Need an Alibi? One Company's Got You Covered
MADELEINE BRAND, host:
Let's say - let's just say you're having an affair, and you want to meet your lover somewhere for the weekend. You need an alibi. Well, luckily for you, you live in America, and there's a company that will provide one for you. It is the Alibi Network, based in Illinois, and its vice president for marketing, Michael DeMarco, joins me now. Hi.
Mr. MICHAEL DeMARCO (Alibi Network): Hi, Madeleine, thanks for having me.
BRAND: My pleasure. Well, spin an alibi for me.
Mr. DeMARCO: Spin an alibi for you? Well, Madeleine, that's going to be kind of a tough one. I mean, we are more of a consulting service. We can't just give you a Number 4. But based on the little bit that I know about you, you're in radio.
BRAND: That's right.
Mr. DeMARCO: So maybe we would want to throw a radio seminar or symposium or something along those lines. We can send you out an agenda for the seminar, travel arrangements, leave a message on your voicemail, strategically such that your significant other hears: Madeleine, thank you very much. We're looking forward to your attendance. Check in at will-call, get your coupons, whatever it is. We can supply you with plane tickets.
BRAND: But you buy fake plane tickets?
Mr. DeMARCO: No. We buy real plane tickets at a discount, and you just don't use them. In other words, you could be two miles down the road, but you're supposed to be going to Chicago. We'll have a virtual front desk attendant such that if someone needs to contact you in Chicago, we could supply you with the 312 area code, have somebody pick up on that number. If you are available, we could put the call through. If you're not available, we could take a message.
BRAND: This is quite elaborate. So how much would that cost me?
Mr. DeMARCO: Great question. If there was a Web site involved and miscellaneous, something like that could go anywhere from $750 to $1,500.
BRAND: How many people use your service? Who uses your service, and I guess are a fair amount of people are willing to pay that price?
Mr. DeMARCO: If you're going to look at it as a situation where it's the bell curve, let's say, with exceptions, you're going to be probably somewhere between 24-25 years old up to call it 65. And the infidelity side of our business, Madeleine, we're about 50-50 male to female.
BRAND: And is infidelity the big one for your business?
Mr. DeMARCO: It's about half. The other half would be, possibly, day off of work.
BRAND: Oh, okay, wait a minute. How much does that cost?
Mr. DeMARCO: I sparked your interest.
(Soundbite of laughter)
Mr. DeMARCO: There's a lot of things that we really need to sit down and question with you to prescribe, I guess would be the word, a certain level of protection.
BRAND: Protection. Some would call it lying.
Mr. DeMARCO: Well, lying - you make it sound like a dirty word. I mean, lying…
BRAND: Most people aren't in favor of lying. I don't know.
Mr. DeMARCO: Yeah, but everybody does it. It's a universal truth, really, lying. I know it sounds kind of oxy, but that's the truth. It's the one thing, yourself included, that we all have done. We all have that in common.
BRAND: Right. Well, just let me ask you, do you have any moral qualms about doing this? I mean, do you have any ethical issues?
Mr. DeMARCO: Do I personally?
Mr. DeMARCO: No. Some people may use us to throw the greatest surprise party ever thrown in the history of the world.
BRAND: Ah, right.
Mr. DeMARCO: That doesn't make us a good service. If you use us for something less noble, it doesn't make us a bad service. We're just a service. But look at it at its very essence.
As far as infidelity goes, we didn't invent that. As an evolutionary species, it's been a fact since we've had sagittal crests and no basic verbal skills. Let's get real. Let's say you're in a fantastic relationship right now: healthy, monogamous, and you're very, very happy.
You know we exist now. Are you running out to a singles bar anytime soon? Probably not. Most people wouldn't. This is for a segment of an existing market that exists, in fact, whether we're here or we are not here.
BRAND: Well Michael DeMarco, thank you very much.
Mr. DeMARCO: You bet. Take care, Madeleine.
BRAND: Michael DeMarco is the vice president for marketing for the Alibi Network.
CHADWICK: And today, bon voyage to the director of our show, Shareem Marisol Miraji. She's won an international fellowship to study abroad. She's going to Lebanon.
BRAND: Well deserved.
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