Back in the early days of reality television, Steve Elwis might have made a breakout star. He's got the loud shirts, the ready-made catchphrases and the mildly offensive views.
These days, colourful TV entrepreneurs are ten-a-penny and even a dedicated trader like Steve wouldn't consider that a worthy investment. We met him in the second episode of Channel 4's Getting Rich in the Recession series, which explored how the misery of millions is a money-making opportunity for some.
Grimsby boy Steve specialises in buying up bankrupt stock at knockdown prices before selling it on for profit. He is the self-proclaimed "man who buys anything", including incontinence wipes, 100,000 union jacks, soiled wedding dresses, live crabs and "ladies' bikinis" (but not men's, presumably).
He happily paraded his stock and introduced his staff, while the interviewer became desperate for a glimpse of a troubled conscience. "Do you feel bad?" asked the voice behind the camera for the third or fourth time. Steve looked thoughtful for a moment: "I've got indigestion from the meal I've just had... but other than that I feel fine."
Steve doesn't really see the issue with his business model, and neither do I. In the ecology of small enterprise, companies like his are the dung beetles keeping everything tidy. Not pretty to watch, perhaps, but necessary. If Channel 4 is really interested in nailing the villains of this recession, they're going to have to go a bit further up the food chain.Reuse content