A few weeks ago, a misguided San Francisco-area billionaire started putting $100-$200 in envelopes, hiding them around the city. It hit the media and the hunt was on. There were hundreds of people combing the region, looking for their piece of the pie. (Cue the Jefferson’s theme.) Since the best they could get for their efforts was a couple of hundred bucks, it was sadly laughable to look at people who searched for days to find the “treasure.”
Like most media publicized events, the Bay Area search for cash spawned several imitators across the country. People in many cities joined the quest for “riches.” Even The Today Show has joined the craze, hiding tickets, including airfare and lodging, for their concerts on the 30 Rock plaza.
I’ve been broke in my life, more times than I care to admit, so I know that a hundred bucks is a lot of money to many people these days. But the whole thing seems kind of seamy to me. The poor souls who are frantically looking for cash (and concert tickets?) come off a lot like the contestants on “The Hunger Games.” Reporters are having a field day reporting on the folks who spend days to find an ostensibly small amount of money.
Given the number of these treasure hunts across the country, it’s just a matter of time before some TV network or production company pitches a reality show about it. To spice things up, there could be very small explosive devices wrapped with dog doo in some the hidden envelopes. Treasure hunters who follow the wrong clues would be unharmed but covered in dog crap. Weird, but great TV.
I predict that this show will be a reality in the next few months. While there was a 50’s game show called “Treasure Hunt” (hosted by Jan Murray), it’s a perfect title for the show. Although I would use the Michael Douglas quote, “Greed is Good.” The show could follow “The Big Race.”
Making sport out of people’s greed (or need) is pretty pathetic when you think about it. But as long as misguided rich folk try to salve their “success guilt” by dangling a couple of bucks in front of poor and/or greedy people, it will be reported as news. And people will spend days hoping to find a Benjamin or two.
Something for nothing. Sadly, it’s becoming the American Way.
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