You can't do a program about middlemen without a story about business. In this act, we hear from a man who made his living buying low and selling high...incredibly high, sometimes at mark-ups of up to 1,000 percent.
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Host Ira Glass talks with Marion Tanios, a classified section editor at the Chicago Sun-Times. She explains that if the news section of the newspaper gives you the public life of a city, the classified section gives you a sense of people's personal lives.
The classifieds are populated by people in flux. People selling stuff from old lives in transition new ones.
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.
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.
Ali Davis literally hands people their fantasies, in her job at a Chicago video store with a huge porn section. She tells true stories about what the job is like.