September 27, 2002


Some people have a rather dark worldview that divides people into two groups: Suckers and non-suckers. We hear their stories.


Host Ira Glass talks with Adam and Wendy, a couple whose world view was changed when they bought a house. Adam and Wendy were the kind of people who believed that most people by and large were good, and their motives by and large honest. But when they found that the former owner had lied about all sorts of things in their new house, they were reluctantly forced to change their view of things. The former owners were the types who believed in suckering the other guy before he suckers you, and now Adam and Wendy were starting to think that way too. (7 minutes)
Act One

No Receipt, No Surrender

Jen's mom Sheila does things like this: She buys a brand name at a discount store, and then returns it to a fancy store for a full refund. She thinks you're a sucker if you don't take advantage of opportunities like that. Jen admires her mom's chutzpah, but can't do the things she does, so her mom tries to teach her...on tape. Jen pins a hidden microphone on herself, and she and her mother try and return a gift Burberry sweater to the actual Burberry store. (15 minutes)
Act Two

The Stereo Type

Rarely when we're suckered do we get a chance at revenge, and that turns out to be a good thing. Writer Shane DuBow tells the story of a scam he fell for when he was just out of college. Twelve years later, the same guys tried the same scam on him. But getting even wasn't as easy as he thought. (11 minutes)
Act Three

Suckers In The Promised Land

There's a whole nation where the idea of suckerdom permeates almost every aspect of culture and politics. Adam Davidson reports on the Israeli word "freier," which literally translates as sucker, but means much, much more. (7 minutes)
Act Four

Mother Sucker

Writer Heather O'Neill tells the story of how she became a foster mother at 18β€”to a 16 year-old. (14 minutes)