Monday 30 November 2009

How to duck a Christmas Box (from any Xmas doos)

Written for members of the South African Christmas Box Fatigue Society.

"Bah! Humbug!", Travis grumbled to an unknown petrol attendant at a strange BP on being asked for a Christmas box. Reflecting that this was neither an erudite nor emotionally intelligent way to say NO, he resolved to master the art of verbally ducking future Christmas box requests from undeserving chancers (or Xmas Doose) and share his ideas with you.

Now, in South Africa, the Christmas Box is a present usually given before the December Holidays for services rendered throughout the year. It is the domestic help's, gardener's, postman's, waste removal teams' (yes, very much plural), et al. equivalent of a thirteenth-cheque. It is ingrained in South African culture; like sunshine, braaivleis and amoral leading men (think Stander, Tsotsi and Jerusalema, fellow patriots)...

It is totally bogus for complete strangers to ask you for Christmas boxes, but that won't stop them. So, here's a list of four excuses to tackle Xmas Doose with linguistic cunning and emotional aplomb:

1 The Recession, Buster.

State bluntly: "I'd like to. But I just can't. I've just been re-trenched. At least you have a job!" Unlikely to work when you are driving a wa-benzi-type-vehicle or caught with bulging wallet.

2 You want to give me a Christmas Box?

Pretend you have a hearing problem. Look completely ignorant, say; "No thanks, I don't want a Christmas Box." "No, really, you don't have to give me one." "It's OK. Please keep yours." Frustrating for doos, very funny for you (and onlookers), if done well.

3 No credit, sorry.

Blurt out; "Sorry. My bank manager said I can't give any Christmas boxes this year. You don't want to put me in greater debt, do you?"
N.B. Must be done with a completely straight face. And, ideally, puppy dog eyes

4 I'm turning Japanese, I really think so.
Quietly say: "I've recently become a Japanese citizen. It's against my culture to tip anyone, especially a stranger." If pressed that when in SA one must do as SA citizens do, say angrily; "Like you eat raw octopus in Japan, huh? You lie!"

Wishing You A Very Merry Xmas-Doos-Free Christmas,


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