People coming from rural Thailand would not see any humor there. They own elephants. They would probably be very interested in a payment plan. It is a working animal on their family owned farms and as common as a mule would have been in rural Nebraska 100 years ago.
I remember farmers bringing their elephant into Bangkok, tying a small flashlite with red plastic covering the lens to the pachyderms tail - so the traffic wouldn't run into the back of the elephant. Actually quite a few serious accidents where cars have hit elephants over the years.
Some of the farmers grow these long, long string beans which the elephants love to eat. I imagine that elephants are not cheap to keep. The farmers would make the long trek into the tourist section of urban Bangkok with saddle bags full of the beans. Then they would sell a handful of beans at a time to a tourist who would feed them to the elephant.
You could see on the faces of these young farmers the awe and wonder that they could get maybe 10 times the market price for their beans, and then the buyer would turn right around and feed his elephant for him.
One of the things I loved about Thailand was the cultural shock. You could step out of a 6 story mall with $800,000 sports cars on the fifth floor and a walk through aquarium in the basement, and meet an elephant on the sidewalk, just below the SkyTrain.
(Sorry about hijacking the thread with a reply that has nothing to do with the humorous part of the quote. Americans also appear willing to buy anything that is free - free once you provide a credit card number for a monthly subscription and pay shipping and handling - "But Wait! There's More!" I'll be you could advertise a Save the Elephant membership where you got pictures of "your" elephant and the food you are buying for it - just $1 down and a monthly plan).