I was out doing some Christmas shopping the other day. It was raining. No, not the sunshine and smiles that usually fall down upon us here in Southern California, but actual drops of water. It was a long day filled with a lot of road rage because everyone kept thinking that the guy in front of them was incessantly washing his windshield. But we got through it. We’re Californians. We’re tough.
California toughness aside, I saw something that changed my definition of sad. As I mentioned, I was out doing some Christmas shopping. This led me to a strip mall near my home. As I trolled through the parking lot to find an empty space, I came across a very sobering scene. It was cold, it was raining and it was around 2 pm. There, next to the vitamin shop, in a small, red and white-stripped tent, for that day only, was a mobile petting zoo.
First of all, a strip mall next to a vitamin shop? What kind of research did they do before opening up this mobile petting zoo business? Maybe I’m not familiar with today’s petting zoo marketing techniques, but I’d think your target audience would be small children with an overwhelming desire to touch things. I’m not sure a vitamin shop is going to provide you with that kind of clientele. Of course, perhaps I’m reading this all wrong. Perhaps it is the vitamin shop employing the petting zoo. Perhaps they think that passers by will feel a great need to stock up on any and all vitamins after having had such a close brush with all those hairy beasts.
My point is this. As hard as it may be for some of you to comprehend, there were no patrons at this petting zoo. And seeing a lone man, standing under a tent in the rain with a bunch of smelly, wet animals made me a little sad. Not because I felt bad for this poor soul who has clearly made some abominable business decisions, but because I believe this is exactly the sort of thing that is killing our economy. It cost money to put a petting zoo next to a vitamin shop in the rain. I’m no expert, but I think even a video game store owner would tell you that there’s no money in cold, wet animal petting.
All I’m saying is that we are in a recession and that I blame petting zoos that refuse to pack it in on rainy days. That’s not the shining American spirit cutting through the gloom of a bad situation, that’s the stupidity of an Ivy League educated, trust fund baby with a horribly misguided interpretation of husbandry and children.