Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced today that it will stop selling those cheap plastic swords and other children's light toys that have been merchandising staples for circus concessionaires since the invention of the battery operated incandescent lightbulb.
This startling announcement comes just a few days after Ringling Bros. announced “The Greatest Show on Earth” would be phasing out its elephant performers by 2018 and retiring them to a 200-acre sanctuary in central Florida.
This Chattering Teeth reporter caught up with circus CEO, Hiccups the clown, in his trailer in order to determine just WTF he is thinking. Here is that exclusive interview.
HICCUPS: Just make it quick. I only opened the trailer door because I thought you were the bearded lady, my scheduled massage therapist.
BLADE: I'll get right to it then. We'll get to your ridiculous decision to phase out the elephants in just a minute, but why discontinue concession sales of those cheap lighted toy swords? You charge around $30 bucks a pop for those items and they can't cost more than a few pennies to manufacture. You must be raking in a fortune on those pieces of crap. Why kill that cash cow?
HICCUPS: The main reason is that these concession items are primarily geared towards children, and we expect this market segment to disappear once we lose the elephants. I mean, really. Why sell kids toys under the Big Top when we expect to be devoid of kids?
And secondly, you'd be surprised at just HOW MUCH it costs to manufacture those light swords. We spend $42 Million annually just in R&D in efforts to cause these light swords to quit working on the drive home, and NOT BEFORE. If the toy malfunctions during the show, we have to exchange it for one that works, and that can get expensive.
And those sales barkers don't work for free. A side benefit is the all-u-can eat cotton candy for these dudes. I've saved some money by cutting the cotton candy with insulation, but its still costing me a bundle. I've got clown car payments to make ya know!
BLADE: Wait. If you realize that kids won't want to attend a circus without elephants, then why would the adults come?
HICCUPS: I have this radical new idea to only employ my trapeze and high wire acts. They will dress up in outrageous costumes and fly around to various piped-in themed music. One night we might have Beatles music. Another night we will do a themed Elvis act. And we will install slot machine and gaming tables under the tent. That kinda thing.
BLADE: Uhhh... that sounds suspiciously like the Cirque du Soleil troupes in Vegas, so good luck with that.
HICCUPS: Hmmm. Already being done? Well that blows. **swigs from rum bottle**
BLADE: Let's talk about that decision to pack it in with the pachyderms. Why succumb to the animal rights activists? Do you admit, then, that your elephants suffer abuse?
HICCUPS: That's crazy talk, and another example of liberal political correctness gone a muck. Nobody loves and cares for those animals more than we whose livelihoods are intertwined with these gentle giants. Not once has one of these gentle giants tried to wrestle a law enforcement officer's gun away from them, for example.
BLADE: Then why?
HICCUPS: I musta been drunk.
BLADE: Like most adults, I have fond childhood memories of the circus. The sights. The sounds. The smells...
HICCUPS: Smells? Don't worry. While the elephants will be gone, I plan to truck in piles of their feces in order to keep that tradition alive. This should draw the liberals.