You’ve seen him this holiday season. Some may wish to define him as a slacker. Some would call him a hipster. I don’t know, man. I just think he’s the worst elf ever.
Look at this Johnny-come-lately. He just strolls in like he owns the place, even though he’s the newest elf on the block. I’ve seen this before. A new hotshot that corporate pushed through the ranks.
He fires up the elf workers with a rousing, passionate speech. He wants these elves to offer tech support, even though, as elves, that is clearly not in the job description. But hey, we’re all doing more with less these days, and so on. He’s an elf for our times. A sad elf for our sad times.
Allow me a semi-related tangent. Just before I arrived at my newspaper job years ago, a former publisher at the paper was pushing a concept he touted as “The Power of One.” Now, from what I understand, the basic idea was that if the phone rang, and someone had a problem, or a question, YOU had to solve it. So, if you’re sitting in the newsroom, and a reader has a problem with his or her newspaper delivery, you wouldn’t be allowed to transfer the call to the circulation department. That would make too much sense. You had to step away from what you were doing, call the circulation department (or leave your desk and walk to the circulation department), figure out how to resolve the issue on your own, and return to the caller with a perfect solution. Even in theory, this sounds like a bad idea: People stepping away from their own jobs to do the jobs of others.
Not only that, but, apparently, the publisher told the employees that some of these callers would be plants. Fake readers. People who would only call in to see if workers were transferring calls. Yes, as absurd as it sounds, this was a real threat, though I don’t know if anyone ever acted on it.
What happened? I’m told that people just ignored their phones, which isn’t exactly ideal. And so, “The Power of One” mercifully died a quiet death.
What does this have to do with the Best Buy elf? Well, people are hired to do certain jobs. And these elves work all year long, making toys. That’s what they do. They’re Christmas elves. They’re born into it. And now, this little tool with a soul patch/goatee rolls in and tells these elves they have to provide tech support, and you know what? Initially, the elves embrace the idea. Because elves help Santa, and they’ll do so in any way they can. They recognize technology is changing everything. They’ve gotta adapt. Little Billy isn’t asking for a homemade wooden train these days, after all. It’d be good for an elf to know his or her way around a smartphone, I suppose, though it’s not very romantic.
Then, the Best Buy elf drops the bombshell. The elves have to work Christmas.
The other elves, rightly, stare at Kenneth — yes, that is his name — clearly thinking, “Is dude for real?” Christmas Day is the one day where they can sit back and relax in peace, proud in knowing the fruits of their labor are being enjoyed by good little Christian tots all over the world. But not anymore. Now they have to sit in a call center on Christmas and explain to Aunt Nancy how to unlock an iPhone. Give ‘em that one day, Kenneth. For the love of all that is holy, let them have Christmas Day.
I’m sure this announcement was met with grumbles and simmering outrage among members of the elf community, who were likely told, “Just be happy you have a job.” I mean, I never took Santa as a big supporter of outsourcing, but you can’t be too sure these days.
I hoped that the befuddled elves would tear Kenneth apart, tiny limb by tiny limb, just after the commercial ended. Sadly, it was not to be. He would return:
HE KILLED A UNICORN. HIS KILLJOY ATTITUDE DEFLATED A MAGICAL UNICORN, THEREBY KILLING IT.
And I know the economy’s rough, but does he have to rub our faces in it? Magic doesn’t help people save money, Kenneth. Sound financial decisions do! People believing that we can work “magic” with money is what got us into trouble in the first place! So don’t bring the snowman to life with the words, “Christmas Magic.” You don’t understand it.
I can’t remember a good Best Buy commercial, but ol’ Kenneth is turning Best Buy into a Christmas villain. Look out Grinch! Step aside, Burgermeister Meisterburger! You’ve got company!
And of course Kenneth is drinking coffee. Of course he is. I wonder if he knows this coffee guy. (Second video in the link.) They’re probably real good friends.