French firm sells fake kidnappings — the perfect gift for your bored executive?

The floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Image via Wikipedia

This is the creepiest, weirdest business idea I have ever seen — paying to be “kidnapped”:

Extreme sports such as bungee-jumping from the Macau Tower may well be enough to satisfy the adrenaline needs of the majority of premium thrill-seekers. Those still wishing for more, however, have a new alternative: they can pay to be kidnapped, without warning, by French Ultime Réalité.

“Kidnapping”, “Manhunt” and “Go-Fast Adventure” are all among the standard services Ultime Réalité offers, but it’s open to special requests. Through the company’s simulated kidnapping packages, for instance, the participant is abducted without warning—after leaving a restaurant, say, or in the supermarket parking lot. Paying “victims” are then bound, gagged and imprisoned for four or 10 hours (depending on the scenario they choose), allowing them to experience the terror of the real thing. Additional elements such as ransom, escapes and helicopter chases can also be involved. Manhunt packages, meanwhile, can last either one or two days, with the option to play the role of either hunter or prey. Then there’s the Go-Fast Adventure, where participants take the role of a drug dealer smuggling cargo on the high seas. Finally, a recently added “extreme” package allows clients to wake up on an autopsy table in a morgue, surrounded by corpses and body bags. Pricing on a basic kidnap package is EUR 900.

Just a few weeks into its launch, Ultime Réalité was already getting as many as two requests per day, according to Reuters primarily from top-level executives seeking an extreme-sports alternative.

Sorry, mes chers. I think this is really sick.

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