I have an idea for a video game. It’s called Santa’s Helper, and you play the person who takes pictures for Santa. You must make decisions: which parents to shoot, which parents to reward, and which items to use.
You shoot parents for doing things like ordering a photo of four kids with Santa, and then insisting that all the ADHD-ridden children be looking at the camera and smiling at the same time. You also shoot them when they have you snap more than 10 pictures of their child, and then choose to have the very first picture printed. And when a parent complains about paying $8.00 for a picture with Santa, bang. There, of course, will be many more scenarios, but you get the picture (pardon the pun).
As for the guns, you’ll have your selection of several popular shotguns and handguns. Head shots aren’t worth as much as body shots because body shots hurt more.
When a parent does something awesome like giving you a $2.00 tip, saying “thank you,” or not caring whether or not their child is wearing the biggest smile known to man, you reward them. You can give them small things like candy canes or sugar plums, or you can give them big things like an I-owe-you from Santa Claus himself.
If you don’t reward enough good people, your business starts to fail. If you don’t shoot enough bad people, you start to become over taken by the hord.
Seriously, I want this made into a video game. It would be very therapeutical. On a more serious note, I learned a lot (and really did have fun) being Santa’s Helper during the Christmas season this year. Here’s my list (in no particular order):
1. Explaining to people that they’re responsible for something works like magic in getting them to make a purchase. I think it’s the guilt factor. The money we made off of photos was what paid Santa to be there. If someone didn’t want to buy a photo, but tried to take one with his/her cell phone, I said, “we ask that you buy a picture if you’re going to take your own.” Many times the response was, “I’m not paying $8.00 for a picture,” in a very rude tone. At that point I knew they were going to buy a picture because they gave me the opportunity to reply, “it’s just that the pictures are what support Santa’s being here from year to year.” Bing, the magic phrase. There was only one (uno) time when that didn’t convince the person to buy a photo. I did use that rebuttal somewhat sparingly as I saved it for the rude parents.
2. Kids are usually great to deal with. Adults are usually great to deal with. But dealing with parents and their kids at the same time is dirty work. I can’t tell you how many times I was seconds away from snapping the perfect picture only to be interrupted by a parent telling his/her child to look at the camera. At this point, the child would look at the parent, the smile would fade slightly, and the perfect opportunity would be ruined.
3. Apple is must have kicked butt in sales this season. Other popular brands are Dora the Explorer, Nintendo 3DS and DSi, Lego, and Toy Story.
4. Foreigners love, love, love it when they’re greeted by an American in their native language. The connection you’ll achieve with the foreigner is superb. It’s totally worth taking the time to learn greetings in every language.
5. Getting paid for creating art also means having your art insulted time after time. Nine out of ten pictures weren’t worth eight measly doll-hairs to a parent. All the hard work pays off, though, when you get that parent who stops and says, “this picture is wonderful,” or “you did an excellent job, thank you.” It’s also nice when people acknowledge the task at hand by saying, “I could never do this job.”
6. If a child is asked whether or not he/she has a girlfriend/boyfriend, nine times out of ten said child will answer with a drawn out “no” with an “eww” face.