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Commentary :: Labor & Economics

The Boss Who Stole Christmas (A Christmas Tale For Workers)

A very merry Christmas tale.

The Boss Who Stole Christmas (A Christmas Tale For Workers)

Author: Stephen DeVoy

Thanksgiving was around the corner.  Inventory was up and sales were down.  The boss wanted a large bonus but was unsure of his prospects so he compared this year's projected bottom line to last year's.  To his dismay, this year, though better than last, was not as profitable as predicted.  He had an image to uphold, his children expected many gifts, and his wife was telling tall tales about his success as of late.  The boss needed to do something and do it fast if he were to rescue this year's precious bonus.

The boss sat there at the desk in his corner office.  He took out his shit-list and began to run the numbers.  He scored each report in terms of a brownnose scale.  Those with high scores were "yes" men and woman and always made him look good.  Some even made him feel good, but that was another story.  At the end of the scale were those who did not suck up to his ego and had the temerity to think themselves his equals.

Next to each employee he wrote down the amount he or she would earn between now and the end of the year.  Using this information and taking into account the effect on the average brown-nose factor, he computed the optimal number of employees to fire, whereby optimal he meant the most brown-nosing for the buck and the greatest payoff in terms of making the yearend projection acceptable.

Those who would survive the cut were called into his office.  They were instructed to withhold cooperation and support from those who did not make the cut.  No employee was to speak about the matter and those who cooperated would received a small increase in their yearend bonuses.

The performance of those employees with a small brown-nose weight began to decline.  The boss gave each a verbal notice, followed by a written notice and then, on the day before Thanksgiving, he fired the lot of them.  As the workers, some of his most productive, left the office, carrying boxes, trying to figure out how to explain to their children that Christmas had been cancelled this year, the boss ran into his boss's office with his profit projections for the year.  He was right on track!

Shortly before Christmas, the boss received his high bonus and then put ads in the Sunday paper to replace the workers he fired.  The new workers would not be hired until after January.

The boss returned to his home, showed the fat check to his wife and proudly declared to his children that this would be a wonderful Christmas.  He was proud of what he owned.  He looked out of his window at his driveway and felt butterflies of pride within his stomach as he admired his Porsche and Mercedes.  He looked over at his neighbor's houses and smirked at their Fords and Chevrolets.  "Man, I love being rich," he thought.  "Who's the man?  I'm the man!  Who's the man?  I'm the man!" he repeated to himself, over and over in his head while humming.

At the homes of the fired workers things were bleak.  Some borrowed money to buy gifts.  One was going to lose his house.  Another was bed ridden with depression.  Things got more and more gloomy as the children of the fired workers gave their parents lists of presents for Santa to bring.  It was a sad Christmas indeed.

Two of the workers were friends and one explained to his oldest son what had happened.  The two older children of the two friends, three of them in all, began to discuss the situation.  They too could afford no presents.  They wanted to give something to their parents.  They hoped that by putting their thoughts together they would come up with something.  And so our story begins with three older children discussing their predicament.

Jorge, Mari, and Pete gathered in Jorge's garage.  Jorge sat on an old dust covered bicycle.  Mari sat on a crushed box.  Pete paced back and forth.

Pete had been talking about what the boss did to their parents.  The three were in agreement that something must be done.

"That motherfucker is going to have a wonderful Christmas," he said.  "My father and your mother are going to have a rotten Christmas.  We've got to do something about this!"  His face was serious.  He was angry.  He knew his father had been working hard and did not deserve to be fired.

Mari looked up and added, "Yeah, but what can we do?  He lives in an expensive house.  He has powerful friends and you know that nothing we do will get our parents' jobs back."

"That's not the point," interrupted Jorge.  "The point is that this greedy slob has something coming to him."

"Let Karma take care of it," replied Mari.

"We are Karma," shouted Pete.  "If we want justice to exist, we must create it.  Justice is made by those who act on its behalf.  It doesn't just happen."

"So what do you propose we do?" asked Mari.

She had a mischievous look on her face.  Mari was one part muse and one part imp.  Now that her mind was going, anything was possible.

Jorge smirked, "We could flatten his tires or throw eggs at his house."

"That's no enough," said Pete.  He'd just put air in his tires and have the egg cleaned off his house.  We need to do something that will last, something that he will not forget and more importantly something that will ruin his Christmas.

