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For the Man for One Season, It’s Time For the Santa Course

November 17, 1991

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ For the aspiring man for one season, it’s time for the Santa Course.

Seven Santas-for-hire due to assume posts in shopping malls and department stores the day after Thanksgiving got a refesher course last week from Western Temporary Services, a California-based employment agency.

Among the pointers:

-Memorize reindeer names.

-Don’t promise puppies or siblings, or use brand names.

-Let out a hearty - not booming - ″Ho, ho ho 3/8″

-Use mouthwash.

The work pays $6 to $7 an hour and requires an ability to talk to several hundred children a day, said Nancy J. Hill, agency branch manager.

The theory and practice of Santa Claus was demonstrated for the class by Earl Flaherty, a 43-year-old mechanic who has donned a red suit and lifted youngsters on his ample lap for 12 years.

At 6 feet and 295 pounds, Flaherty comes well-equipped. What he likes is the instant celebrity, he said.

″The kids stand in awe of you,″ Flaherty said. ″It’s a great feeling watching them come up to you with their arms out.″

Western Temp Santas must adhere to strict guidelines. On the job, they must not smoke, drink or discuss politics or religion. Meanness or indifference to children are grounds for dismissal.

They’re also instructed to compliment the children on their apperance. The agency manual advises telling girls their dresses are pretty and remarking to boys on their sturdiness, and how much they have grown.

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