Hanukkah Harry’s Supply Chain Mess

One of the Jewish spend management problems of the holiday season is the inordinate amount of attention paid to Santa's supply chain challenges. In compassion, Hanukkah Harry has it much worse. Still, before I continue kvetching about Harry's unique situation, it's important to go on my own holiday crusade (or would that be jihad?) to correct some of the Christian and Euro-Centric thinking that some other bloggers have around the holiday challenges Santa faces. First, it's total BS that, as one blogger suggests, that Santa must deliver packages to the "1.9 billion children in the world" during a "24-hour period." To assume that all of the nearly 2 billion children in the world believe in some fat guy coming down the chimney is bunk. If we look at the growing numbers of kids being raised Muslim in the world -- let alone Buddhist or Hindi -- that Santa skips over, we've got to knock this number to one billion or less.

Moreover, Santa has more than 24 hours to get his work done. Adjusting for the movement of the sun and moon around the globe, he has more like 48 hours to plan and get everything right. That's imminently doable. Oh, and the North Pole has no minimum wage, so Santa has his pick of all the low-cost elves he needs without having to worry about paying too much for too little, not to mention all those pesky payroll taxes (after an IRS audit and immigration border detention for 1099 contractor issues, he decided to do away with the elfin ICs...). Rumor also has it that Santa's posse is in close to the politburo in China and that the toy producers/factories he works with in the region have some special VAT rebate scheme, where some of the savings are kicked back to him (explains the fatter and fatter belly). No word yet on the US filing anti-dumping complaints or Santa's role in ongoing currency manipulation, but we hold out hope.

That brings us to Hanukkah Harry's unique set of issues. Not only does Harry have less buying power than Santa, his loose ties to Israel have hurt his ability to deal with Chinese state-owned suppliers (who would rather sell arms and expertise to Iran in exchange for oil and downed stealth drone planes than risk the ire of their Persian partners). So without China, Harry is faced with the need to buy from more expensive toy producers. Because of this, Jewish buying power -- as measured in the pounds of toys kids received -- doesn't go quite as far. But it also means these kids are much less likely to test positive for lead paint in their bloodstreams.

The biggest challenge Harry faces is the need to distribute toys over the multiple nights of Hanukah. Think about it -- his challenges are magnified eightfold! Moreover, thanks to the forced migration of the Jewish diaspora over the centuries, Hanukkah Harry must operate globally. He's also serving a much smaller population (estimates put the world Jewish population at just over 13 million). This suggests -- and I'm ballparking here -- maybe 3 or 4 million Jewish kids to provide gifts to. To solve part of this problem, rumor is that Harry's in bed with Fedex and UPS on the airfreight side of things.

Logistics are just part of the problem though. Jewish kids across the world don't all speak the same language (we don't have the King James Bible to unite us in English). Harry must figure out whether he labels his gifts in Hebrew, Yiddish, English or Ladino (OK, maybe that one's dead). But as Yoda would say, linguistically talented he must be!

Hopefully our Christmas blog entry today has proven to you that Santa has it easy by comparison to Harry. Moreover, we hope it will make you more sensitive to the multicultural consumerism all around us.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all,

The Spend Matters Team

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