What do you do if you hire a Bad Santa?
We never really thought about what we would do either until we hired are very own Bad Santa.
Our Bad Santa AKA Mr. Joseph Ailleo is an absolute Santa look a like. No doubt, if your kids see him, they will not question his authenticity. However, by being the subject of his vicious attacks on Facebook, seeing his profane language, and learning that he sends others to do his work in his place, we are sure that he is not the traditional Jolly Ol’ St. Nick this Christmas season.
Let’s back up a second and tell you what we do. For years we have held our annual brunch hosted with Santa for families in the Lake Ronkonkoma community. Thank you to all the families that attend, we appreciate you and your families very much. We view our Santa’s Brunch offering as a way to serve local families with great food, good times and most importantly great photos with Santa for the holiday season. For years we have received compliments and repeat business from local families. This year we planned to do the same and hired Mr. Joseph Aiello to perform the duties of Santa for the children.
There is no doubt that Mr. Aiello looks great as Santa when in full costume and on good days probably performs his duties very well. Unfortunately for us, Mr. Aiello never showed up and he sent us a poorly trained replacement Santa in his place. We are a resilient bunch at Windows and understand that things can happen with schedules, so we used the replacement Santa without too much of an issue. What else could we do, since the show must go on.
The problems arose when the replacement Santa arrived 45 minutes late for the event and then entered through the front of the establishment carrying his Santa costume on a hanger. This was a big problem for us as the replacement Santa was seen by several of the children in attendance carrying his costume. We received many complaints from those in attendance that were forced to answer uncomfortable questions from their children about why Santa’s not in uniform.
We definitely do not require that Santa come in on a sleigh, but coming to work prepared, on time and ready to work is a big part of our employees’ job and we expect the same with contractors. Still no harm, no foul. We just assumed that we had to find a solid Santa for the following week.
We agreed to a rate of $150 per engagement with Mr. Ailleo and paid in full on the spot to the replacement Santa. We feel that the rate of $150 for a 4 hour engagement is fair and reasonable for the duties required of a Santa and at the time so did Mr. Ailleo.
Last night and this morning is when our Bad Santa experience took a turn for the worst. Mr. Aiello has taken social media to vent his frustration and seek retribution against Windows on the Lake. We thank our online community for alerting us to this situation first thing this morning. We called Mr. Aiello as soon as we arrived in the office to better understand the issue without avail or recourse.
To see some of our Bad Santa’s comments, see the gallery below….(Please be aware that our Bad Santa uses profanity in his Facebook Posts listed)
As you can see much of the damage that could be done was done by Mr. Aiello via Social Media. Plus, people were priming our Santa to carry on as they shared, commented and encouraged his ruthless behavior. Imagine our horror to see that we are accused of short changing any of our workers in the Christmas season, no less Santa Claus.
We did not think that a day would come when a Bad Santa Claus would try to destroy our business. Trust us, Bad Santa or not, you do not want anyone actively attacking your business on social media. We found that for some it is easy to choose sides and throw stones with the veil of social media.
Imagine our day today. We were seeing Facebook Post after post popping from people that are taking Bad Santa’s side and belittling our family operated business. People that have never even been to our establishment are cursing and reviewing us with one star to hurt our business and as a result our families.
Honestly, who is to blame several people for taking Santa’s side on social media over a business owner who is being characterized as the modern day Scrooge? We would also think that was a raw deal and a bad company if we only saw one side. It is just part of the social media spectacle when fiction becomes fact and bad people dressed in Santa’s costume can gain credibility because their character gives gifts and tells who is naughty and nice during this season.
As of this writing, our Bad Santa is actively attacking our reputation and all good things that our family has built over the years with complete deceit. We honestly did not know that a guy dressed as Santa could do so much harm.
So to get back to the question, what would you do with a Bad Santa?
We do not really know either, however we have a Bad Santa on our hands and we can only move forward with what we do daily. We believe in the joy of the Christmas season, gift giving, hard work and truth. So we at Windows on the Lake can only hope that our values will be able to turn around a problem that will in the long run cost us money, time, effort and possibly our reputation.
As the owner of Windows on the Lake, I want to wish Mr. Aiello nothing but success in his future endeavors as Santa and hope that he is able to keep warm is his heart the real reason for the season.
So with that, there is nothing more important and sacred to us than our customer’s loyalty and trust. I want to thank you for hanging in there with us as we work through this to regain your trust and loyalty again.