A scarecrow and a pumpkin, in the fall. (Photo: Allison Bell/TA)

‘Twas the night before 4th Quarter when all through the land,

Not an agent was stirring, not even a Medicare rep’s phone hand.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that commissions would soon be there;

The agents were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of warm reward trips and bonuses danced in their heads;

And a sales director in her ‘kerchief, and a sales manager in his cap,

Had just settled their brains for a long conference call nap—‌

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,

Heads sprung from the conference table to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,

Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below;

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But an urgent email, and eight new sales reps staring like a deer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be a DTQ* or a high increase.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, to the team,

and call’d them by name:

“Now, David! now,Terri! now, Ryan and Jesse!

On, Kelly! on, Jordan! on, JB and Jim!

To the top of the top of the leaders’ board! to the top of the heap!

Now close that case! close that case! let’s just close them all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;

So up to the conference room they all flew,

With the sleigh full of proposals‍—‌and some alcohol too:

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney the head of sales came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of presentations was flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes‍ —‌ how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a mint-flavored toothpick he held tight in his teeth,

And clearly wished that smoke would come out and encircle his head like a wreath.

He had a broad face, and a little round belly

That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly:

He was chubby and plump, a wellness-program-resistant old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him in spite of my HR-compliant self;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And edited all the proposals; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprung to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove toward the state border —‌

“Happy Selling to all, and to all a good 4th Quarter!”


Brian Summers (Photo: Summers)

Brian Summers is the founding partner at Speyside Consulting Group LLC, a workplace marketing consulting firm. He previously was the territory sales manager for the New York City metropolitan area, Long Island and Northern New Jersey for a large player in the ancillary benefits market. For 16 years, he was a firefighter.