Posted by: garispang | June 20, 2009

Tokyo firm rents fake family, friends for weddings (Strange New Trend)

Wedding

A Tokyo company called Office Agents has a booming business in renting people out for a couple hundred bucks a head as wedding guests. It’s a popular service among those who want to impress their spouses with the number of good-looking, amiable friends they have. You can even rent a fake boss or colleague if you’re unemployed but need to pretend to you aren’t to your spouse’s friends or family. Apparently, this service is doing even better during the recession because of this.

The Telegraph Reports:

At one recent wedding, the groom secretly arranged for all 30 guests to be hired as friends and family members as it was his second marriage and he did not want the same guests present as the first time round.

Stand-in lovers, pretend secretaries and distant relatives are among a colourful cast of popular roles played by the company’s army of fakers.

Describing the necessary credentials for his “fakers”, Mr Mizutani said: “They are cheery and clean and look like they have regular jobs.”

Detail Reports;

TOKYO — It’s the wedding season in Japan but instead of opting for a small event in tough times, couples can rent fake family, friends and colleagues to plump up the guest list.

Many in Japan see weddings as a formal event that must be attended by as many family members, friends and co-workers as possible. At the party, bosses often give speeches, colleagues or friends stage performances, and families greet other guests.

But what if you’ve got no one to do that for you?

“We’ll attend the wedding as your friend instead of your friend,” Hiroshi Mizutani, who heads Office Agents in Tokyo, a company that rents out guests, told Reuters.

“Suddenly, a guest might not be able to make it. Or maybe you are concerned about the gap in the number of guests you have compared to your partner. Or, there are many temp workers these days and they may be uncomfortable inviting the boss.”

For 20,000 yen ($200), Office Agents provides a staff member to attend the ceremony. For an additional 5,000 yen, that person can perform a song or a dance. Pitch in another 10,000 yen and that person can make a speech that would make you proud.

As recession hits Japan, Mizutani said work-related requests are rising, with clients asking for a fake boss, who in real life may have become too busy for the wedding after losing his job, or coworkers for temporary workers that switch offices often without getting to know those they work with.

At one wedding, all 30 of the family, friends and coworkers of the groom were fakes, Mizutani said. This was the second marriage for the groom, who wanted to avoid inviting the same guests from the first wedding.

Marketing Script;

Don’t have as many friends as your fiance? Or family members — at least those you’re prepared to invite to your wedding?

Not to worry, if you live in Japan or your wedding is taking place there. As Reuters reports, a Tokyo firm rents out wedding guests for the equivalent of $200 a head to attend and more if you’d like a song or dance performed. Throw in a speech and you’ll need to fork out more cash, but it will all be taken care of.

Weddings are big in Japan and bosses and colleagues are usually part of the guest list. However, in these recessionary times, people may be out of a job when they’re reaching their wedding date, so they need a fake boss or friends from the office water cooler. Or, if someone is holding down temp jobs in the interim, he or she may not have time to foster any “real” relationships with frequently-changing bosses and co-workers. Bring in the fakes from Office Agents, as the company is appropriately called. 

Office Agents head, Hiroshi Mizutani, said at one wedding he worked with, all 30 of the family, friends and coworkers of the groom were fakes: “This was the second marriage for the groom, who wanted to avoid inviting the same guests from the first wedding.”

One would hope there’s a fact sheet passed around about the bride or groom so the fakes don’t reveal their status during the event. The important thing, Misutani says, is the guests are “cheery and clean and look like they have regular jobs.” Wedding crashers, you’ve met your match.

The kickers? Sometimes not even the marriage partner is aware. What’s a little white lie to the person you’re going to spend your life with, anyway? Beware if you’re a guest on the wedding circuit this season. Is that a real groom or just someone hired so your second cousin coul reel in the cash gift box?

Office Agents doesn’t stop at weddings. You can order up a fake lover to introduce to your family and stand-in secretaries for those who want to look important.

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