Schemes active/complete: 36
Money made: £58.77
Another dense wedge of silence between this blog post and the last, but Rowe and I have now successfully acquired the keys to our new flat so the principal reason for calling a rain check on this project is hopefully now behind me. To prove I still have a glimmer of attention wavering about the money making schemes please draw your attention to my new financial total!
Gratifyingly my overall earnings can no longer be encapsulated by a single note of British currency, and the extra tenner I’ve popped on since last checking in didn’t involve a harrowing amount of hours being a slave for a music review site (Scheme #23) or amassing months of receipts (Scheme #71), but was earned swiftly and leisurely over a couple of pints last night.
The 203rd scheme to grace my list is bingo, and not the virtual Gala-Sun-Foxy-bingo which is constantly advertised as played by mothers in the bath whooping aloud with glee (for that is Scheme #174: Free bingo sites & other tacky online games), but rather the original, old-school variant involving a trundling cage of numbered balls and a superabundance of senior citizens. Thankfully I live in Bournemouth which has an average age of about a hundred, so a 5 minute walk past the charity shops, opticians and funeral homes sits my local bingo hall, and they offer free games on a Friday. Consequently yesterday evening saw me dragging Rowena out for an exciting night of marking off spoken numbers from a grid of paper.
Registering upon arrival was a simple process but I could already feel wary eyes upon us as we strode in; not only were Rowe and I not regulars but we were easily the youngest there by two entire generations. I was the only male not wearing something beige. It was a similar feeling to the police lot auction we attended for Scheme #112, which likewise hosted a much older demographic sitting in silence before a person with a microphone.
We awkwardly took our seats, ordered some beers and a £2 burger, and waited for our game to start. If you’re thinking of channelling your inner pensioner and losing your own bingo virginity then a warning to you – you are not explained the rules at all. I sat gripping my Carling (as they only sold Carling) and staring at my pad of colour-coded spreadsheets in a bewildered panic as a man at the forefront of the audience called out numbers with the microphone far too close to his mouth and everyone around me confidently scribbled away. It was the closest I’ve felt to sitting an exam I hadn’t revised for since I sat my last exam.
Besides the muffled numbers pouring rapidly from the speaker’s mouth (I was disheartened to hear ’88’ was just “all the eights, eighty-eight” and not “two fat ladies” which is probably considered too offensive nowadays), the rest of the room was in total silence, save the soft fluttering of the ceiling fans which did nothing to disperse the miasma of stale smoke. The only time anyone made a noise was to yell “Bingo!” or “House!” or just a generic excited yelp to indicate they’d ticked off a complete line or box of numbers, at which adjudicators would literally run to the source of commotion to validate the win. Again, like the auction house, I was constantly paranoid I would cough or sneeze or spasmodically waggle my arms which would be misinterpreted and bring the whole room’s attention to me.
It was quickly evident that our fellow players were here not to have fun but simply to win cash. There was no jovial atmosphere during or in between games, and it’s no exaggeration to say I didn’t see anyone except Rowena smile all evening. Us two were the only patrons I could see drinking alcohol as well, everyone else was glugging back Pepsi to keep their reaction times sharp. I genuinely saw women clutching their heads with rage when they were just one number shy of a cash prize only to have Dawn from the neighbourhood watch swoop in with a sneaky full house at the last second.
The lady sat alongside me was unmistakably a pro, spread out over two tables and utterly motionless besides the flurry of the pen in her hand and the odd crafty vape. When Rowe asked her for help as to which of the games we were eligible to participate in she sat resolutely in silence, not even registering us. “Excuse me… sorry, excuse me…” Rowe proffered. But nothing – the woman was in the bingo zone, it was impossible to shake her out.
Eventually one of the workers was kind enough to vaguely explain the structure of the games to us, how we were only to cross off numbers for the 8 red games which started on lilac, not the middle two national games or the special game, but we could do our special game which came after the last red red game (preceded by the red blue game), which was the final of the 8 games out of the total 8, before our 9th game. I smiled blankly back at her and ordered another Carling.
Gradually I figured out what we were doing and became one of the silent masses intently poring over a number sheet. It was strangely, unexpectedly absorbing, and I could see why the regulars were so hushed during games. I have never before experienced a buzz from a chart of recited numbers but I kid you not when I say bingo actually had me adrenalized.
At around the half-way stage I was marking off numbers on the brown grid, having played through lilac, yellow and grey, and I was doing very well for myself – all I needed was a 32 to complete my box and win me £20. The caller rattled through 56 and 87 which naturally each elicited a wee whispered fucking swear from myself before clearly and casually he announced “three and two, thirty-two.”
It’s very rare that I win anything – take coming a close second in The Write Contest’s short horror fiction competition worth $100 for Scheme #173 as an example – so I forced myself to quadruple check that I really did have a complete box before I spluttered “rehp! Yep! Me!” and chucked both arms into the air.
I heard the urgent patter of a bingo worker’s feet heading over and smugly turned in that direction, only to see them congregating around someone else! A woman a few tables up from me had also been waiting for a 32 and had obviously screeched longer and harsher than I so as to drown me out! Her ticket was verified and the booming voice of the bingo God was about to continue listlessly hollering numbers, so I had to cry “woah woah are you having a fucking laugh??” which was sufficient to capture the attention of the nearest bingo hall droid.
My ticket was ratified, the caller commented “OK, joint winner there, joint winner” before continuing, and the woman whose cash prize I’d just halved treated me to her most withering glare. But I couldn’t have cared less; the free entry meant that the £10 prize from this scheme was all profit. Yes I’d bought beer and a burger and the bingo pens themselves which had discharged red ink over my hands all night but that’s simply me being portly, boozy, disorganized Matt Rose. If I was a tee-total vegetarian who carried a pencil case everywhere then this scheme would have bagged me money at absolutely no expense to myself!
