Poetic Licence: www.santa.co.uk

Internet Christmas shopping has rocketed. Online consultants Fletcher Research suggest shoppers will spend nearly as much over Christmas as they spent in the whole of 1998, when e-sales reached pounds 350m

Santa sounded anxious,

And said in interview:

"The system's nudging meltdown.

I'm not sure what to do.

Because of cyber-shopping

We've split the works up now.

Our system's still in Greenland

But depots are in Slough.

It used to be so simple

Before we had the screen.

A whipping top, a walnut

Perhaps a tangerine,

Downloaded via the chimney.

All packaged by an elf

A sack, a sleigh, it took a day

To do the job myself.

`It isn't broke - don't fix it.'

Which used to work out fine

The Internet changed all of that,

The day we went on-line.

When Rudolph headed transport

The clients knew his name

Now Reindeer Force delivers

It doesn't seem the same.

We used to have a client-base

Who had a bit of class

Your modem cyber-warrior

Just kicks you in the arse

The shoppers get so angry

There's stuff from girls of eight

Abusive things on e-mail.

Cos Tie-Dye Barbie's late.

We've doubled-up on packers

But competition's shocking

And half the stuff they order

You can't fit in the stocking

No option but re-training.

You won't hold progress back.

Or as we say in this trade,

You end up with the sack."

Martin Newell's book `New' costs pounds 6 inc p&p. Send cheques payable to Newell at JLMP 2 Featherbed Lane, Selling, Kent ME139QU