Come On, You Know You Want to Buy a Stuffed Moose …

During a recent overnight stay at Canyon Lodge, onsite at Yellowstone National Park, one thing singularly impressed me about the room rental. On the drawer console, sitting by the coffee maker, was a beautiful stuffed moose that I’d guess most kids of any age would immediately fall in love with. And a bonus: it wasn’t wrapped; the packaging surrounded but did not actually touch the moose, which made it irresistibly easy to pick up and cuddle or drool on.

The moose is yours, a little cardboard band surrounding the moose advised. Take it with you, and $20 will be added to your charge card. It’s as easy as that to own it. And with the purchase, you’ll become a friend of wildlife conservation; a percentage of the sale will benefit that goal.

Conversely, if you don’t want to buy the moose, you tightwad, just leave it where it is when you check out.

I was impressed by the genius of the marketing campaign. A parent would have to play HIDE THE MOOSE with a whiny 2-year-old to avoid the charge. The moose has to be in the same condition it was presented in, upon checkout, to avoid the charge, and kids and sticky dirt go together like tourists and impulsive buys.

In my own case, I thought, hey, the money would be better invested in an elevator for the building, since I had just lugged an impossibly heavy suitcase, a cooler, and computer gear up two flights of stairs. Or maybe spend the moose money on a cellphone tower, since there is no phone, Internet, or even television reception in the building. But then, remembering the bison slumbering outside my building (hint to tourists – do NOT approach a sleeping bison for they WILL gore you), I thought that any extra dollars spent to maintain the bison’s right to sleep anywhere he chose on the reservation was well spent.

So I packed the moose with my other belongings and later sent it off to a younger grandchild who couldn’t make the trip with Patrick and me. The moose saved me a shopping trip for a gift souvenir and I contributed to the cause.

Now, if only I could figure out how to do a “touch this and you bought it” campaign for a magazine – to somewhat benefit homeless farm animals, of course …

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