Following my brown victory I had no further luck, and Rowe won nothing at all, until finally all the games were complete. I still had half a pint left and expected the congregation to stay for a while chatting and finishing their drinks, but as soon as the last number had been called the entire room stood up as one and marched out sternly like they couldn’t wait to leave. Not a murmur of convivial chatter was to be heard, nothing but the tramp of feet and the clop of walking canes.
So I would recommend Scheme #203: Bingo – it’s surprisingly exciting, you can win, and if Bournemouth’s anything to go by then their burgers are cheap. Just don’t expect to be accompanied by anything other than an angry geriatric cult who would sell their granddaughter for a lilac 29 in the second to last box.
Schemes active/complete: 35
Money made: £30.03
It is with no small sense of relief I can report I have finally butchered and eaten my ReceiptHog. For the first quarter of 2017 I have been scavenging receipts from every available source to upload to this app as part of Scheme #71: Scan your shopping (my coworker Geoff deserves a special shout out here as every morning when I arrived at work I’d find a little care package of receipts on my desk that he had saved for me), and now, finally, that hard work has paid off, for the dizzying sum of £5.
Now comes the part of the blog where I have to determine whether I could earnestly recommend this scheme, and I’m unsure where my opinion lies. Be in no doubt that Scheme #71: Scan your shopping – WORKS; the £5 was in my PayPal within 24 hours and the scheme didn’t cost me a penny, but the whole operation is something of a pain. Whilst not necessarily time consuming to spend 10 seconds here and there taking a snapshot of your shopping bill, it’s a daily niggle which you may not want to add to your life if, like me, your days are comprised almost solidly of niggles anyway. Add to that further inconveniences like the fact the app logs you out every time you enter a WiFi zone and only some receipts actually generate coins while others will reward you solely with useless sweepstake entries, and the entire exercise seems fruitless.
That said, receipts are things which you’re naturally going to accumulate anyway so it almost seems silly not to be making money from them if you can. Answering pleb’s online questions about the Triassic Period (Scheme #31) or reviewing plush dog beds (Scheme #23) aren’t activities which will crop up in your daily routine regardless, but if you’re going to be making a transaction you may as well sell that data for 0.005p. There’s even a slot machine minigame that certain receipts will earn you pulls on which has the potential to win you a cool £66 if three of the eponymous Hog faces are spun, not that I ever had any luck on it.
If you’re a person who finds themselves garnering an unnaturally high number of receipts or you work in a supermarket and have access to the droves of receipts discarded by shoppers I’d say there are certainly worse apps you could have on your phone, the Double Dog dare app for instance (Scheme #125). Don’t expect to make anything fast though – it took me three months of pledging at least a dozen receipts a day to get my paws on that fiver.
Sticking with the concept of divulging your shopping habits for cash my ShopandScan clicker arrived through the post the other day:
This was a lot less bulky than I’d assumed, certainly smaller than the cordless telephone-sized contraptions cashiers use to scan barcodes. I’d also incorrectly presumed you were supposed to take your clicker with you wherever you went to scan your shopping on the go, but I learned from the incredibly dull manifesto the scanner arrived with that your Opticon device is meant to remain as a household appliance.
I spent a while using the bright red scanner light to blind Rowena with whilst she was on the phone before testing it on all the barcodes in the house which it registered with a satisfying ‘boop’ noise each time. Next it was a simple case of downloading the ShopandScan app to my laptop and plugging the clicker in, which promptly went mental and started beeping fifty times a second until all the barcodes had been uploaded. For that painless little task I was awarded a £10 Amazon gift card – not every scan is going to be so generous but this is the sweetener you’re presented with for your first successful upload. One of my self-imposed rules is that only bonafide cash money can be added to the total so as soon as that voucher arrives it’s going straight on eBay to maybe get me £7 if I’m lucky.
Speaking of eBay that’s where my AA01 £5 note is currently sat, with an £8 starting price, 31 hours left at time of typing, and absolutely 0 bids. I genuinely thought these first batch fivers would sell like Glastonbury tickets but I’m starting to realize this might not be the case. Some are struggling to be sold on eBay for less than £5!!
To be honest I don’t hold out much hope for my other eBayable commodity as part of Scheme #126: Collect and sell empty toilet roll tubes. These are sold either for their use as craft materials or just to strange fetishists but rarely for more than a couple quid. Recently my pile of tubes has really grown as I’ve discovered an empty kitchen roll can be cut into three facsimile toilet roll ones, and I’ve just taken stock of my disgusting collection for the first time to find I’ve amassed precisely fifty tubes so I think it’s high time to get these on the electronic Bay too.
In other news I was strolling past an arcade the other sunny day and thought such a place would be precisely where cack-handed holidaymakers might fumble some change so I could cash in on Scheme #61: Look down when you walk. My instincts paid off to the value of 5 pence, and a penny was also to be mine in the local Wetherspoons which is why my total project earnings are the neatly palindromic £30.03.
Two new schemes to add to the rota – I signed up for Scheme #60: Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, an Amazon-associated programme based on the automated Turkish chess player of the 1700s. It comprises of myriad brainless human tasks such as copying lines of code and filling out CAPTCHA tests but the corners of Reddit dedicated to money making methods seem to extol becoming a Turk, so my application to become one has been sent.
The other new scheme I commenced on the back of Apple declaring they were unceremoniously dumping Imagination Technologies to spend some time discovering themselves, sending the shares of the graphics chip creators plummeting into the abyss. Despite having never heard of the company until last week I have confidence they’ll pick themselves up and get through this messy breakup so what better time to invest in some of their stocks?
