Markets in everything, etc.

This piece builds a new impression with each paragraph:

It's cheap at the price — for 14 euros, a Ukrainian firm hires out drinking buddies to help while away the evenings in the industrial town of Dniprodzerzhynsk. The service is proving very popular.

A firm in eastern Ukraine has come up with a promising business idea — hiring out drinking buddies with whom clients can shoot the breeze on long evenings out in the industrial town of Dniprodzerzhynsk, presumably over a bottle or two of vodka.

For a fee of around €14 ($18), a company called "Kind Fairy" provides "a pleasant companion who can enliven a boring evening," manager Yulia Peyeva told AFP.

Dniprodzerzhynsk on the river Dnieper is known for its heavy industry and named after the founder of the Bolshevik secret police, Felix Dzerzhynsky.

"Virtually all of our people are talented. They can play guitar, sing or recite poetry. Today you may want to talk about art and tomorrow to read Faust," said Peyeva, adding that the firm does not encourage binge drinking.

She said the service is enjoying strong demand, and that the firm employs a number of psychologists among its staff of boozing partners.

For the pointer I thank Brian Wheeler and also Allison Kasic.


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