What Comes Next: Rare Exports

You can read my review of this here, and Fremont’s here.  If you’re not familiar with my What Comes Next series, you can read about it here.

Due to the nature of these posts, there will be spoilers.

Description from Netflix:
In the frozen beauty of Finland, local reindeer herders race against the clock to capture an ancient evil: Santa Claus.  A single dad and his son are caught up in the chaos as scientists dig for artifacts.  What they find endangers the entire village.

When we last left our favorite reindeer herders, they had destroyed the 50-foot horned entity known as Santa Claus, rendering all of his naked old-man minions harmless.  Where they were once fueled by the love of gingerbread and child abduction, they had suddenly become a gaggle of wandering, confused elderly folk.  But, due to the forward-thinking Pietari – with the help of his abducted friends he used as bait – all of these old men were now confined in an electric fence.

Naturally, these former reindeer herders decided the next logical step was human trafficking.  “We’ve got all these naked old men.  Let’s train them to be Santa and sell ‘em.”  Can’t find a flaw in their logic.

They arrived at the price of $85K per Santa, using a sophisticated system of pricing (“If dozens of reindeer are worth $85K, a single old man dressed as Santa is worth that same amount”).  I doubt they’d be able to get that much.  Actually, I doubt they’d be able to get much at all.  Here’s why:

They’re selling old men.  I’m not sure what their business strategy is, but I doubt they’re sending these old men out on loan.  They are being purchased.  But who is buying them?  They’re being purchased to play Santa Claus.  Are stores buying them?  Are individuals buying them, then loaning them out to stores?  For the sake of argument, let’s say stores are buying them and reusing them every year.  What do they do after Christmas?  Outside of sitting quietly and allowing children to tell them what they want (while creepily stroking the children’s hair), these Santas have no discernible skills.  They have no way to make money.  Which means the stores will either allow their Santa – the guy they just spent $85K on – to go homeless, or to house/feed them for the entire year, just for the purpose of playing Santa for a few weeks every year.  Combine the cost of housing and feeding a man for an entire year with the initial investment of $85K, and you’re spending an awful lot on a mall Santa every year.

Let’s say that it costs $900/month for an apartment and $100/week on food (which are both less than the American average).  That’s $16K per year on your Santa.  And that’s without factoring in medical costs (which these old men are sure to have quite a few of).  When you can slap a beard on a local fella and pay him peanuts, why would you pay that kind of money for a Santa?  They could charge $5 per Santa and it still wouldn’t be worth it.

However, it appears as though they were able to unload all of the Santas at $85K a piece, seeing as how the movie ends with them putting labels on boxes and shipping them out.  Someone ordered those Santas.  I don’t know why, but they did.

And then there’s this.  It took these converted reindeer herders a year to turn confused old men into serviceable Santas.  They had talked about how the lack of a reindeer herd that year would bankrupt them.  How did they survive for a year with no income?  Beyond supporting themselves, they had to care for 198 old men.  If they were just barely hanging on as it was, how did they suddenly have the money and resources to take care of an additional 198 people?

The movie assumes that they made it that year (seeing as how we see them the next year and everything seems to be going fine), but it’s worth pointing out the ridiculousness of it.

In a logical world, they would not have been able to sell those Santas.  The figurative wolves at their doors would have taken everything, while the literal wolves at their doors would have picked their frozen bones clean.

In this world, they make a cool $16.8 million by selling confused old men to a world full of suckers.  Seeing as how they don’t have a ton of stuff to spend money on in their current village (pig heads aren’t overly expensive), they all move to Helsinki and spend a ton of money on hookers and blow, until they find themselves broke and wrangling reindeer again a decade or so.

Or perhaps they live happily every after.  Maybe there are no hookers and blow in Helsinki.  As near as I can tell, there are no women at all in Finland.  And, according to Charles De Mar, you can get just as high on pure snow as you can on coke, and snow is everywhere in Finland.

Most likely, they managed their money wisely and lived a life of luxury for a time, before eventually being arrested for human trafficking and spending the rest of their days in prison.

Merry Christmas!