That’s right, Scheme #4 is Play the stock market – unfortunately when you have a project which revolves around a topic as dry as earning money sometimes we have to tackle dreary subjects such as company shares and moving averages and dividend yields, it’s not all going to be skateboard stunts and tattooed arses. Anyway as it transpires buying stocks in a company is massively more complex than I gave it credit for so for the time being I’ve just created a practice account with The Share Centre to see how I get on with pretend money before I commit any real collateral.
Finally, to try to pick this post up and make it at least semi-interesting I returned to the good folks at Demonical intending to sell my soul again (Scheme #49). It’s been over 2 months since I signed a handwritten contract proffering my well-weathered soul for auction and I’ve heard nothing back, so I settled on the quick-sell option available on the site which promises “$5.00 CASH NOW” for just a couple clicks and a piddly little eternity of torture.
I landed on ‘Drunkenness’ as my favourite sin from the long list the site provides which vary from ‘Criticism’ and ‘Lack of compassion’ to ‘Murder’ and ‘Sex with animals’, and within seconds my application was off to the devil’s admin team. No sign of any satanic fivers my way yet, but if this works I don’t see why I couldn’t create a load of email addresses and milk these demons for $5 a time. There is small-print which politely requests you only sell your own soul but it’s odd a site of this ilk relies on a conscientious honour system. I’d quite enjoy being able to gloat I was corrupt enough to swindle an exchange site based on pure corruption.
Schemes active/complete: 33
Money made: £24.97
Well, fuck. That’s any pretence of regularly updating this blog neatly dismissed. It’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything, not because I’ve completely given up on this project but neither as I’ve been labouring so hard at it that I simply haven’t had a spare evening out of the last 36 to get to a device and upload my inner monologue.
What happened is that I had a stag do, which gracefully slid into a bout of the flu, that in turn naturally led into an unplanned hiatus and a step back to reassess, to see which schemes were working and the considerably larger quantity of schemes that weren’t. That is an element of this project which I’m grateful for, in that it’s simple to drop for a stretch of time and then swiftly resume – it’s for this reason that I’ve decided to lose the day counter which prefaced each post, as such a measure isn’t all that necessary when it transpires I’m going to sporadically spend a month here and there uninterested in £5 note serial numbers and police auctions but rather PS4 games and rum.
Now I’ve had a chance to work through my video game backlog, and with the deposit for a new flat an imminent expenditure, I thought I’d again gingerly lower myself into the cold, cold ocean of money-making ideas. There’s not a massive amount to catch up on since last throwing a tantrum and deleting my dare app back in February. My knee has now healed following Scheme #125 and the yen is doing rather well to cast a happy light onto Scheme #164. Thanks to Scheme #61 I’m teasingly close to the total £25 mark, having found a penny on the floor in Wetherspoons, a 2p coin in Burger King, a 10p in a car park, and to my astonishment a shiny whole £1 coin sat flagrant and unabashed right in the middle of the entrance to a busy Tesco!
Before this project even commenced I always picked up spare change if I saw it in the street, even if doing so had me dancing perilously between oncoming cars just to scrape up a penny so obfuscatingly caked in gunk it was no longer recognizable as a coin; this is almost certainly a trait of being raised by an accountant father who not only stoops down to pick up every bit of loose change he finds but genuinely keeps a record of them all in an Excel spreadsheet. This said, I can totally understand and respect your decision to not pick up every speck of shrapnel you spy, after all a penny is only good for taking up space in your pocket and really isn’t worth the energy extended to bend down. But a quid! The second most valuable coin in our currency! Surely that’s worth anyone’s trip to the ground and back, yet there were seas of shoppers obliviously stepping over this free money, and only as I’ve now been conditioned to walk around staring at my own feet did it end up in my possession!
In more dour news not a single other scheme has contributed anything in the entire month of March. Some have been my fault – I’ve spent a lot of weekends bedridden with a hangover so my Bounts score has barely moved (Scheme #117: Walk yourself wealthy), indeed on one idle Sunday I registered a record low of zero steps all day – whilst other schemes have died all on their own – TaskRabbit (Scheme #77) has found absolutely no errands to run in my local area and is now threatening to cancel my account should this inactivity continue. Not only that but I’ve had no interest off Gumtree in any of my rare £5 notes (Scheme #144), not even my prized AA01 exhibit, so it looks like I’ll have to list those on eBay to get them sold.
Most galling of the misfortunes to befall me was the verdict of Scheme #173: Write a short story, after The Write Contest finally revealed the winner of its Horror Short Story contest. I entered this on the second day of the project, submitting a 350-word nail-biter focusing on a man named Calvin who gets murdered (or does he….???) while sat on a toilet. Calvin, that is, was sat on the toilet, in the story. I wasn’t on the toilet when I wrote it. Well not for much of it.
Clinching first place came with a $100 reward so obviously my heart soared when I opened my emails to find a message from The Write Contest with just the subject line “Congratulations”. I tore into the email, skimmed through the niceties they opened with, and I was three paragraphs deep with the taste of a hundred dollars on my tongue before I found the line “Congratulations for placing second”….
Those bastards. They included some cursory critique about my prose in the message but I think I needed to give them some sage advice instead, namely not to title a message “Congratulations” when you’ve ranked the recipient simply as the best loser and instead of sweet cash money they’ve only won a PDF of a tacky certificate!
The closest I am to my next chunk of get-rich-scheme revenue is from a method I’ve been labouring on since Day 8. For almost the last 3 months I have been asking for receipts from every single transaction I make, photographing them and uploading these to my ReceiptHog app for Scheme #71: Scan your shopping. Every single day I have been sure to do this, and not only that but I’ve been collecting every receipt I find on the ground, asking all my friends and coworkers to keep their receipts for me, and scooping the odd surreptitious handful from the receipt bins sat beneath self-service checkouts, swiftly darting out the door like I’ve stolen something of actual value. I have submitted literally thousands of receipts via this app, it’s been a daily bugbear for practically a quarter of the year, and I’m now on 1,338 points.
