Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ice cold water $1 (unedited state fair prologue)

Thanks to a family get together, I have just one last day of work at the Great Minnesota Get Together.

I'm about to finish my fourth year hawking jewelry at the Minnesota State Fair, and I still have little appreciation for the annual end-of-summer ritual.

It makes little sense to me. Thousands of people, some days more than 200,000, pay about $10 per person to enter into a mafia-like environment where they overpay for the most unhealthy food on the planet, among other wastes of time.

I sell jewelry each year, jewelry you can't find in abundant supply locally throughout the year. People covet such jewelry, so the owners of my booth make money. It's a tough business, and they're not getting rich beyond their wildest dreams, but they make a buck or two, and people who purchase from us generally walk away pleased with their transaction.

But now more than ever there's nothing at the state fair that you can't buy any day of the year. Yet some people are convinced they need to buy it at the state fair, after overpaying for a low-alcohol, high-price version of beer. (Don't get me started about Minnesota's 3.2-percent alcohol laws.)

People are herded like cattle into the state fairgrounds, charged more than the free market rate for food and beverages because they've voluntarily agreed to imprison themselves, spend hours looking at things they wouldn't pay a dime for if they had the opportunity to do so outside the fairgrounds and constantly fall all over each other to do so.

And people think America is a great country. Come to the Minnesota State Fair and you'll see we're a bunch of idiots.

Further examination of this phenomena is coming in excruciating detail in the weeks ahead.

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