GQ magazine paid $1,500 to the men who kidnapped one of their writers, but not in the way you might think. The magazine gave the fee to a company called Extreme Kidnapping, which provides the only-in-America service of a fake abduction. Drew Magary writes a first-person account of the experience, in which customers get to select the type of kidnappers they'd like (he chose "standard goons" over the "Elite Girls") as well as their brand of mistreatment. He got duct-taped to a chair, slapped, zapped with a stun gun, and doused in cold water, among other things.
"The Eurythmics were the worst part," Magary writes of a constant loop of "Sweet Dreams." But he knew the entire ordeal was fake the whole time, so what's the purpose? "At some point, in order for the illusion to work, the script has to break down," writes Magary. The kidnappers have to "create the impression that the fake kidnapping has somehow gone awry. All it takes is a tiny seed of doubt." In his case, it helped that they used a stun gun on him even though he had opted against it beforehand. He kept that in mind when filling out his customer-satisfaction survey. Click to read Magary's full story, which ends with a note from a genuine kidnapping victim—an old friend of his—scoffing at the "callous waste of money." (Read more kidnapping stories.)