If you assume this to be the equivalent of £1,338 then I’d suggest you lower your expectations somewhat. You see 1,500 points is redeemable as… £5 (the minimum payout). 3 months of fishing wet receipts from puddles of muddy rainwater and I’m effectively on £4.46, and I can’t even withdraw that yet.
It is through utter stubbornness that I am persevering with ReceiptHog; much like Weegy and Slicethepie I cannot imagine any sane mammal possessing the patience to work so hard for such little reward, unless they too were embarking on a project which forced them to. At least I recently discovered ReceiptHog aren’t too finicky with the receipts they receive, as unbelievably this shredded receipt which I painstakingly stuck back together was accepted for another paltry 5 coins to the total:
There may be something to this scheme after all, however. On the same day I downloaded ReceiptHog and began that laborious hell I also applied for ShopandScan and The Nielsen Panel, two more shopping-data-farmers only these send out barcode scanners for their users to wield like shit pistols. Nielsen’s application I fumbled as I accidentally revealed my occupation was in advertising and thus was promptly informed I could not proceed, bizarrely told to me in French. Meanwhile my request to join ShopandScan had seemed equally improbable as you either had to be personally invited or join a gargantuan waiting list, and I’d expected to never hear anything back so was surprised to receive an email two weeks ago to say I had been accepted and my barcode “clicker” had been dispatched. I look forward to having a hefty unfashionable piece of technology create an unsightly bulge in my pocket like I’m a businessman who still uses a pager.
The only other gossip is a scheme which basically fell into my lap, although not literally, it’s important to stress that. A somewhat NSFW image below if your colleagues are prudish – look at the tattoo my friend Shan had inflicted upon himself a few weeks back:
That is a real tattoo. A real tattoo penned by the young artiste P.Mongey, who has signed his work top left. P.Mongey is not a tattoo artist, but did find himself in possession of a tattoo gun and thought the unblemished buttocks of a drunken Shan would make for a sublime canvas. The love-heart on the right cheek represents Shan’s eternal passion for the sesh, and everything sesh-related. I don’t know who S.Traynor is.
Although drunk enough to allow someone to permanently decorate him with this, Shan’s astute enough to recognize the foolishness of his actions and actively encouraged me to submit this to Lad Bible as a candidate for the most terrible tattoo of the year so far. This actually is a money making method found on my list (Scheme #19: Make a fail video/image), and while I’d always planned to star in my own viral fail video, opportunities like these don’t occur every day.
It’s been some time since I’ve tried to usher Shan’s ruined anus onto the esteemed Lad Bible pages and I’ve heard nothing back so the £100 they reward each successful submission with is looking unlikely. I’ll certainly revisit Scheme #19 though – from Jeremy Beadle routinely dishing out £250 for scratchy home videos of old ladies falling off deckchairs in the early 90’s, to today’s FailArmy YouTube channel paying for vines of near-fatal motorcycle crashes, schadenfreude is ingrained into the best of us and it seems there’ll always be someone willing to fling money at the funny fall down man.
March has been a quiet month it’s true, nothing but a literary silver medal, a fuckton of receipts and a small tattooed arse to remember it by. But April is a new month, potentially bursting with opportunity, and what sort of Bournemouth-based Horatio Alger could I claim to be if I didn’t at least try to chase some of those opportunities down?
Schemes active/complete: 32
Money made: £23.84
Good news and bad news since my last injurious blog post, plus the usual smattering of anodyne admin news.
The bad news is unshockingly related to what has definitely become my least favourite of the money making schemes so far, the Double Dog dare app for Scheme #125. For one, I’m still slithering up and down stairs at a pensioner’s pace thanks to the torn left knee my skateboard dare resulted in – admittedly the aftercare I’m administering is a little lax, as I stopped bandaging it up after the first day because the dressings were too itchy, and it’s doubtful I’ll go to my scan on Tuesday because the hospital’s miles away and the coffee machine there is terrible. Usually when I sustain damage I exhibit the healing speed of Deadpool so I’m sure if I ignore it and pretend it doesn’t exist my tattered meniscus will put itself back together shortly, it’s just an irritating thing to accidentally bang on the desk at work or have your mates buckle for a laugh.
However what has really pushed me over the edge with said app is that I left things last time with a plan which seemed to be working well. I would cast out the custom dare to throw a cactus into the air and catch it, secure in the knowledge that a cactus isn’t necessarily a common household object yet is something I have in my flat. The common reaction for most upon receiving that would be to double dare it back to myself, and as proven last time I can perform this task quickly and safely, bagging a few dollars each time. With my first patsy Frederik this worked like a charm, and I assumed that after a month of falling over and eating emetic amounts of salt I had finally discovered the way to easily milk this app for moolah.
After Frederik the cactus dare next landed upon a girl with the user name ‘scapone’. Within a minute Scapone declared the challenge done; I was concerned that of all the people in the Double Dog database it had just happened to be picked up by a botanist at a cactus nursery, but was immediately reassured when I saw her proof:
It was obvious Scapone did not own a cactus or indeed any succulent, and must be terribly ignorant to think I would accept that blurred snapshot of her sweaty palm as adequate proof of a monetary bet. I rejected her submission and it was taken to trial, where she lost, and rightly so. My belief was that once the Double Dog jury found you unfit to carry out a task it would be double dared back to the creator and so I was getting ready to pull my spine-resistant gloves on and win me some money, but instead Scapone was given another chance. This time her proof was even more pathetic, an equally nebulous video of her catching not a cactus, but a banana.
