print off a hardcopy receipt which the parent will need to bring back when they come to pick up their gifts, which is usually some weeks later.

Over the years, we have had many a parent come back and tell us their gift receipt is missing. And can we print off a new copy? “Yes,” we say, “but it will cost you $8.” Then, the haggling begins, but we always win. At least I thought so until this year. We had a mother come in with her receipt. Take a look at the picture below. When she handed me the paper, I just started to laugh. “But let me tell you the story,” she said. “I took the receipt you gave me and hung it on my refrigerator until I knew that the gifts were ready to be picked up. One day, as I has passing by the refrigerator, I notice that your receipt had been cut up, and there were three big holes in it. They are going to kill me, I thought. How am I going to get the presents when they see what happened to their receipt?”

I was still laughing as she handed me the piece of paper. As I took it from her, I started laughing louder. “What happened?” I struggled to ask. “Well, my daughter who is 7 years-old wanted to try out a new pair of scissors we had purchased. Looking around for something to try the scissors on, she noticed the paper hanging on the refrigerator door. So, she took it down and practiced cutting squares on the paper until I walked in and saw what she was doing.” I was still laughing, my poor receipt; what happened to you!

I saw that the number was still on the paper, so I knew I could find the gift bags, but I had to look the number up on the computer so I could verify the gifts belonged to her. They did, and I went and got the bags of gifts and handed them to the mother. It was the first time I saw her smile. Up until that time, she had a very worried look on her face. “Merry Christmas,” I said. “Merry Christmas to you. And thank you for understanding.” “Oh, it’s okay. I have five kids of my own. And, look, I survived!”