March 22, 2007 -- Deny, deny, deny -- that was the advice of reggae-rap artist Shaggy in his 2000 hit song "It Wasn't Me." It seems like the perfect cover.
Who stole my last soda? It wasn't me. Who dented the car? Not me. I saw you with another woman! Couldn't have been me then. It's so simple, right?
Unfortunately (or fortunately) for most of us, lying, whether it's little and white or a big fat one, is just not that easy. But now, thanks to a new Illinois-based company called the "Alibi Network" you no longer have to come up with your own excuse when the truth is not preferred.
For a low, guilt-ridden annual fee, they'll do the dirty work for you.
"We create perception and perpetuate for verification," said Mike DeMarco, marketing director for the Alibi Network. "In other words, we help people lie."
As outrageous as the Alibi Network sounds, it's not all that different from the work political spin doctors, celebrity publicists, entertainment lawyers and analysts get paid big bucks to do every day. Unlike Demarco's characterization, the agency's Web site is less brazen in its description of the company's work and states: "The Alibi Network is a cutting edge full service agency providing alibis and excused absences as well as assistance with a variety of sensitive issues. We view ourselves as professional advisers who understand our clients' unique situations."
Lying Is Thriving
Only a spineless, insecure, nefarious person would pay someone else to lie for them, right? Well, don't be so quick to judge. The stock market may be slumping and home sales may be down, but the lying business is thriving.
"Business is phenomenal," DeMarco said, adding that it fits the basic economic model for a successful business which he cites as the "necessary goods" such as "liquor, drugs, sex -- anything that's a vice."
For $75 a year, clients can order up any combination of lies, schemes and ruses to trick anyone from their spouse to their boss. The company's services run the gamut, from virtual hotel services and virtual employment to discreet shopping and custom alibis for affairs.
Such deceptions can range from the $75 "rescue call service" to get someone out of a bad date or an unwanted business meeting, to elaborate plots costing hundreds, even thousands, of dollars and lasting for months.
"Soup to nuts," DeMarco said. "Anything you would possibly have if you were [actually] doing what you were supposed to be doing."
Enjoy March Madness but Don't Tell the Family
So let's say you're a basketball fanatic and, since this week is the NCAA Finals, you want to fly to Vegas with your buddies and place a few bets. But, unfortunately, your wife has other ideas and wants you to accompany her to her family reunion this weekend. What's a dedicated Tar Heel fan to do?
One quick phone call to the Alibi Network and you can be raising a cold one at Caesar's Palace. Then, the agency will help you manufacture a fake business trip with a document trail to "prove" the reason for the trip to Vegas.
"We would provide you with an agenda for this 'upcoming seminar.' We'll send you an e-mail verification or a travel itinerary, a phone number for the seminar company to be reached at," said DeMarco.
Sadly, the Alibi Network reports that most of its business deals are related to a different type of deception. "About 50 percent of our business is related to infidelity," DeMarco said.
Still, DeMarco said he's not in the business of making judgments and insists personal morals and other such ethics actually hinder his company's ability to do its job.
"I think it's hard inherently for people to lie. I really believe that, I think it's very difficult for an honest person to say something that's not factually true," he said.
But, obviously, that's not stopping people from paying someone else to say it for them.