Here's the Scoop: July 28, 2010

Swapping for dollars
When my wife returned from the farmers’ market on Saturday, she told me that one of the vendors from whom she normally buys meat was not present. “He’s busy with interviews. He’s appearing on ‘Wife Swap’ this week,” she explained.
That happens, I guess.
For those of you who are not tuned in to sensationalistic TV shows (count me among you), “Wife Swap” is a “reality” show in which couples exchange lives for a week or two. The lifestyle switches arranged by the producers involve couples whose living habits are pretty diverse — in this case, a suburban “shopaholic” lifestyle being “swapped” for days spent on a Delaware County farm.
I haven’t seen this episode, or any others, but apparently the folks behind this brilliant bit of entertainment do their best to make the participants look foolish. Makes the viewers feel better about themselves, I guess.
“Why would anyone do that?” I asked innocently.
This being a capitalistic society, I should have known the answer.
Although the “swappers” were banned from divulging their compensation, the rumor at the farmers’ market was that if the local participating family wanted to buy a $1,000 treat with their proceeds — that they could afford 40 of these items. Not including taxes and shipping.
I don’t know if that figure is true, but it works for me.

Show me the money
After learning about this event, I read an interview with the East Meredith couple who were taking part. They said it was a lot of work. They wouldn’t do it again — unless the money was greatly increased.
I’m not sure about you — I’d have to look back through my records — but I can’t easily recall how many times I’ve made $40,000 in a couple of weeks. Probably just a few.
Then there’s the issue, of course, of the TV people manipulating my words and actions to make me look silly. I considered this and figured it wouldn’t be a big obstacle.
“I have made a fool out of myself countless times — for free,” I decided.
Having sort of made up my mind that appearing on “Wife Swap” looked like an easy money gig, I asked some friends their opinion. They weren’t convinced that this would a good career move.
“Come on,” I argued. “You can leave tissues in your pants pockets and have them spread all over everything in the dryer — and get paid for it. Leave the toilet seat up — money in the bank. Get paint all over your wife’s new blouse — you can afford to buy her a bunch of new ones. Even though you’ll probably get yelled at by two ‘wives’ for that last one.”
For some reason, these friends were not convinced that this was the best way to “earn” money.
It seems that the idea of living with someone else’s spouse was not entirely appealing to these friends— big chunk of cash or not.
The idea still appealed to me.
My wife had a different take.
“Finding someone else who could put up with you for a week — priceless.”