I thought this was all getting a bit embarrassing now. Chow down on that banana peel and you might be Double Dog material love, but this is a cactus-orientated dare and if you don’t own a cactus and aren’t prepared to obtain a cactus then it’s time to give up! Obviously I took Scapone’s proof to trial once again and look, what, fucking, happened, next:
You may be unsure what’s occurring in that image. I had to read it a few times over too, for I could not believe my very own eyes. I’d sent Scapone’s video to trial and the jury had sided with the tricksy banana juggler! There’d been no doubt in my mind I was about to take home another easy $2 windfall, and yet utterly unjustly I’d lost a dollar!!
This latest mockery of justice was the final straw. I instantly withdrew what money I had in my Double Dog account and deleted the app. For all the dares I’d successfully gained from (scouting out a pair of guitars, chewing on a garlic clove, etc) there were others I’d lost on (shoving a cotton bud up your nose, shaving off an eyebrow, etc) so the amount I came away from Scheme #125 with was exactly the same as that I initially deposited. I’d made a grand total of nothing, but at least I hadn’t lost anything either, besides dignity, time, leg muscle and taste buds.
If you’re intelligent enough to read words you should also be sufficiently astute to correctly predict whether or not I’m going to recommend this scheme as a money making method. For the everyday pleb like you or me you’d be better off catching pigeons, plucking them and stuffing pillowcases to sell than relying on this, or indeed any dare app/website, for financial gain. That said and as mentioned in my Pie-rate treasure post, if you’re a spunky and free-spirited young girl you can cash in on the plethora of guys who use the app as a way of getting that terrifying and elusive opposite sex to interact with them. Out of the stock dares Double Dog allows you to choose from there’s a whole category dedicated to flirting with examples such as ‘Belly dance’ and ‘Use a pickup line on me’, and I’ve seen ladies receiving $5 a time for a 2-second video of them blowing a kiss or waggling their toes. I do believe the only reason Scapone got away with the ol’ cactus-banana-switcheroo is that the nervously excited men in the jury thought “m-maybe if I vote that she did the dare she’ll maybe like me and k-kiss me..”
So that’s the bad news. Bad for me as it’s another scheme crossed off the list which has proven to be absolutely fruitless, bad for you as that scheme was one which caused me great pain and discomfort which obviously makes for pleasurable reading and has now been halted.
Before we reach the good news a few tiny insignificant updates. I’m 6p up thanks to Scheme #61, finding a penny at work and on the same day a 5p dropped by my friend Simon in the pub. He watched it fall to the ground from the lofty heights of his barstool and nestle among the detritus of fag ends and broken glass, and said if I was prepared to army crawl under the table across the soaking beer-garden ground to reach it then it was mine. So yes, 6p up there.
People for Research (Scheme #13) are being more loquacious than I expected which is a nice surprise, and nicer still the trials don’t seem egregious in the slightest. Most recently I’ve been told I could stand to earn £120 for just a 90 minute chat about “my aim”; it’s unlikely I’ll even be chosen as I participate in no such sports as archery or clay pigeon shooting and the only occasion on which I even think about aiming is when lazily trying to minimize the amount of piss which ends up on the toilet seat, but it’s still promising that these opportunities are presenting themselves at such regular intervals.
I’ve had no enquirers biting my hand off for the AK37 serial number £5 note (Scheme #144), but it’s here we sneak into the good news. Firstly, thanks to a different bus driver this time, I now have a £5 with a code commencing AK22, and this is an actual gun type!
Like its AK37 brother this went straight on sale via Gumtree and swiftly garnered interest, namely from a Liam who asked if I would trade it for an AK47 note. The AK47s seem to be the most valuable of the artillery-themed £5 note clan so I eagerly took him up on his offer and await to hear back.
Liam’s email was gratefully received if anything to reassure myself I wasn’t completely mad and alone in still believing that some fivers are collectible due to their serial numbers. I guarantee you when the batch number reaches BJ69 we’ll see some more plastic fives going for more than face value, that’s a bonafide Matt Rose financial forecast. Until then, with our new dodecagon £1 coins entering circulation next month for the purpose of winding up counterfeiters, it’s worth keeping an eye on your old-school circular nuggets as some will be much more valuable than others when they’re antiques. Here’s a handy reference chart:
Actual monetary advice supported by charts! I bet you weren’t expecting that from a project blog of mine. It’s certainly surprised me.
But the main piece of good fortune to float my way was on Friday night. I’d already procured 6p as mentioned previously plus my Receipthog had gorged well all day (Scheme #71) so I was in a fairly chipper mood. I was at the bar drunkenly ordering a round of San Miguels and saw the bar staff approaching with my change, genuinely thinking to myself ‘I hope I don’t get an uncommon £5 note, I’ll probably get pissed and spend it on tequila!’, when what gets slapped down in front of me:
Boom!! An AA01! The holy grail! One of the first million to be circulated! Some clumsy eBaying whilst pissed had me believe for a while that I could sell this baby for several thousands before some more precise eBaying while hungover the next day informed me it might fetch £20 if I was lucky.
I popped it onto Gumtree instantly; I know eBay is going to be a simpler method of shifting these but I’m sticking with Gumtree for the time being as I’m keen to meet the buyer in person and find out exactly why they’re willing to spend over £5 on £5. As well as offering it to the public I also let a trade professional know in the shape of Pam West, British banknote buyer & seller. It was Pam whose dispiriting quote I used in a previous post “AK47 notes… do not actually sell,” and she continued to resolutely crush my spirit as when I fervently emailed her with news of my AA01 acquisition she told me “unfortunately a folded note may only be worth face value”. Of course my fiver was folded, it had been passed between Wetherspoon till, punter and fruit machine for Lord knows how long, so I decided to ignore Pam’s professional advice. As the Devil as my witness I will get that AA01 note sold!
