Rent A Family

Mrs. Sato is sad, it is her birthday, and she is alone. Her husband died in 1985. Her daughter lives in another city. Her son is working.

Mrs. Sato goes to the telephone and calls a company in Tokyo, Japan.

"Hello," a woman answers.

"Hello," Mrs. Sato says. "I'd like to rent a family."

"What would you like?" the woman asks Mrs. Sato. "A son? A daughter? Some grandchildren?"

"I'd like to rent a daughter, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren," Mrs. Sato says.

At seven o'clock that evening, four actors come to Mrs. Sato's house — a woman, a man, and two children. "Happy Birthday!" the actors say. The actors stay with Mrs. Sato for three hours. They talk with her, eat dinner with her, and watch TV with her. Then they go home. Mrs. Sato is happy.

Mrs. Sato was alone on her birthday, so she called Rent-A-Family. Rent-A-Family is a new company in Tokyo. The company sends "families" to people's houses. The families are really actors. The actors visit for three hours. The cost is $1,000.

Most people rent families because they are lonely. Their children and grandchildren don't visit them. But some people rent families because they like the actors. One woman says, "I always argue with my son and daughter-in-law. But I never argue with my rented family. My family is OK. But my rented family is better!"

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