Businesses in Santa Maria, California are making the most of the money-making opportunities arising from having the Michael Jackson trial on their doorstep.
Who can blame them?
With hundreds of hacks on expense accounts swarming around the town there are big bucks to be made.
One journalist has set up the Eat MJ website, a "Gastronomic Guide to the Michael Jackson Trial."
A local hotel is offering a "Michael Jackson Trial Special" package (source: BBC News Online.)
When we were planning our trial coverage we were offered a tiny postage stamp of floorspace on the roof of a nearby office to use as a television live position -- at the bargain rate of £1000 a day. Believing this to be a poor way to spend licence fee payers money, we politely declined.
The commercial broadcasters, however, have no such constraints. Good luck to the entrepreneurs of Santa Maria. I hope they make an absolute bundle during their 15 minutes of fame.