Schemes active/complete: 32
Money made: £23.78
So it transpires my plot to hustle the Double Dog app (Scheme #125) isn’t as infallible as I’d hoped. If you’ll recall the way to make money from this game is to dare users to perform challenges, be they dangerous, embarrassing or nauseating, staking cash on the odds that they’ll chicken out. They can ‘double dare’ the task back to you, but complete it yourself and you earn double the funds in the pot, usually the head-spinning fortune of $2. I’ve had an unpleasant time with this app thus far between eating banana peel and being embezzled by a one-eyebrowed man, but in my last post reported that I’ve reached the stage whereabouts I can concoct my own dares rather than relying on the pre-written challenges in the Double Dog arsenal. I instantly pitched a dare incredibly specific to myself, namely to skateboard while wearing a sombrero and playing a ukulele, assuming this was a guaranteed win.
Unfortunately what I didn’t realize is that all these custom dares are screened by the app beforehand, and if they seem too impossible they can be flagged. This is precisely what happened to my Mexican-Hawaiian skater submission, and the exact same happened when I replaced ‘sombrero’ with ‘fez’ thinking I could simply switch the ethnicity to Moroccan-Hawaiian.
Frustrated, I settled on more of an inclusive dare which I thought still wouldn’t cause me too much harm, namely to skateboard down a playground slide. I own a skateboard and live a stone’s throw from a children’s playground, not that I ever have thrown stones even when those kids are squealing at a cochlea-shattering pitch just because there’s a set of fucking swings, so it would be an easy enough exercise if it landed back in my lap but not so easy for anyone who doesn’t have a board or who’s blessed with living a decent distance away from a deafening infant meeting point.
The dare was accepted by Double Dog, I sent it out with a $1 wager to test the water, and it promptly befell another player who suddenly found themselves in the sort of quandary I was in when I had an afternoon to make two guitars materialize back in January. Rather than showing my level of resourcefulness and commitment however, they literally sent back a photo of their anus and decried the task done. I can’t believe I worried that my ukulele would be discerned as not guitar-like enough when I completed Robert’s task, while there are players like this just content to moon at the rulebook!
I took this to the Double Dog ‘trial’ which lets public vote determine the outcome of dare disagreements, not that any lawyer in the world could successfully argue that a still image of their client’s backside was actually a video of them skateboarding, and rightly it was settled in my favour. It was my thinking that once a trial went your way the money was yours, but actually it just counts as a ‘double dare’ and so I still had to skateboard down a slide. No matter, I used to skateboard with some success as a teenager, falling down often enough in the process to build up a resistance to smashing my hips and coccyx into tarmac and wood, so the local children’s slide onto astroturf posed no big concern. I told Rowe to follow me to the playground at 9 in the evening and was soon poised at the slide’s summit ready to drop in. Rowe began filming, told me to “go!”, and down I went.
It’s with genuine surprise I report that, two days later, I’m still struggling to walk. I went predictably hurtling down the slide, the board stuck at the bottom and I was bodily flung several feet forward. Years ago this wouldn’t have been an issue; I’d have landed on my hip, rolled a couple times, made a few pantomime moans for the awe-struck audience, brushed myself off, and headed back for a second attempt. But times have changed, parts of my body which used to resemble Playdough have now calcified to be more like K’NEX, and as soon as I landed I knew something was wrong. I instinctively tried to halt my sudden progress with my left foot which couldn’t withstand the momentum of the portly moron behind it, causing my whole left leg to twist unnaturally. Whilst I was expecting a soft thump and a dull ache what I felt was an insanely painful jolt which penetrated right down to the bone.
Rowena’s seen my crude imitations of Jackass before, I lose count of how many shopping trolleys I’ve flown out of in her company, but not for many years and she, like me, thought I was still a lot more malleable. It was only when I couldn’t stop swearing and hopping about that the penny dropped for her too that I’m now 27 not 17 and can’t take a fall like I used to. I hobbled home, clamped a bag of frozen parsnips to my rapidly swelling knee and cursed getting older.
I used this period of immobility to check my emails and see how other schemes were faring. Among the messages came the belated news that I hadn’t won Quora’s $250 Knowledge Prize for answering what ad trends we were likely to see in 2017, an early shot at Scheme #31 which eventually begat Weegy and was performed on the very first day of the project back when I had two working knees and a soul. Despite utterly not expecting to win or indeed hear anything back I still felt a slight flutter of rage at the winner Archie D’Cruz, now quarter of a grand better off just for answering one question when I solved many hundreds for £15.30.
Another surprising contact to hear from – Envisage Promotions whom I signed up with alongside Rent A Mourner for the chance to generate a turnover on low turnout interments (Scheme #27). They didn’t have any funeral seats I’d be paid to fill but instead the opportunity to dress as a jockey and hand out scratchcards and rosettes to strangers in Cheltenham for £10 an hour midweek in March. Whilst obviously that opportunity was massively untempting it was still nice to know they were keeping me in the loop and did actually exist. In a similar vein only much more encouraging was a mail from People for Research with a suspiciously easy proposition – I was anticipating Scheme #13: Endure clinical trials to involve studies on eating nothing but copper for a week or how long I could live without a pancreas, so it was with pleasant intrigue I found they wanted nothing more than a phone call in regards to my credit card use which they were willing to reimburse me £40 for, perfect for paying off the little I owe on that credit card I never use!
Obviously while online I undertook a cheeky Google search for Tesco to nab my daily five pence from Qmee; I have no idea whether I’m exploiting a loophole of this toolbar extension or if this is genuinely the way it’s supposed to work but I’m going to keep expressing a quick interest in Tesco every day until this charity halts.
