Over the last month, I've been participating in a program to review monkey butlers from Ambler's training program. They've been working on this monkey butler training program for close to five years now. It started out as something at their resort, but now they're expanding to bring the monkeys home to you. Ambler contacted me to see if I'd be an alpha tester and write a review. (Note: I did not receive compensation for this review.) My guess is that they saw the name Lazy Man and decided that I was a natural match for a monkey butler.
They weren't wrong. If I weren't so darn frugal, I'd be their ideal customer. You aren't reading this to know about me, so let's dig right into this monkey business.
Meeting my Monkey for the First Time
When my monkey butler arrived in his crate it was love at first sight. You can't go wrong with a tiny tuxedo on anything. Monkeys are no exception. First smell was a completely different story. The best thing I can say is that my dog really seemed interested in him. My wife and I? Not so much.
Getting Down to Monkey Business
Optimistically, I decided to name my monkey, Dobby after one of my favorite Harry Potter characters. As I soon found out, this Dobby was no Dobby. The first task I gave him was to write a section of this blog review. What better way to learn about monkey butlers than from Dobby himself, right? He broke two keyboards and didn't get any further than: "It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times." Given my deadline for this post, I had to scrap this project and move on to something easier.
Laundry has always been my nemesis. The washing, drying, and folding of cloths is just so repetitive. I long for the day of eco-friendly disposable clothes. Alas until that day comes, laundry is a necessary evil. Could Dobby be the answer to my prayers?
Unfortunately when it came to the washing and drying, the answer was no. In fairness, my washing machine and dryer is extremely complex. I'm happy when I have a 15% success rate with them. Aside from that, he couldn't separate the clothes into appropriate piles of lights, darks, colors, and delicates. Again, in fairness, my performance in this area is so terrible that my wife relieved me of that duty years ago.
However, I can fold clothes. I don't like doing it, but at least I'm successful. Dobby was fairly successful well. The only problem is that he kept on mixing up my Celtics and Red Sox socks. After contacting Ambler's tech support they told me that monkeys are red-green color blind, but that they are working on gene therapy to solve this for their beta program due out later this year. In the meantime, I'll just be slightly more fashion-challenged than I already am. Some may say it is an improvement.
Hidden Costs of the Monkey Butlers
The great thing about monkey butlers is that they don't ask for money. They don't take up a lot of space and don't require their own room. However, they eat a ton of bananas. Worse, they throw a lot of bananas. I've been told it is a well-known problem in the monkey butler industry. They call it the Banana Eating Efficiency Ratio (BEER). The greater the BEER the better. Ambler claims to have one of the highest BEERs in the industry. If Dobby is any indication there's still a lot of room for improvement there.
That's not all monkeys throw. They've been known to throw their poop. I've got two children under 20 months of age. There's not too much in the way of poop I haven't seen or experienced. However, throwing of poop is indeed a level beyond what I was prepared for.
If you want a taste of what it is like watch this:
Like the BEER ratio, the monkey butler industry is working on this one as well. They call it Feces Under Control Ratio (FUCR). I'm told that over the last few years they've been able to raise the FUCRs considerably.
Unfortunately, I don't think they've got the FUCRs where they need to be. It seems like the monkeys create as much work as they save.
Real Savings or Monkey Business?
It is really difficult to a full cost analysis since Ambler didn't give me a price of the monkey butler to begin with. However, considering that they don't seem to be very helpful at this point, I'm going to put it in the "monkey business" category... for now. Give it 5 or 10 years and maybe we'll see more practical improvement.
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