Holiday swag

It’s Christmas time, and, in the publishing world, that means just one thing: swag.

My office is cluttered with candy and booze and stress-relieving squeeze toys with the logos of software companies printed on them. Actually, precious little booze. We’re a trade publication, so PR agencies go cheap with us, typically. But in my head, they send booze, because we’re all so important here.

Anyway. My point is that there’s a lot of crap around, and it sort of frightens me to think of how much money these PR agencies spend on these holiday tchotchkes. Also, the theory behind it mystifies me: has anyone ever written even one article because some company’s PR person sent them a greeting card and a keychain? I guess it’s just supposed to a be general “hey thanks”, but it’s still kinda weird, if you ask me. But then, I don’t even send Christmas cards to my family and friends, so perhaps we should ask someone else.

Here’s a story: A couple years ago, during the holiday swag season, we took in a particularly good haul over here in editorial, and started keeping our toys and candy and whatnot in baskets, also sent by PR firms, at various locations around the department. Whenever someone would start feeling peckish — low blood sugar, no doubt, on account of the stress of producing all those “Best of the Year/Worst of the Year” wrap-up pieces — they’d holler “Hey, throw me some candy!” and the person sitting nearest the Swag Basket would toss them a festive green-and-red Snickers or whatever.

One day, one of the marketing guys stopped by to say hey. If you’re not in publishing, here’s something you should know: the marketing guys make more money than editors. (The janitors make more money than editors, but that’s another story.) So this guy — who’s very nice, by the way, so nothing against him — happens to see all of us munching on our candy and tossing Hersey’s Kisses at each other and whatnot and says, “Ah, editorial. Home of holiday graft.”

The stress and the sugar must’ve gotten to me, because I said, “Yes, that’s right, [marketing person], editorial is the home of holiday graft. Is that your Audi out front? I can see how you must be consumed with jealousy. You make twice as much money as I do … and I get a candy apple.”

It’s amazing I haven’t been fired. Yet.

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