Small Talk: Every First Quarter Earnings Call

Things are great! Sort of. It depends on what you mean by “great”

TRD NATIONAL /
May.May 15, 2020 03:00 PM
The Real Deal’s latest humor column sums up every earnings call in the coronavirus age.
The Real Deal’s latest humor column sums up every earnings call in the coronavirus age.

Hi, everyone, and thank you for joining us on our first-quarter earnings call. Hopefully, you’ve all received our hastily revised presentation by now, and if you haven’t, just picture a collage of arrows pointing aggressively downward. If any of you would like to feel a burst of nostalgia, we would be happy to also send you the presentation we started putting together in the olden days — late February. I like to look through that one late at night while sipping Scotch and alternating between hysterical laughter and uncontrollable sobs.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way: The coronavirus pandemic has had an adverse effect on elements of our business strategy, which includes investing in hotels and theme parks and an assumption that people would never be terrified to leave their homes. The outbreak also reversed the benefit of our early March team-building exercise, where everyone was required to cough on each other. We estimate that this will reduce our annual revenue by a number that I’m too scared to say out loud.

But there were positive signs this quarter as well! For instance, everything worked out pretty much exactly as we expected it to until around March 11, which we are attributing solely to our intelligence and foresight. And that coughing fit our CFO had last week turned out to just be Cheez-It dust that went down the wrong pipe. Also, I found a dollar in my son’s room the other day that I’m pretty sure he didn’t know about, so that’s going right into the company coffers!

The dollar was under his pillow. I know what you’re thinking, and no, he isn’t too old to still believe in the Tooth Fairy. But we all need to make sacrifices during this challenging time, including 6-year-olds. Especially 6-year-olds.

Now, if there’s one thing everyone needs to keep in mind about the pandemic, it’s that it is far too early for us to tell you anything specific about the effect it will have on our results for the foreseeable future. Whenever you feel yourself wanting to ask that question, we recommend thinking of three comforting words or phrases and assuming our answer would somehow incorporate all of them. For me, it’s “beach,” “cotton candy,” and “Atlas Shrugged.”

Having said that, rest assured that we are confident our company is still well-positioned to survive and thrive. Some of you may be wondering how it is possible for me to be simultaneously confident about our company’s future and unable to tell you anything about it, but to those folks, I would just say beach, cotton candy, Atlas Shrugged.

The other important point I want to make is how much we appreciate what our company’s frontline workers have been doing during this crisis. I know we tend not to think about them very often, but they truly are heroes, and I am going to keep calling them that until they stop asking me for a raise.

Now, do we want to do the usual question-and-answer session, or are we all OK with assuming that I will respond to every inquiry with some variation of “Good question, but we’re not quite ready to answer that one yet”?

Great, that’s what I thought. So, in that case, this concludes our first-quarter earnings call. Thanks again for listening, and I hope that many of you will also join us on our second-quarter earnings call, which will most likely just consist of me cursing for about 17 minutes straight. Have a nice day, everyone!


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