|Japan from the Driver's Seat|
Here is what I consider a despicably unprincipled variety of exploitation of the elderly. There are several types of cons run on the elderly, some having to do with unneeded home repairs or renovations, so to do with door-to-door sale of questionable products at vastly inflated prices. One particularly vile con involves telephoning old people, saying "It's me" (pretending to be a child or grandchild...the old person guesses a name and the con man says "Yeah"), and saying they need money transferred to someone's bank account to settle damages on an auto accident.
The questionable business shown in this photo involves selling natural foods and health supplements to the elderly, who are eager to snap up anything they perceive to be beneficial, price be damned. That the Japanese are some of the world's most gullible consumers helps the con along.
What happens is that the folks doing the selling come into a town and take an extremely short lease on a storefront which has been sitting unoccupied so long that the owner is happy to see any income at all from it. They then canvass the surrounding area, hitting up all the elderly and working up a big hubbub over the coming opening of their store which is going to sell all sorts of marvelous natural foods and health supplements. Come opening day, you see a crowd lined up down the block waiting to get into the place. This photo shows only a small portion of the people at this location.
Nobody ever seems to notice or think it odd that a new business moving into the neighborhood has erected no permanent signage out front, that they've brought in no office fixtures other than as many folding chairs as they can get in the place, or that the whole operation just screams FLY-BY-NIGHT. No, they just all crowd in to get snookered....and in a few days the storefront goes back to its normal deserted status. I've seen this scene repeated in more places than I care to think about.