Bored and trying to distract myself from the pain in my leg I got cracking on a new enterprise as well, Scheme #73: Turn into a quality control agent, or as it’s known on this site, a “looker”. As the wording of the scheme suggests this is specific to one website alone, WeGoLook, which is used to “verify the existence and validate online claims… of classified items on eBay/Craigslist or similar websites”. Essentially you sign up to be a “looker”, and then if someone’s considering buying a car on Gumtree and decides to check out the motor first via WeGoLook you’d be summoned to get to that car and report back with any scratches or imperfections, the state of the tyres, the distance in mm from the road to the bumper, etc. You’re effectively composing a small report to placate the naturally wary before a sale. What I find in equal measures hilarious and fascinating is that as well as automobiles, property and heavy equipment that WeGoLook might send you to photograph and assess, you may also have to scout ahead to check the quality of singletons met on online dating sites; I guess much like noting scuffs on car bodyworks you’d be tasked with counting moles, measuring nose width and so forth, grimly reporting your findings to the client by phone as you evaluated.
There’s a surprisingly stringent sign-up process involving a test, a background check, and just like TaskRabbit (Scheme #77), an ordinance video to sit through followed by questions to ensure you don’t try to skip through like everyone obviously tries to do first time round. Unlike TaskRabbit’s exasperatingly spirited narrator James who thought everything was cool and awesome, WeGoLook utilize this nameless smug pleb to talk at you for three quarters of an hour:
Much like the condescending dickhead pictured above I am now a #looker, and await my first #looking assignment. Whilst better than TaskRabbit in that WeGoLook seems to spread itself over more of the UK than just London, I have the nasty feeling that both apps are going to sit impotently on my already overcrowded phone shrugging their shoulders and announcing “no jobs near you!” until the day I decry this project over. That said I didn’t think an extras agency I signed up for to pretend to cry at a stranger’s casket would be asking me to visit the Cotswolds dressed as a jockey, and I also thought I could skateboard down a slide, so what do I know?
By now the parsnips on my knee had reached room temperature so I retired to bed with an aim to sleep, couldn’t due to the pain, devoured some ibuprofen and co-codamol and eventually fell into fever dreams tortured by visions of finding £20 notes on the street and growing over 6 inches of hair to sell. I was late to work because I didn’t account for my limping to the bus stop being one tenth the speed of my regular no-nonsense march, and at the insistence of my coworkers who were pained at the sight of me lamely tottering to and from the pub at lunch I actually checked into A&E come afternoon.
Although this doesn’t yet feel like the most mental project I’ve ever done I believe this is the first ever hospitalization by a project, so that’s quite exciting. After an eternal wait I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus, bandaged up over my work trousers for bizarre reasons, and then discharged to wait for the bus home, the ticket of which came to more than the $2 I earned from the dare.
Scheme #125 is administering a thoroughly proper hiding at the moment, but I have found a profitable dare I can do which doesn’t involve a hospital trip. I created the custom dare ‘Throw a cactus into the air and catch it’, it was rapidly double dared back to me by a clearly cactus-less Frederik, and with the help of some gloves I performed this challenge swiftly and safely for a 2 buck reward.
This, then, may be the dare I use to rinse Double Dog and finally generate some well-earned revenue from this scheme, although knowing my luck I’ll probably be back to Bournemouth hospital in a week with a cactus spine skewering my bollocks.
Schemes active/complete: 31
Money made: £23.78
A popular scheme which came up time after time on the myriad “100+ so simple ways that WILL make you £££!” lists I consulted was the idea of attending the auctions of goods people didn’t necessarily want or choose to sell, such as lost luggage and items seized as police evidence. The prospect of bidding on the opportunity to snoop through the possessions of others, disdainfully binning some and selling the rest on for profit, has been made palatable and indeed glamourized by shows like Storage Hunters. Bald motormouth Sean Kelly knows it’s OK to take people’s things if they’ve lost them or forgot where they are or cannot get to them, firstly teaching this mantra to the States where tanned Californians in shades bid on storage facilities containing jet skis and pyrotechnic machines before, shamefully, taking the show to the UK to walk some toothless, beer-bellied Brits wearing shorts in the drizzle around Milton Keynes to squabble over the rights to a storage lot containing some VCR machines and half a bouncy castle.
Compounded by so many online sources and meriting a full chapter in one of my reference books, Scheme #112: Bid at a mystery auction had to appear on my list. Firstly I looked into lost property auctions – if you leave an untagged bag in an airport or underground station and miraculously it doesn’t elicit a bomb scare then it’s held for 3 months before being auctioned off to punters. There are websites which list the upcoming London send-offs of all the mislaid bags scooped up by Heathrow and Gatwick, but nothing local to me. Even if Bournemouth Airport is just a café strapped to a gravel track off which a toy-like plane will occasionally pootle to Malta, surely passengers still lose their luggage there? I’d have thought the rate would be even higher as the bag handlers of big Londinium airports must resemble amphetamined trapeze artists next to the slouched, chain-smoking luggage monkeys we have in Dorset.
When I called Swissport who deal with Bournemouth Airport’s misplaced baggage I reached a kindly woman on a desperately crackly phone line whom I think I could make out said that this is not practice among the smaller airports, and confirmed my fears I’d have to travel up London way if I wanted my paws on someone’s mislaid flip-flops and over 100ml liquids. In the meantime I looked at plan B, working with the cops.
Police lot auctions not only include regular lost knick-knacks but also items seized during theft and fraud cases, as well as impounded evidence. It sounded a superb place to pick something up at a low, low price simply as it was once appropriated to smuggle heroin or bludgeon a family with which I could then sell on at a major profit, and better still they are held fairly frequently at an auction house just a 20-minute bus ride from my flat. Hence today saw me out of bed at a pretty ungodly time for a Saturday (before noon), with Rowena, in Poole, as an absolute auction greenhorn, incongruously face-to-face with the metallic stegosaurus this auction house has as its decor.
