As a corporate speechwriter, I wrote a lot of prefaces to annual reports. Here is a sample:
As you can tell from reading the papers, it has been an exciting year here at Big Business Inc. and we are sorry to see that events at our company have negatively impacted your stock, which is dropping faster than a man without a parachute. But on the bright side, isn’t it fun to play “How Low Can It Go.”
Labor costs have risen through the roof this year, cutting into our annual profits and adding an additional burden to our cost of doing business. As you know our labor costs were competitive when we operated that factory in China and the kids, I mean trained labor, were able to work for five dollars a month.
Of course that little explosion, forced us to close the factory, meaning we had to lay off all the children, I mean trained labor. Well at the least; lay off the kids that survived the fire after the explosion.
And of course our legal costs have dramatically risen since our factory in Minneapolis was charged with polluting the water. Our stance is and always will be, “Look it is Minneapolis. The damn river is frozen 10 months a year, covered with ice at least four feet thick, so who even notices the red water? And there is no putrid smell, well at least until spring, when all the water melts.”
Plus additional costs were incurred when the Federal Government, strongly “encouraged” us to recall all of the Baby-Wet-Her-Pants-Dolls. It seems, for some strange reason, we had filled the dolls with toxic Chinese water with a lead content high enough to cut your IQ in half. Our argument, which the government rejected, was “How high can the kid’s IQ be anyway, if the parents buy our product? In fact lead poisoning might improve the kids’ IQs. And certainly couldn’t hurt the parent’s IQ any either.”
Upper management did not help our cause when a substantial amount of cash went missing the same time as our Chief Financial Officer, accompanied by his 23 year old secretary, took a trip to Brazil. Which is odd, as last time I checked, we have no factories in Brazil, but this could change if we can find inexpensive child labor – I mean if we can find “a well -trained labor” force in Brazil. And we do miss that secretary and her tight skirts.
Funny I should mention tight skirts, as we do have a number of sexual harassment suits pending against us. It might have been a bad idea to erect that Pole in the my office and encourage potential employees to show their dancing skills. Whoops!
But the year is behind us, and we would be remiss if we did not look ahead. There is a good chance that we can avoid future indictments and lawsuits as our fbusiness plans are geared towards transiting into the auto business, declaring bankruptcy and letting the government bail us out. Either that or start a bank.
Be assured that your upper management is always here working for you, which between you and me,may not be a good thing.
Nathan B. Fuddpucker
P.S. – I may be taking a business trip to Brazil . If I do not return, rest assured you will be in good hands with the rest of our management team, at least with those remaining, who have not packed their bags and joined me in Brazil.