"Reality TV" tries Seattle

I was enjoying a latte and doing email in my favorite downtown cafe when I see this ill-matched couple take a seat at the end of the big table with their drinks.  An older man in his sixties, and a woman in her thirties are taking turns scanning the place and fiddling with their cell phones.  Neither fit the mold of professionals or hipsters who usually frequent the place.  Soon a younger man with an ironic baseball cap sits down and joins them with their coffees.  The woman says"Hi" to me from the other end of the long table.  At first glance they look to me like they belong in L.A. instead of Seattle.  The woman is wearing designer jeans with inappropriate bagginess and has an unrealistically optimistic but freshly-colored bottle redhead job happening.  I can't help but notice.  I start doing my "author" thing and try to make up a story for why they are here in the coffee shop, but nothing is coming.  A client meeting, maybe?   I pick up a snippet of conversation, one is flying out for a project and I make out the word "Universal".
 They are clearly waiting for something so I start looking around the place as new people file in.  I don't see many regulars, in fact, there are a lot of unusual looking people the place.  I've been there enough to know the rhythm.  Top of the hour or thirty past, the cube and office dwellers come in either in twos or in packs for caffeine.  Singles are always professionals with asset-tag clad laptops working on presentations.  The clientele has very little variability.   However today there are several people who don't fit that mold.  There is the odd group at the end of my table.  Another is the scruffy faced white guy in an overly heavy jacket, also hunched over his clothing inappropriate smartphone.  Another is a black guy in sportswear.  Not fancy sportswear, but unbranded stuff.  A white t-shirt and athletic shorts that look like they came from Wal-Mart.  That should have been my tip-off, but it wasn't.
I'm not paying attention.  I'm logged into my home laptop through my iPad and trying to send some email.  The resolution difference and touch screen means I have to be really careful, so I'm concentrating on that and not really in writer / observer mode.
The black guy takes out a laptop and starts working on it.  It's a white macbook in a ridiculously hot pink case.  There's a kitty-head on the case obscuring the Apple-logo.  At this point I'm thinking no black man would own that laptop, unless he was a gay designer, and no gay designer would ever dress like that, but who knows, right?
Then the young man with the L. A. ironic baseball cap takes out a large black bag and places it on the table.    I can clearly see the plexiglass window on the bag and the camera within.  He's fiddling with the controls as I follow the line of sight of the camera.  It has a wide shot of the cafe.  I start to get interested.
 Nearly immediately, the black guy with the pink laptop gets up and asks the barista for the location of the bathroom and leaves.   Weird.  I think.  That's my secret fear when I'm working at a coffee shop.  I never leave my hardware unattended.  I scan the cafe again and become a little concerned.
I ask the older man "What are you filming?"
He says, "Nothing.  It's a practical joke.  For a TV show."
I take a moment to process that.  It was a moment too long because things are happening fast.  I see another younger black dude in a green hoodie come into the cafe.  He makes right for the neon-pink laptop and picks it up.  I screw up.  My hardware-loss phobia kicks in and I say in a loud voice from across the room. "Stop taking that laptop! It is not yours!"  A scuffle breaks out as the other patrons, hipsters and businesspeople spring into action and restrain the kid with the laptop.  He's whining, "But it's my laptop!"  No one is buying it and grey-haired businessman is trying to pull it from his hands.  Another guy, a hipster regular I recognize, sees the grungy white guy filming with his smartphone and confronts him.  He says, "Hey - why are you filming this?"
Then, there's a little bedlam as we patrons all figure out we've been had.  The production crew at my table jumps up to try and talk down the situation but the hipster dude is livid.  The scene has been blown and the crew is trying to back out as gracefully as possible, but the regulars are incensed. I get the impression that the idea of being on TV does not impress them in the least.  They are types that killed their TV ten years ago.   I felt embarrassed for falling for the stunt, even though I had figured out that there was something fishy going on seconds before it went down.  The hipster chases them out into the sidewalk demanding to see their authorization to film and to see the release paperwork.
In the back and forth the old dude leaves his smartphone on the table.  When the enraged hipster comes back inside,  I point it out to him.  (Still feeling guilty about falling for the scam, I wanted to give him some leverage for his demands.)  He takes it and starts screwing with it, but eventually the old dude comes back in to get it.  It might have made a great double-blind trick for the show, but the hipster was really pissed for being manipulated, and the rest of the patrons were pure hostile because they understood immediately the social-cultural manipulation going on.
Score one for Seattle and the intelligence and reasonableness of our people.  Score zero for slimy reality show production crew.    Obviously this was a set-up for one of the morally questionable shows like What would you do?, but I don't actually know which show it was for.  However, seeing one of these unfold in real-life made me certain that I do not care to ever watch a show like this again.  It was dangerous, stupid, and irresponsible.  It makes me sad that we can't be better humans.

UPDATE:  It was not the crew from ABC.  I should have known that.  Disney is a class act.


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