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Wanted: Wedding Guests!

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In a sharing economy, people rent out goods, services, and expertise, and the trend has grown in recent years. Many of the successful companies begin in the US, but soon expand around the world. After all, there are resources everywhere, and everyone wants to earn more cash if they can fulfill a need.

Airbnb is one recognizable example. People rent out their homes or spare rooms to vacationers on a nightly, weekly, or even monthly basis. Uber, which is an Internet taxi service, is also very popular, and anyone with a car, accident insurance, and a driver's license can become a taxi driver or chauffeur. There's Elance too, where professionals can freelance their skills as a writer, web designer, translator, accountant, and so on. However, perhaps one of the more unique examples of the sharing economy comes from South Korea, where weddings hire fake friends to attend the ceremony.

It might seem that hiring fake friends on such an important occasion is inconceivable. Weddings are a big deal in South Korea, though. There is a lot of pomp in the ceremony, such as musical numbers, skits, and several hundred guests in attendance. According to Korean tradition, the immediate family, extended family, and family friends must all be invited. As such, it can be a problem if, for example, the groom has two hundred guests and the bride has only fifty guests. In order to save face, the solution is to hire actors.

Fake guests get reimbursed roughly $20 per ceremony, and the actors might attend several weddings in one day during the busy season. The service that offers wedding guests contains a database of 20,000 actors, and these people can also be hired as fake bosses, office employees, family members, spouses, and even mistresses.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree?:

  1. Honesty is very important.
  2. People should be honest no matter the consequences.
  3. I might lie to avoid being embarrassed.
  4. A wedding is the most important day in anyone's life.
  5. I might go to a wedding, even if I weren't invited.

Questions: Answer the questions to check comprehension.

  1. What is a sharing economy?
  2. What are some examples of the sharing economy?
  3. What is the unusual example of the sharing economy given about South Korea in this article?
  4. According to the article, what is a wedding like in South Korea?
  5. Why would a wedding ceremony need fake guests?

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. How would you feel about working as a fake guest to attend a wedding or another important event?
  2. How would you feel about working as a fake boss? How about as a husband or wife?
  3. Do you think that hiring fake wedding guests shows a problem with society? Why/not?
  4. What do you know about the sharing economy and companies like Airbnb and Uber? Please explain.
  5. What sort of jobs would you be able and willing to do in a sharing economy?

Google Search: Type "sharing economy" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:



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