Friday, February 6, 2009

The lure of easy money

It's common practice for snake-oil salesman to surface in a flailing economy. Money worries tend to make people even more susceptible to the siren's song of the fast fix, or the get-rich-quick scam. Have you walked by a lottery kiosk lately?

Or possibly you've noticed the street poles plastered with flyers blazing messages like “Work from Home!” or “Make $5,000 a Month!” Or the late-night infomercials promising untold wealth in the fields of property flipping and selling useless junk on eBay. Imagine the freedom.

The rubes are out there, and the lure of easy money has never been more tempting, which only demonstrates the public need for a program like Marketplace (tonight, CBC at 8:30). Viewers need a consumer-affairs protector now, perhaps more than ever.

“In desperate times, you need a show like Marketplace to watch your back,” says co-host Wendy Mesley, with a hint of mock seriousness. “We've done a couple of stories this year driven by people trying to make money off desperate people, which takes you to a whole new level of cynicism. There's a lot of fear and doubt out there.”

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