Idiom: skeleton crew; used as a noun
Toby: Are you going to the concert this Saturday?
Claire: No. I have to work Saturday night.
Toby: That's too bad - but maybe you can get off a little early? It's usually pretty slow on the weekends.
Claire: Because it's always so slow, Tim decided to run a skeleton crew. There are only going to be three of us here manning the phones.
Toby: That's too bad. Well, I'll take lots of pictures for you.
Meaning: The idiom "skeleton crew" is used when a business is operating with the minimum number of people. This is usually done during an emergency or low demand causes there to be limited staff. In the example above, Claire says she will be working on a skeleton crew because there isn't enough demand for a full crew. "Skeleton crew" is the American idiom, while British people use the alternative "skeleton staff." Here is another example of the American version:
Mary: Wow, the service at that restaurant was awful!
William: Well, they were running on a skeleton crew.
Mary: Really? How do you know?
William: When you were in the restroom, the waiter told me. Apparently, the manager fired a server everyone liked, so all of the servers went on strike. There was only one server for the whole restaurant tonight, and he had to act as bartender as well.
Mary: Then that explains why it seemed like he was always running around but everything came out so late.
William: Exactly. And that's why I left him a decent tip. I felt bad for him.
Meaning: In this example, Mary says the service at a restaurant was slow, and William explains that the restaurant's normal employees were on strike, leading to a skeleton crew of only one server. @LSISB @LSIOC @LSINE @LSILA