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Sure, caterers, professional party planners and parents alike all have tough jobs over the holidays, but is there a more demanding occupation than mall Santa?

According to CBS News, John Toomey, who'd served as the in-store Santa at a Macy's store in San Francisco for 20 years, was fired for making inappropriate jokes to an adult couple.

As Mr. Toomey tells it, when an adult would hop up on his knee, he'd ask if they'd been good all year. If the answer was yes, he'd say, "Gee, that's too bad." Santa also reportedly told the couple that he was jolly because he knew where all the naughty boys and girls live.

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Mr. Toomey says the quips have been part of his routine for decades and it's the first time they've ever caused a problem. He also says he never made those jokes to kids.

Whether you think he crossed the line or not, you have to admit: being a mall Santa is a tough gig.

Recession Santa

The Wall Street Journal wrote last year about how the red velvet-clad gents had to awkwardly field requests for new socks (because the kids' parents couldn't afford them), and offer comfort to kids who feared their houses would be repossessed.

Sneezy Santa

But even in Canada, where our economy didn't take as nasty a hit, last year's mall Santas still had it rough: they had to let snot-nosed youth sit on their bouncing knees, even when the H1N1 threat was near its peak.

Santa bootcamp

The thing is, kids are still much easier to deal with than their parents. Last year in the U.K., the Golden Square Shopping Centre management received so many complaints about their mall Santas that they developed a Santa boot camp for their jolly ol' employees. Hired Santas were drilled on the season's most popular toys, told how to handle upset children and given a tutorial on how to 'look the part' last Friday.

Let's hope that they were also given a seminar on how to deal with overbearing parents with sky-high expectations.

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About the Author

Dakshana Bascaramurty is a national news reporter who writes about race and ethnicity. She won a 2013 National Newspaper Award in beat reporting for her coverage of changing demographics in the 905 region. Previously, she was a feature writer for Globe Life. More

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