Why are "8 maids a-milking" so cheap?

According to this article, the current price of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” gifts is over $39,000.

I assume that the gifts that are people doing something are priced at what it could cost to have them go to the recipient’s home and do their thing for an hour or so. Given that, I guess the price of $2,800+ for eleven pipers piping and $3,000+ for twelve drummers drumming make sense.

But eight maids a-milking will set you back only $58? This must be based on the rosy-eyed assumption that the recipient just happens to have eight dairy cows, but even so – you can really get a maid to visit someone’s home to milk a cow for a bit over $7?

Maybe minimum wage, being $7.25.

If you go to the website that does the actual pricing, it specifically states that they’re basing the maids a-milking on the federal minimum wage. Whereas the performers are based on what it would cost to hire a dance company etc.

In fact, the actual “study” of the prices, done by PNC Bank (and linked to in the USA Today article) quotes the Federal minimum wage as what they used for pricing the milkmaids.

Their math is terribly simple, and apparently assumes that milkable cows are available at no additional coast, or that the recipient would have cows in need of milking. :slight_smile:

The other “people” stanzas of the song (days 9-12) all appear to be priced based on the idea that one is hiring trained professionals for the dancing, leaping, etc.

Edit: ninja’d by muldoonthief. :slight_smile:

I guess that minimum wage makes some sense, but not much. I think you’re assuming a lot if you assume that someone you can get for minimum wage in any urban area actually knows how to milk a cow.

Plus there’s carfare. No one wants to work for a pretax $7.25 if it costs them $15 to get there and back.

What are they getting for the lords a-leaping, trained gymnasts? Or are they pricing out actual lords? 'Cause I really think you could get guys at minimum wage to go to a house and jump around a bit.

I would have just gone with 8 times however much milk you get from a cow per day. Which google says is 8 gallons per, so 64 gallons. Let’s be generous and say that’s $4/gallon, so $256. I like that method because it incorporates the cost of the cow, the labor and skill involved in milking (or lack thereof in the case of modern robotic milk maids), as well as distribution costs and profit.

But it’s the maids that are the ‘gift’, not the milk…

‘One mechanised milking machine sufficient for 8 cows (not included)’ doesn’t scan.

But the point is, if you’re buying milk for $2 a gallon, or whatever, that means that somewhere in the murky depths of the supply chain, someone paid someone else less than that to do the corresponding milking. And yeah, maybe the “milkmaid” was a robot, but the prices of the jewelry and birds are also affected by modern industrial techniques, and nobody worries about that.

The maids themselves aren’t the gift though, just their milking services. That’s how I would interpret “maids a-milking”. I suppose we could instead imagine these are particularly talented maids who sing and dance while performing a synchronized cow-milking show.

Yeah if the maids were to be purchased/acquired as slaves/indentured servants, that would cost far more.

Ten Lords a-leaping costs $10,000? OK, I guess if you wanna hire 10 acrobats to come to your house to put on a show, you’re gonna have to pay them $1000 each. Same for nine Ladies dancing.

But I defy you to actually be able to hire 8 unmarried female day laborers to come to your house and work for an hour milking cows and pay them each $7.25 for one hour of minimum wage work. It can’t be done that way, for the exact same reason you can’t hire dancers for an hour and pay them minimum wage.

Yes, you can hire some of the Spanish speaking day laborers hanging around the Home Depot parking lot for pretty cheap. But not for one hour of work, that “one hour” would in reality take up most of the day and they’d forgo any other chance of getting work that day.

I’ll have to call the local cow rental place to see what their hourly rates are. Maybe I can get bulk pricing for 8 cows?

Maybe you’d only need 4 cows with two maids on opposite sides per cow.

You wouldn’t expect the lords to be a leaping somewhere else, even if it would be cheaper and altogether more sensible, given the space required for even a small lord to jump and the fact that my house is currently full of birds.

The specification says ‘maids a milking’ not ‘milked cows’. Maybe it’s a fetish thing. Regardless, if I’d ordered maids a milking and got an automated milking machine, I’d call trading standards.

I’d possibly think of someplace better for the pipers to go pipe than my house though. The geese’d stop laying for a start.

In theory (and in practice with a milking machine) it’s possible to milk all four teats at once, so you could potentially get by with only two cows.

Or heck, maybe all the maids just take turns at milking one cow. Or one goat, even. Ain’t nothing in the song about all the maids necessarily milking simultaneously.

Prices seem to vary. Looks a lot cheaper than i would have thought.:slight_smile:

It’s a gig economy. You pull up your Malk app to get some independent contractors to come on over in between their Postmate runs.

And isn’t the minumn wage for farm labor less? I know is used to be


Actually the price of milk has droppedbelow $15 per hundred pounds, so that would work out to less than $9.60.

Why would somebody in a urban area have cows that needed to be milked? I think we can safely assume that the cows and the maids are in some rural community.

I worked on a dairy farm when I was younger. I got paid by the day not the hour. And it was well below minimum wage.

If they’re Canada geese, isn’t that a good thing? “Reduce the surplus population…”