High-End Matchmaker Janis Spindel Now Accepting Donations

The economic downturn has started to affect the even pricey Upper East Side matchmakers who had, until now, seemed impervious to market forces. High-end matchmaker Janis Spindel, who charges up to $250,000 for her services, told the Daily Transom she’s been receiving more barter offers than ever. “Instead of writing me a check, they want to give me townhomes, cars, diamond jewelry,” Ms. Spindel said. “The men I work with are very wealthy, but they’re feeling insecure about their assets and they’re desperate for someone to talk to.”

Within the upscale matchmaking industry, it’s common knowledge that times of crisis mean big business. “When things aren’t going well, people want someone to commiserate with,” Ms. Spindel said. “And for the most part, I’m willing to strike a bargain.” (According to previously published reports, Ms. Spindel charges $60,000 for up to 12 introductions a year, though that figure gets padded by marriage bonuses, expenses and monthly retainers.)

But Lawrence J. White, an economist at New York University, says trading goods for services during tough times doesn’t make sense. “The motive is either tax evasion or price discrimination, and both are problematic,” White said. “Currency is an extremely effective medium of exchange and we should stick to it.”  

That hasn’t stopped Ms. Spindel. Last weekend, while on business in Boston, the owner of a high-end car dealership enticed Ms. Spindel with a brand-new Rolls Royce. She and her prospective client are still negotiating the terms of their contract, but Ms. Spindel is more than willing to make it work. “It’s really not a bad deal,” she said. “He wants a wife and I want a red Corniche.”