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May 21 Armageddon: Big Money For Small Businesses

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2012
Some people fear the world will be ending on May 21, 2011, but lots of business owners are trying to make some last minute lucre. | YouTube

No one wants the world to end on May 21 (except maybe Harold Camping, the 89-year-old evangelist certain doomsday is nigh), but some people do want to make a buck.

For every person like Robert Fitzpatrick, who has spent his $140,000 life savings on an ad campaign to let others know that armageddon looms right around the corner, another like Peter Bianchi who sees a financial opportunity, exists along with him.

Bianchi created Drank, a "relaxation beverage" made with melatonin designed to "slow your roll," and he hopes to spend his last moments on Earth drinking in profits made in part from a campaign started in April declaring his elixir the "Official Beverage of the End of the World."

He says the campaign isn't just about last minute bank account padding before the apocalypse.

"Many of my friends are seriously worried," he told AOL Weird News. "They've bought bunkers. I personally think we're at the end times, but I'm not worrying. If the end does come, it's better to be cool and calm than crazy."

Bianchi is hoping to help his fellow humans -- and make some armageddon cash -- by selling two cases for the price of one on May 21.

Although he could lose a mint, if the world actually ends, Bianchi won't have to fill the orders.

On the other hand, if existence is still around come Monday, he has until the next "dooms-date," December 21, 2012, to milk his timely beverage trademark.

Another shop dying to get some extra customers on the last day of the world is Photoworks, a San Francisco-based photo supply business.

It will offer a 20-percent discount on everything in the store on May 21.

But is the deal tied to the end of the world?

Mike Josespher, one of the partners, says the shop runs sales about every two months and thought the potential devastation of all humanity seemed like a good hook.

"To be honest, people are more interested in the 20 percent part more than the end-of-the-word part," Josepher admitted. "We like goofy promotions."

However, they can only go so far. Although another world-ending day remains about a-year-and-a-half away, Josepher already knows there won't be any Mayan calendar specials.

"That's during the Christmas season -- our busiest season -- so I don't think we'll be offering any deals," he said.

San Diego-based entrepreneur Rex Edhlund feels confident he can make a profit selling his Popular Naughty brand of T-shirts at a 25 percent discount on May 21 even if Judgment Day comes.

"To be honest, we have a punk burlesque vibe and, if the rapture happens, I'm probably not losing any of my customer base," Edhlund said. "Plus, if the Rapture happens, there is still 153 days left before the planet is destroyed and I think they'll want to look good."

Maya Nash, a psychic in Nyack, N.Y., also predicts big business Saturday, even though she's certain the wold won't end.

"It better not," Nash said. "I'm closing shop early to go the Preakness."

Despite its hype as a day of doom, Nash has a feeling she's going to be lucky on May 21-- at least at the track, because one of the horses is named "Astrology."

But for the less optimistic, she will offer discount readings for $21 and comfort for worried souls.

"I have been getting lots of worried people and I tell them, 'There are endings every day,'" she said. "Seriously, I have been inundated with emails and phone calls from some truly frightened people for the better part of a week."

If the end of the world drives you to drink, Kaitlyn McMurdo believes that last cocktail should be special.

The head mixologist at La Maison Blanche, a new hotel in Shelter Heights, N.Y., created a special end times cocktail called "The Nostradamus."

"I thought of it a few weeks ago," she said. "I know a lot of superstitious people and all the signs told me I should make a drink."

The $13 cocktail combines Hendrick's gin with Gosset champagne, a champagne house from Nostradamus' time, and Creme Yvette, which McMurdo said "makes the drink look really potion-y."

The key is the gin. "If it's your last drink, you want it to be a strong one," she said.

McMurdo is not nearly as psychic as Nostradamus, but she predicts it will be a big hit with her customers when she unveils it Friday night.

"I figure if I'm gonna go, this is the drink I want," she said.

Filmmakers Chris Hume and Ryan Linehan hope to capitalize on the demographic who just wants to laugh about the end of days. They released their "Go Out Laughing 2012 Survival Kit" just in time for this apocalypse.

The $12.99 kit purportedly includes everything that someone might want when the world ends, including ear plugs, a killer bee prevention mask, a jar holding one gulp of air, zombie repellant (actually a rock), a shower cap, one Communion wafter and, most important of all, a Mayan calendar beer coaster.

"We started laughing about the end of the world six to seven weeks ago," Hume said. "We then decided to take a whole bunch of nothing and put it in a box -- but it's a real nice box."

Although Hume hopes to make money from the kit (he'd sold 17 so far since introducing them earlier this week), he said his most important contribution to the end times may actually be a page on the company website.

"It satirically but accurately educates people on all the other times people said the world was going to end -- all the way back to Jesus," he said.

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