by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

‘Who IS she?

“She is the perfect woman . . .

“She is your dream wife . . .

“So what now? . . .

“You can’t stalk her . . .

“But WE CAN . . .”

What you just read is the start of a Web-based pitch for a company called Coi–. The reason I use the dash is because I don’t want to send it any business. A matchmaker, I’m not.

You see, Coi– is in the business of setting up accidental meetings between you and your dream girl. By “accidental,” its folks mean they happen to know where she works, what she wears, when she goes to lunch, and what elevator she takes — and they happen to jam that elevator once the two of you are in it.

They also happen to have supplied you with information on her favorite foods, favorite artist, turn-ons, turnoffs, and, presumably, how she yells: “HELP! THIS %$%#@ ELEVATOR IS STUCK!”

Forget the pickup lines

Now I know the dating world is tough. There are a lot of creeps out there. Then again, to paraphrase the latest military jargon, is the creep you know better than the creep behind the binoculars?

Coi– doesn’t think so. Its premise is simple. It appeals to a single person’s desperation — and offers to do the heavy lifting.

“You can’t just walk up to her and utter some silly pickup line, because she’d rightly despise you if you did,” its Web page says.

“WE can observe her movements from dawn to dusk. WE can . . . interview roommates and classmates from her past . . . “WE can arrange for the two of you to first meet at a convention and then — a few weeks later — end up, coincidentally, seated next to each other on a flight.

“SHE will start talking to YOU . . .” Yeah. She’ll say, “You again?”

Or: “Hey. Can you fix an elevator?”

Fork over the loot

Spying for love is weird enough, but wait until you see the prices. Coi–, which investigates only gals for guys (not the other way around), charges
$8,000 for the “Research” phase, $45,000 for the “Investigation” stage and
$25,000 for the “Execution” stage.

Maybe they’re executing her husband.

The point is, $78,000 is a pretty steep price for a coincidence. I mean, how much can it cost to snip an elevator cable? A grand? Couldn’t you just walk up to your dream girl, take out $78,000 and say: “Hey, sweet thing. You interested?”

She might slap you. But that’s minor compared with what she’ll do when she finds out you hired a mini-CIA to trail her around.

Not that Coi– will let you do that. In its cautionary rules section, Coi– clearly states: “You may not disclose the fact that you hired us to anyone.”

Especially the IRS.

Maybe it’s me. But there’s something creepy about coincidences coming in Phase Is and Phase IIs, or a rule that says, “We will decline to work with those who, in our opinion, are lazy in terms of making themselves attractive to the opposite sex.”

There goes the client base.

I would like to ask the people who run Coi– which wacko came up with this idea, how many people have actually hired the company, and whether think they’re violating just a few privacy laws here.

Alas, they do not talk to the media. In fact, rule No. 3 states, “We will not deal with you if you work in journalism.”

So my elevator rides are safe.

Some might say that Coi– is the 21st Century’s version of the village matchmaker. I don’t know. When was the last time a Yente offered you a dossier on your dream girl, complied by “a team of up to a dozen investigators”?

It does prove one thing: The American entrepreneurial spirit isn’t dead.

It’s just hiding in the bushes.

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com. Catch “Albom in the Afternoon” 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760) and “Monday Sports Albom” 7-8 p.m. Mondays on WJR.


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New book, The Little Liar, arrives November 14. Get the details »

Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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