Colorado Springs’ local businesses are receiving a wave of complaints and lawsuits after a few downtown stores decided to rent 30 elephants to shoppers hoping to snatch up holiday deals.
The idea came from local business owner Larry Moneymaker, owner of the 37th T-Shirt store downtown, who suggested that renting out pachyderms to particularly motivated shoppers would be a creative source of revenue, as well as a fun new way to travel.
When asked where the elephants came from, Moneymaker coughed loudly and used his non-broken hand to pull closed the door of a giant barn located behind his shop after the door seemingly opened on its own.
Several downtown businesses decided to give the idea a try. Andrea Nettle, who owns the 45th T-Shirt shop across the street from Moneymaker’s, said she was invited to the initial meeting where Moneymaker proposed the scheme.
While she said she left early, calling the proposal “too stupid for words,” she thought the reason some other businesses agreed to participate might have been Moneymaker’s proposition to charge $10,000 per elephant ride.
However, the elephants did not transition seamlessly into Colorado Springs’ shopping centers. They charged into multiple historic buildings downtown, causing the destruction of the popular items that buyers were after in the first place. One elephant even got the bell from the Pioneer’s Museum clock tower stuck on its tusk and refused to give it back.
While there were no confirmed casualties, many of the buyers who either could not or would not spend $10,000 on an elephant ride sustained injuries after the elephants caused a stampede downtown.
The more fortunate buyers who did manage to secure an elephant found they could not actually reach the items they wanted from high atop the elephant’s backs. When stretching down to grab a scarf from Terra Verde, Karen Smitherton fell off the back of her elephant into the jewelry counter.
“It was the best moment of my life,” said Stacy Johnsington, Smitherton’s neighbor and onlooker to her fall. “Normally I’m not a fan of seeing people get brutally injured, but at least Karen’s severe concussion might keep her from making snide comments about my garden.”
Johnsington was later spotted limping at top speed on a broken ankle to seize the scarf Smitherton had been diving for when she fell off her elephant.
By the end of the day, 29 of the elephants were rounded up by law enforcement using cattle prods and pepper spray, but one remains at large.
A statement from the city council called the event “a complete disaster” and declared: “We have no citywide legislation yet for prosecuting people who release 30 elephants into the city for profit, but rest assured we will come up with something soon.”