I have to confess that I’m not Irish, but looking for some St. Patrick’s Day music to post sent me to a familiar place — Amazon’s free downloads section.
This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned free downloads — in fact, a recent post included a link (now expired) for a free song from the soundtrack of Alice In Wonderland — but something else occurred to me. Although I was checking Amazon for a specific type of song today, my practice of regularly checking several of the sites is just another form of something called ‘runnin’ the traps’.
The term probably originated back when mountain men regularly checked the traps they’d set for beaver or whatever, but it’s been used in plenty of other ways since.
Before cellphones became cheap and common, pay phones were so ubiquitous that Superman regularly used the booths to change his clothes, and there were a lot of guys who walked around and regularly checked the coin returns. You’d be amazed how the coins they found would add up. (Maybe Superman even did it once in a while — after all, nobody ever paid him for saving civilization.)
I don’t know if those phone booth guys called what they did ‘runnin’ the traps’, but a guy I worked with used the term when he did something similar. A couple times a day he’d walk all over the plant and offices, checking the coin returns of all the vending machines. He always claimed that he found enough to buy all his own drinks and snacks all day.
Of course, some types of ‘runnin’ the traps’ are a little more automated now. For example, a lot of us use RSS readers to automatically check a lot of websites — especially music blogs.
(If you like the sample, click the album link for a free download of the whole song.)