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I mean, Santa has been around for a while and his elves have been making kids toys since before I was born, so why do companies always tend to do so well and have empty shelves at around Christmas time? I get that parents and siblings can get gifts for other family members, and let's not mention Black Friday, but seriously, the shelves can't be THAT empty! Also, I do understand the hardware stores having empty shelves so the elves can have supplies to build the toys, but what about stores like Target and Walmart? And why aren't hardware stores as empty anyway?!?!?! Something just doesn't add up and my parents won't give me a legitimate answer.

P.S. I would ask Santa myself, but apparently the Post Office "doesn't deliver" to the North Pole.

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closed as off-topic by Renan, L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica, Vincent, nzaman, Sec SE - clear Monica's name Jun 15 '18 at 6:32

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "This question does not appear to be about worldbuilding, within the scope defined in the help center." – Renan, L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica, Vincent, Sec SE - clear Monica's name
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Santa's list QA and delivery timeliness are rather poor in reality, so smart parents buy gifts just in case. $\endgroup$ – user535733 Jun 15 '18 at 0:13
  • $\begingroup$ Hello Aaron Thomas, and welcome to Worldbuilding. Please take our tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have a nice day! $\endgroup$ – Gryphon - Reinstate Monica Jun 15 '18 at 1:18
  • $\begingroup$ ATTENTION VTCers! Questions about Santa are a unique tradition (consider this, too) on Worldbuilding.SE that bends the rules. Questions about Santa are on-topic here (which means the three Off-Topic:NWS votes are inappropriate). $\endgroup$ – JBH Jun 15 '18 at 4:18
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Santa gives gifts to good kids.

Which, of course, means that parents have a problem... what happens if your kids are not "good kids"? You guess they are, but you cannot really be completely sure1.

And we have improved a lot since the time Santa Claus did start working; now we know that it is bad idea to shame the kids by having them being the only ones in the neighbourhood without presents. Once the word runs out that such and such kid did not get Santa's presents, the other kids start avoiding them2, which makes bad kids sad and they end behaving worse. The resulting downward spiral can have terrible effects in the kids lifes, and the kids can end becoming computer programmer or any other awful thing...

So, the parents quietly buy backup presents, just in case Santa does not leave his. If Santa delivers, the presents are quietly returned to the shop; if he does not then the kid will get the backup present and the parents will know that they have to find ways for the kid to become a better person before the next Christmas.


1Did that goldfish actually jump from the bowl through the windows all by itself? Did that vase suddenly crack on its own just when your kids were playing with the ball near it? I mean, I am pretty sure the answer is yes, but...

2Nobody wants to risk next year's presents, of course.

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Just-in-time stock systems are used these days by all major retailers. They keep very little stock “in the back” because it isn’t cost effective. Well, at Christmas, it isn’t even cost effective to stock “up front” on the actual shelves. Who is going to buy gifts when Santa is undercutting the market with free stuff? So they let their supplies dwindle and restock in the spring.

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Parents keep Santa's actual gifts.

Santa's gifts are not some lousy plastic & electronics toys, he actually gives very nice presents.

So nice that the parents keep them for themselves.

Of course, there is a problem: if the kid does not get a present, he might not behave well the next year, making Santa to skip their houses. In order to avoid that, parents leave some cheap toys in place of Santa's present to keep the kids happy and get them to behave well to get next year's presents.

And in case you are worried about the ethics of the situation, it is a completely ethical situation. After all, the parents had their presents stolen by their own parents when they were children, so it is just a matter of justice that now they get their kids'presents, isn't it? After all, the whole idea of having kids is to get those presents...

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  • $\begingroup$ This sounds......somewhat Orwellian $\endgroup$ – Jasper R. Jun 15 '18 at 1:12
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    $\begingroup$ @JasperR. I would say more "plain dystopic" than Orwellian. After all, it is not as if parents were using a fake, invented figure in order to get compliance from their kids... :-p $\endgroup$ – SJuan76 Jun 15 '18 at 7:33
  • $\begingroup$ @SJusn76: Soylent green is.....oh wait, wrong reference $\endgroup$ – Jasper R. Jun 15 '18 at 13:13

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