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PC rules blamed for Santa shortage
DISILLUSIONED by a growing list of rules imposed by recruiting agencies and shopping centres to guard against litigation, men who have brought smiles to the faces of thousands of young West Australians for decades are reluctantly deciding to call it quits.



They can't hand out lollies, they can't pat children on the head because of religious beliefs, they can't put children on their laps unless they get permission from parents and they can't have photographs taken with youngsters unless their hands are in full view.

So frightened have some Santas become of being sued that they are demanding extra helpers to act as witnesses just in case a complaint is made.

Santas are even being told not to go around saying 'Ho, ho, ho' because they may frighten children.


One Santa told The Sunday Times he walked through a shopping centre in silence because he was worried he'd be sacked if he appeared too jolly.

Political leaders Matt Birney and Brendon Grylls (Nationals) said the plight of Santas highlighted a worrying trend around the world of political correctness gone mad.

Labor Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich said it was important society struck the right balance between political correctness and what some people saw as acceptable behaviour.

For Athol Marsh, who has donned the red-and-white suit for 41 years, and John Gomez, who has played Santa for a decade, the pressure ofbeing politically correct has become too much and they say this will be their last year playing the jolly man.

Many other Santas will follow them into retirement, while some of their former colleagues have been hanging up their boots since the rules began evolving a few years ago.

"Kids want to have a real Santa, not a grouchy fake who can't wait to knock off and get out of costume," Mr Marsh said.

"The ones who did the job because they loved doing it and wanted to keep a child's dream alive are no longer working because of the stupid rules and a lot are thinking, as I am, that this will be the last year.

"There are still Santas in stores, but the heart has gone out of them.

"The rules are getting ridiculous.

"How can you stop a child running up to you and leaping into your arms? Do you just drop them and say: 'Sorry, against the rules'?

"Kids run and cuddle Santa because they love the guy in the red suit."

Mr Gomez said the day was coming when Santas would no longer be a part of the Christmas spirit.

He feared Santas in shopping centres and public areas would be shielded behind glass screens, away from children.

"It used to be a fun job. I used to look forward to it every year, but not any more," he said.

"The fear of litigation hangs over you because you might have grabbed a kid the wrong way or helped a kid in the wrong way.

"Santa can't even be portrayed as a fat, jolly old fellow any more because it's not politically correct.

"Once upon a time you'd walk through the mall saying 'Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas', but now you say nothing."

The Sunday Times has been told that shopping centres and other venues are battling to find enough Santas.

Perth-based Westaff, which employs Santas every year, is still 10 short with only three weeks until Christmas.

A Westaff spokeswoman said Santa recruits were given a list of rules to follow at an annual training session in Perth.

Some rules had been introduced to protect the Santas and shopping centres from possible litigation, she said. Santas also required a police clearance.
Since I am about to go to the US I might as well post this here before I go
 

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The Hunter
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And they are worrying about being politically correct. Just come and see our Sinterklaas and you'll notice what is 'wrong'.

A catholic old man who asks children on his lap, while he is letting his black Petes do all the work. :p

I can't stand how some people can make such a big deal out of nothing, it's tradition, why do they have to ruin all the fun for the little ones. I've been into a store a week ago where a friend of mine was playing a black Pete was walking around giving the children candy or just talk to them. And yes, some of the children started to cry because of the person in black, but they don't hurt them or whatever. :???:

Here's a nice picture, and I think this is actually a lot more political uncorrect than good ol' Santa.
 

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Wind, Life, Eternity
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Wow... so many orange stars posting oO I guess I better break the streak now.
Other things are trying to be politically correct too, like how more races appeared in the new Harry Potter movie :p
 

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Cid Highwind said:
And they are worrying about being politically correct. Just come and see our Sinterklaas and you'll notice what is 'wrong'.

A catholic old man who asks children on his lap, while he is letting his black Petes do all the work. :p
I pointed this out to my family and they thought the story was pretty stupid too. :p But yeah, Santa has nothing on Sinterklaas. If Sinterklaas were in the U.S., I just know the NAACP would be all over it because the idea of using only black servants is a wee bit more politically incorrect than a fat guy who puts children on his lap asking for what they want.
 

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The Hunter
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@ Vanit
I think that's the European origin of Santa actually. Instead of ***** slaves they gave him dwarfs or whatever creatures to do the work, and from a catholic religious man they turned him into Santa. However, it seemed this Bishop did exist a couple of hundred years ago.

Let's just say Santa is a lot more politically correct. And I think that points out at the fact that people just should not complain that much. It's just entertainment and fun, why make such a big problem of little things that aren't meant to be offensive.

Edit: Why do you all have to post at the same time? :p

@ Ryos:
Q: Are you from the US?
Here's some background info on the dude: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinterklaas
 

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Yeah, Sinterklaas was the real deal. Santa I'm 99% sure was based on Sinterklaas but never existed historically like Sinterklaas did. I don't know how or why Sinterklaas evolved into Santa, but it's never been interesting enough to me to investigate and answer those questions.
 
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