A Three Kings Recession?

Another Three Kings Event

In between Christmas and New Year Dani went to another Los Reyes Magos (Three Kings) event. This time organised by Repsol the Spanish oil company. Everyone working for this global energy giant can invite their own kids, naturally. If the employee does not have children they are allowed to invite a close relative. Dani’s auntie is one such employee and she kindly invites him to the Repsol children’s party every Christmas.

Repsol are the biggest contributors to the Spanish treasury paying just under 9 billion euros in taxes to the Spanish government in 2015. That’s a lot of money. Imagine that! Paying all that money into a system that did not even have a government – see previous posts on the Spanish political merry-go-round. OK, I know. The world still turns. Similarly, the basic system still operates whether or not politicians can agree on the forming of a government. But it is still quite a thought eh?

“Presents” for the Kids

Each year all of the kids receive the same gift regardless of age. A little odd granted but with so many kids attending it simplifies things. In previous years Dani has come away with decent Christmas presents – popular family films on DVD. Disney’s Frozen was the gift one year for example. This year all the kids got was a packet of sweets. Worse than that. A Haribo “Sweet Party” no less. A selection box containing 4 packets of sugary chews and a long strip of marshmallow-like stickiness. Nice to see the company values the health of their employee’s children so highly.

So much money and so many employees. Yet they still can’t organise a Christmas party for the kids – or more to the point, get the kids what they really want at this time of year; a decent present…

The Usual Excuses…

Apparently the company is going through a belt tightening exercise and people are being made redundant. Instead of having volunteers playing the three kings (and their helpers) and bulk buying some good DVDs, this year they chose to outsource the whole event. Hired “kings” made only a fleeting, general appearance so there was no one-to-one interaction with the kids. There was some kind of puppet show and the presents were crap! Why they would do this is not really clear – to me anyway. Maybe outsourcing the Three Kings event is seen as a cost saving gesture. That would appear to be the perception the company is trying to give its employees.

Perception? More like deception. Cheapskate bastards I say. Why not just cancel it altogether? Couldn’t they find a spare €20k* or so? Couldn’t they write off that relatively small amount against their enormous tax bill?

The Grinch. Scrooge. Grumpy. Oscar the Grouch. I get it. Yes; I too can be all of those things and more. My right as an (moaning) old dad surely! But just like the rest of you I cannot stand some big corporation hypocritically pretending to be frugal when they are firing people. Undoubtedly, contracting out the kids’ Christmas party will have saved nothing. I would love to see the real figures. Meanwhile, like all huge companies, they will have top executives. Some of them will have salaries of more than a million euros. Funny how these characters never seem to be able to make a genuine statement – like putting their hands in their pockets for a kids Christmas party.

Bah humbug!

*Cost based on the following:    Repsol HQ houses some 4000 employees. Cost of DVD and a few sweets bought in bulk, approx. €5 per child. Total cost would be approximately; 4000 x 5 = €20,000. Clearly a very rough calculation without knowing the exact figures. However even doubling this would only come to €40k. Still a paltry amount for a company advertising itself as “leaders in the energy sector” (amongst other claims).


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