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Need To Break-Up With Someone? Call The Shop

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Breaking up has always been hard to do, but compared to 1962, when this song was written, there many more ways to do it now. It used to be that doing it over the phone was considered tacky, but now you can send a text or post to Facebook or use other social networking sites to send the message loud and clear.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Or if you can't bring yourself to do the job, you can hire someone else to do it for you. In this not-so-brave new world, this is the sound of heartbreak.

MACKENZIE KEAST: Hi, Alyssa. This is Mackenzie calling from The Breakup Shop. How are you doing today? We go on, and we say, you know, look, your significant other, so-and-so, has ordered a breakup through us, and I do have to regret to inform you that we are breaking up with you.

SIEGEL: This isn't a joke. This is actually Mackenzie Keast. He and his brother Evan launched an online service called The Breakup Shop. And Keast says in the age of online dating, online dumping was inevitable.

KEAST: It's about the reality of modern dating where it means a lot of breakups. And it - you know, you want a pain-free, easy way to get out of it, and you don't necessarily need to do it yourself.

CORNISH: Keast got the idea for The Breakup Shop after he was dumped.

KEAST: It was the ghosting situation where I was seeing someone casually, and they just walked away - no phone call, no reason why they aren't responding to my texts. You know, it's just - they disappear.

CORNISH: Well, it was casual. Anyway, Keast saw that as a social problem to solve. The Breakup Shop isn't unique. In fact, there are so many social media tools and apps that The New York Times have dubbed them the breakup industrial complex.

SIEGEL: Now, this is strictly business for Keast and his brother. They charge 30 bucks for a phone call, only 10 for a text message.

CORNISH: We know when you're being dumped, you've got questions, but these guys won't answer them.

KEAST: No, no. When it comes up to the breakups - who's breaking up with who, the reasons for it, whatever it is - we don't ask a lot of questions. We don't necessarily need to know the reasons, right? And at the end of the day, if they - if they are looking for more information, they'll have to go back to - talk to their ex.

SIEGEL: There is one kind of relationship Keast says his shop will not break up - marriage. He says that one is for the lawyers.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BREAKING UP")

CHARLI XCX: (Singing) Everything was wrong with you, so breaking up was easy to do. Hate your friends and your family, too, so breaking up was easy to do. Breaking up. Breaking up. Breaking up. Breaking up. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.