Monday, November 30, 2009

Private Sector Service Roll-backs Taking Place in 2010

Perhaps it’s not surprising given the fragile state of the domestic economy, but the recession is finally taking its toll on me. That’s right. I am being forced by new fiscal realities to institute several cost-cutting measures to avoid having to lay anyone off. I would like to say that despite all the rumors that have been floating around the house for the past few weeks, I do not anticipate having to reduce our payroll. I should point out, however, that this should not be taken for granted. Performance evaluations are coming up, and each and every employee here in the household will be scrutinized to determine whether or not we are functioning in the most efficient manner possible. If not, you know the rule: last hired, first fired. I'm sorry, Emma. I know you’re only 4, but consider this the first of many lessons about instability in the marketplace and the lingering effects of the housing bubble.

In lieu of workforce reductions right before the holidays to make our bottom line look a little better for the sake of our shareholders -- which, frankly, was my preferred option as it would have been the easiest way to improve our outlook for 2010 -- instead I will be scaling back on my services in the coming new year. While service pricing will remain the same or, in some instances, increase, service roll-backs will occur in all sectors of the household in one of four ways:

• Some services will be eliminated;
• some services will be combined with other services (“service dilution”);
• some services which we had promised we would think about adding we will no longer even pretend to be considering;
• and still others will make us laugh out loud like Santa Claus – that’s right, the whole clutching of the belly followed by hearty ho,ho,ho’s -- if you have the stones to ask.

Specific examples of these rollbacks are as follows:
• I will no longer be turning sleeves and whole coats right side out when they have been removed by the wearer and dropped on the floor just inside the front door.
• Lights that have been left on in bedrooms when no one is in them for more than five consecutive days will be dealt with in the following manner: the light bulbs will be removed and put aside until the user swears on a stack of Miley Cyrus CD’s that she will remember to turn them off before leaving for school. Daytime usage will be closely monitored thereafter and repeat offenders may be forced to do homework exclusively during daylight hours.
• And further to that, all Hannah Montana wigs (aka, “pint-sized tranny wigs”) will be thrown in the garbage when they have reached the point of being uncombable. I alone will decide when that point has been reached, although generally I find that they are unusable within about three days of purchase.
• No projects requiring hand-sewing will be undertaken during FY 2010. If you lose a button, take it up with Nana.
• Socks will now be paired – if at all – without regard for size or color.
• I will now encourage all toilet paper users to carry their own roll with them. Just like they do in the army during war time. Or when you’re camping. Or when you're visiting certain lesser developed countries. Please see my full list of in-service training videos for further information on correct installation of toilet paper rolls if you don’t like this policy change.
• Caps will no longer be replaced on any marker or pen that has been left out on the dining room table. The only color which will now be available for school projects is burnt sienna. My loyal assistant, aka, the dog, will conveniently consume all other caps that have rolled onto the floor thus reducing my need to nag you all further.
• Anyone who lets the dog in on a rainy day without wiping her off will be beaten, fined, shunned, ridiculed, beaten again, mocked, taunted, and then put in the recyclable bin with a note pinned to her shirt that says “Number 3 Plastic.”
• I will no longer be killing bugs or spiders for free. Requests for pest eradication will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on how loud you’re screaming and if your father is home at the time and also awake.
• Razor scooters left in the front yard or behind the car in the driveway will be either given away to the first interested passerby who claims to be able to remember to put it away in the damned garage, or, as the case may be, run over.
• Double A batteries will no longer be given out indiscriminately. Factors that will be considered when “AA” battery requests are received: 1) How recently was the last set of “AA”’s given out? I.e., was the last set of batteries used up because the electronic item they were in was left on for several days? Really? Are you lying to me because I can tell, you know? 2) How loud and annoying is the electronic item for which it is being requested?; and 3) Did I have such an item when I was a kid? If the answer is no, and I don’t feel like getting off the couch, you will probably not be getting any batteries any time soon. See form 4311A “Battery Requisition Form” and be sure to fill in all required fields or the system will kick your request back out and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Let’s hope this downturn is only temporary, and we can get back to the full-service culture that you have come to enjoy during these “boom” years. Best wishes for a brighter 2010.

Yours sincerely,

CFO and Regional Ballbuster, East Coast Division
Winner, 1999-2009, “Most Effective Parental Sarcasm," as determined by J.D. Power & Associates