Mari's eyes lit up.  "I know just what to do," she declared.  "Flat tires and eggs are good, but public humiliation is even better."

"What are you thinking about?" Pete asked.  "Holding a protest in front of his house would be a bit lame.  Everyone would see us as envious little brats and he might like that."

"Not just any protest," Mari giggled.  "I'm thinking of a very special, seasonally appropriate, stealthy kind of protest."

"Like what?" asked Jorge.

Mari began to explain her plan.  At each turn she became more and more animated.  She was on her feet now, gesturing with her hands and painting a beautiful picture of revenge.  Each of the three contributed their ideas.  They reached consensus and decided to follow through with the agreed upon plan.

They gathered eggs and pricked them with pins to allow bacteria to get inside and help them rot faster.  Jorge sharpened his tire punch.  Pete spent a lot of time writing and rewriting the script.  Finally, Christmas Eve was upon them and everything was ready.  The three took a bus across town and then walked a mile to the house of the boss.  It was around 8:00 in the evening.  The winter sky was dark and within each house families could be seen enjoying their Christmas Eve in bliss.

Quietly, they punctured the boss's tires, first the Porsche and then the Mercedes.  They made sure each had enough eggs for their own use and a few spare eggs just in case anyone joined in.  Finally, the three gathered together.  They stood in the boss's front lawn, right in front of the door to the house.  They could see a large turkey on the boss's dinner table.  The boss looked happy.  His children looked happy.  The boss's wife looked happy.

Each of the children pulled out a small booklet that Pete had made.  Printed inside were the words for several Christmas carols.  The sequence was very traditional.  It began with Silent Night, The Little Drummer Boy and Joy To The World.  It ended with a special song written by Pete to be sung to the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

The three began to sing.

"Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright..."

Their beautiful voices filled the air.  The boss's family, perfectly visible from the large window in the dining room, turned towards the window.  The boss smiled.  He looked out the window.  The children continued singing.

"...Round young Virgin, Mother and Child, Holy Infant so tender and mild..."

The boss looked at his family.  "Look, of all the houses they chose to start with ours."  He was impressed with himself.  "Surely," he thought to himself, "the children of my loyal workers have come to serenade my family."

The neighbors began to peek out their windows.  The children continued to sing.

"...Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace..."

The boss opened the front door of his house.  His family gathered at the entrance.  They smiled and looked down on the carolers with an air of superiority.  The children sang beautifully and in time some of the boss's neighbors opened their doors and looked towards the boss's house where the strains of Christmas carols filled the crisp night air.

The children finished their sequence of traditional songs and then began singing the special song they had written for the boss.  All was going according to plan.  And as they sang, some of the neighbor's children left their houses and joined with the children of the fired workers.  The growing group sang with emotion and spirit:

God damn you greedy gentleman, you’ve left us in dismay,
You’ve fired our poor parents, and stole their hard earned pay;
We’ll show you workers’ power for you have gone astray.  

Oh tidings of anger from the unemployed, anger of the unemployed
Oh tidings of anger from the unemployed

Your capitalist ass has led you to do this
Your moral sense has slipped into the abyss
And now we upon your lawn do take a vengeful piss  

Oh tidings of anger from the unemployed, anger of the unemployed
Oh tidings of anger from the unemployed

From the fist of unity our songs of blame are laid
And unto certain punishment, we your lawn invade
We share with your our misery, the hell that you have made 

Oh tidings of anger from the unemployed, anger of the unemployed
Oh tidings of anger from the unemployed

"Fear us, then," sing the workers, "Let our contempt afright
This day we resolve to take your bliss and replace it with our blight
To raise our spirits above the gloom that we feel this very night."

Oh tidings of anger from the unemployed, anger of the unemployed
Oh tidings of anger from the unemployed

Look at your neighbors they are peering from their doors
To look upon your humiliation, hoping to see more
To see you brought down to your knees and grovel on the floor

Oh tidings of anger from the unemployed, anger of the unemployed
Oh tidings of anger from the unemployed

God damn the ruler of this house, and send him straight to hell
And never a merry Christmas may you enjoy so well
Among those from whom you’ve abused and robbed, your reputation fell

And we send you torment for the new year, torment for the new year
And we send you torment for the new year

As the children finished their carol, the boss began to shrink towards the interior of his house.  Before he was able to shut the door, the crowd of children, which had now grown large, launched a barrage of rotten eggs into the interior of the boss's house.  

It was a very merry Christmas.


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