"Trend forecasting" firm Tobe charges anywhere from $25,000 to $250,000 a year in order to tell its corporate clients what the hot fashions will be this season. How does Tobe know this? They just make it up, duh.

Tools like "taking last year's best-seller forward" tells retailers how to move sales volume from this year's hot item (cargo pants) to next season's version (slouchy "boyfriend" khakis).

Cargo pants. That will be a quarter-million dollars, please.

[WSJ. Pic: Shutterstock. Previously in fake-ass jobs: college admission consultants, branding consultants, generational consultants.]