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Monday, November 29, 2004
The high price of leaping lords
Every year, PNC, a Pittsburgh-based bank, releases a price index for each of the gifts in "The Twelve Days of Christmas." This year's total is $66,334, up a hundred or so dollars from 2003. Still, that figure seems low. Consider the estimates for "maids-a-milking" and "lords-a-leaping." While the article blames outsourcing for the small $41 price tag for the maids, gathering together ten lords for some serious leaping would no doubt cost more than $4,039.
The price index considers the fuel costs associated with delivering a pear tree to the states but, honestly, doesn't give the whole lord thing much consideration. Let's run down the list of what it would take to make #10 on the list happen, shall we?
The only place I can think of where someone might track down a lord would be in the UK's Parliament and surely they have better things to do than bounce around on a whim. The cost of flying ten lords from Britain to Pittsburgh would cost well over four grand. I checked Travelocity a minute ago, and last minute Christmas airfare for all of them, assuming that they would insist on riding in first class, would run $32,110 on NW Airlines. Then, assuming you would only need the lords to leap one night, you would have to spring for lodging. Ten suites at the Renaissance Pittsburgh Hotel will set you back $1790.00, before tax. The lords would also run up high room service tabs, so you would need at least $200 for each, adding another $2,000 to the grand total.
To get these lords to leap would no doubt require a substantial amount of booze. Seeing that any self-respecting politician would insist on top-shelf bourbon and have a high alcohol tolerance, you would need at least ten shots per lord to get them in the mood for leaping. A bottle of 14 year-old Longrow bourbon is a hefty $70. It would probably take five fifths to get them good and drunk, so set aside $350 for hooch. To ease their minds, you would also need to pay off the media so this whole bizarre spectacle doesn't make the front page of the Christmas Day edition of The Sun. Let's set aside an additional $10K for media bribes.
Grand total to get ten lords in leaping mode for over-demanding "true love"? Roughly $46,250.
Now this figure is based on the assumption that you would want these lords to leap, at your place or in a nearby banquet hall. To get them to jump around in their offices would cost less, but there's no way your true love would be able to enjoy the sight, unless you had someone film them. The song uses the verb "give," which suggests they would have to be within spitting distance while they do their thing. Also, in "The Twelve Days of Christmas," they come in at number ten, which suggests you would actually need them for an additional two nights. Multiple this figure by three and you're looking at a whopping $138,750.
If you also factor in limousine rentals, high-priced meals in Pittsburgh's best restaurants, further compensation and the additional cost(s) if a lord decides to look up "escorts" in the Yellow Pages, you may as well start looking into mortgage rates. If your significant other means "give" seriously, you would have to hold the lords hostage and pay the cash necessary to keep them housed, drunk and perpetually bouncing.
In short, leaping lords don't come cheap.