May 21, 2011: Profiting on Doomsday?
Have $135? An atheist will rescue your pet when you go to heaven.
May 17, 2011 — -- Wondering about the fate of your pets after Judgment Day? Well, for $135, a loving atheist will care for your animal if you're not around anymore.
Eternal Earthbound Pets offers a service to rescue and take care of pets once their owners have been taken away to the heavenly realms. Though doomsayers say this Saturday will be the latest day of reckoning that's not expected to leave animals behind either.
Bart Centre of New Hampshire, co-owner of the pet business, launched it in June 2009. He has zero belief in Judgment Day, but began to see an increase in sales inquiries in December, which, he believes, is related to Family Radio's heavy marketing campaign around the May 21 date.
The retired retail executive said he has sold 258 contracts so far.
"That's out of 40 million targeted 'rapture' believers, so it's not like we're making a billion dollars," he said.
Still, Centre is among the opportunistic entrepreneurs who have made the most of doomsayers' predictions and people's eagerness to believe them, although some of them have seen no bump in business and Family Radio can't imagine anyone operating a business amid the ruins of a post-apocalyptic world anyway.
Family Radio, a non-profit, listener-supported religious organization based in Oakland, Calif., has declared that May 21 will mark the end of the world when Jesus Christ arrives for his second coming and the "rapture" of his believers. The organization encourages people to visit its website.
Eternal Earthbound Pets' sales increased during the first quarter of this year by 27 percent compared to the first quarter of last year, which Centre attributes to the May 21 campaign.
"My business partner [in Minnesota] and I launched in a handful of states initially. Now, it's much larger," he said, adding that he has designated rescuers in 26 states.
Centre increased his rates in January. It now costs $135 to rescue one pet and $20 for an additional pet at the same address, which he collects up front. That's up from $110 for the first pet and $10 for an additional pet.
And Centre takes his business seriously. He said he performed a credit history and criminal background on his 44 rescuers: those who are assigned to rescue any pets left behind. The contract fees are split among them.
Other profiteers are practicing a quote by newly inaugurated Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel: "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."
Emanuel was referring to energy policy in 2008, but Joshua Witter, a software engineer, shared that mentality when he started Post-Rapture Post, a message delivery service to those left behind after the apocalypse.