Business owners in economically-depressed Metro Detroit suburbs, eager to do business with wives of Italian Fiat executives, are prettying-up their shops, discounting their $1,595 high-heeled sandals and learning Italian, all in a bid to earn some valuable Lira.

Those ugly shoes and increased Rosetta Stone sales are only one indication of the way Detroit-area businesses are preparing to fleece welcome the estimated 100-200 Fiat executives and their families expected to draw the short straw and be forced to move to the land of bad Italian food. (FWIW, you weren't feeling well before I took you to Mario's. —Ed.) Since they'll be the only people with any money to move to Detroit in the last decade, businesses are looking to them as a lifeline in a difficult economy. A definite upside to the Fiat/Chrysler alliance.

Pointing out her business acumen and eternal optimism, Karen Daskas, the owner of fancy Birmingham shoe shop Tender says, "We are the only boutique that sells these shoes in the U.S., together with the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, I'd love to have Italians as my clients." [via Bloomberg]