Saturday, July 17, 2010

GoldSafe and similar fraud shows

As usual, the idiot box is on while I am surfing the internet and watching the inane stuff that shows up on late night. In addition to the usual teleshopping ads, there is a new kind of unbelievable con that is legally allowed on Indian television. There is a program called GoldSafe on NDTV Imagine (and there are similar shows on other channels as well). The con goes like this - you identify the face of a celebrity which is partially hidden and win money for the guessing the right answer. The face is generally easily recognizable and the presenter - an ever chattering nincompoop that incessantly keeps asking people to call and win the moolah. You will have loads of clowns calling up and dreaming up names that do not even remotely resemble the celebrity in question. I am pretty sure that they are people hired by the show to change accents and names call up with all kinds of funny wrong answers.

The charges are freaking exorbitant (Rs12 a minute) and the time keeps piling up without any discernible end in sight. Right now, it's almost an hour and no one has guessed the obvious face. How do they manage to get people to hold? They keep having these 1-2 minute timers which keep popping up interlaced with the constant chatter of the unbelievably stupid low-life drones asking people to pick up the phone and call. Then they have the 4-6 minute speed round where there is no wait and all are let in. Finally, when the con takes too long (which is usually the case), they have a final 5 where the last 5 callers are chosen.

This must be incredibly lucrative for the channel and the producers but can't help but wonder how many viewers are left holding the bag. I don't know how this can be legally allowed. Makes the junk sold on the teleshopping network look benign in comparison.

Goes on to prove the proverb - A fool and his money are soon parted. And there is no end to the number of fools or the number of people helping them part with their money.

I believe that viewers should vote with their remotes and avoid channels like unscrupulous channels like NDTV Imagine that help perpetrate these kinds of fraud