Registering was a free and simple affair at the front desk and within minutes I was walking around examining lots alongside obvious auction veterans, trying to pretend like I knew what I was doing.
I quickly learned there were two auction halls and only one was shifting police lot goods, the other was trundling through bids for about 900 different sets of cut glass tumblers. A swift browse of the room containing items handled by the constabulary and I knew that my priority should be getting my hands on a cheap bike.
The bike lots weren’t due for an hour or so, with the auctioneer currently begging anyone to bid on a series of tat including a 1985 Cast of Eastenders Sing-Along vinyl, so I had to amuse myself for a short while. Watching a woman furiously reinsert coins into a vending machine oblivious of a huge ‘Out of Order’ sign literally right in front of her face entertained me briefly but even her suffering lost its allure eventually and I went to get a coffee and a bacon bap from the on-site greasy spoon.
With some time to kill I started playing around on the Double Dog app which has had me eating garlic cloves, banana skin and defeat on-and-off for weeks now as part of Scheme #125: Do some dares. I’ve fallen out badly with this scheme as people have cheated on dares which has lost me money, it has an insidious perverse vibe whereabouts girls are ‘dared’ to do the splits or slowly eat an oyster, and 9 days on I’m sure I can still taste some garlic residue from the clove I munched, however after a bit of experimenting I think I’ve discovered a loophole I can exploit.
If you’ll recall the currency of Double Dog is either good, dependable U.S dollars or the app’s pseudo-currency “bones”, either of which can be won or lost by setting/completing dares. Some players never stake their real money and just complete zany challenges for bones, but obviously these aren’t people with a 200-something-strong list of get-rich-schemes weighing heavily upon them. There are also companies which create Double Dog accounts and set self-promoting dares for potential bones – health food websites will set challenges to make smoothies and karaoke apps task people to sing, all as a marketing method. The way Double Dog works is that if you flip the dare back on whoever set it and they refuse to perform then you win triple the original stake, and I’ve discovered the brands who are using Double Dog to advertise never complete their own dare. In this fashion I’ve found a way of farming bones by double-daring the commercial users, and in just a few days have got up to over 1,000 (to put this in perspective just over a month ago I ate about 3 grams of salt which made me instantly vomit, all for 12 bones.)
If you’re thinking “but Matt, what good are valueless bones to you, besides titling you with that unsavoury moniker of Bone-Farmer?” then I totally appreciate where you’re coming from, and could not have phrased your concerns better myself, but hear this: once you have reached 1,000 bones you unlock the ability to write your own dares! Until now I’ve been hamstrung by Double Dog’s idea of what’s challenging, but now I can craft tasks unbelievably specific to myself which no-one has a chance of completing. For instance, thanks to this project I am now the owner of 3 notes of Yen (Scheme #164), 4 ‘No Parking’ signs (Scheme #233) and 22 empty toilet roll tubes (Scheme #126), and I can set a dare to accumulate all these items, pile them up and dance around them in a Hawaiian shirt. Anyone would balk at handling that assignment within 24 hours, even Jack who snorted a cotton bud for two of my dollars, so naturally they’d instinctively double-dare me back. But bad news motherfuckers, that was a custom dare I wrote and for me such an exercise takes just 5 minutes of my time, money please!
The dare I decided on is below, a simple errand for me as I have all the necessary components, but for someone lacking them surely an impossibility:
I decided to begin on just $2 to test the water, and also because knowing my luck this dare will be picked up by a Mexican vert skater in a Tiki bar band; it’s currently still floating around waiting for an unknowing sucker to see the dollar payout and hungrily accept. The sooner I’m done with this scheme the better, it’s been nothing but torment, besides a dare to do the water bottle flip challenge the other day for a couple bones which I landed on just my second attempt. That was pretty satisfying, but you don’t want to see that do you? Oh, you do? But we have the auction to get back to! What’s that, you insist? Well, OK, you are the guest to this blog after all, I guess I will acquiesce.
Anyway, back to these impounded bicycles. Rowe and I were stood in the middle of the throng with our phones out searching how much each of the bikes on sale were worth, and a good few go for thousands when new. I could tell our technological wizardry wasn’t winning us any friends in the crowd – we were the youngest there by a good generation, and Googling the price on one of those there Apple gadgets was probably seen as poor sportsmanship, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.
A couple crappy BMXs came and went before a scarlet Wilier race bike was clumsily announced by the auctioneer (I quote “next we have a, well my screen’s not loading Dave so how am I supposed…. well that’s not doing anything either. Sorry about this everyone it’s… no Dave it’s not… well, everyone, it’s a errr bike, alright?”) This was the lot I’d been eyeing up, my chariot into riches, valued online at several hundred quid second-hand; I could only hope that between Dave’s cock-up with the auctioneer’s laptop and the crowd anesthetized by hours of drill bit and cutlery lots I could sweep up a bargain here.
“Let’s start at £200!” the flustered gavel-clown eventually spat out.
A crushing blow – I couldn’t afford to lay down that sort of capital, and worse still I felt I wasn’t able to express my frustration with a wild gesticulation of the arms in case it was misconstrued as a bid. However after the Wilier went for something silly the next bike began at £45, much more within my spending limit. I didn’t know what type this one was but I was still reeling from losing my Wilier so I shot my bidding card into the air with gusto.
“£45 thank you sir!” our auctioneer acknowledged. “Anything else, anything else in the room? Going once…”
I looked around. No-one was fucking bidding, no-one was doing a thing. I was about to buy a bike, a bike I hadn’t even seen before.
This was madness, I’d walked into this building, been given a handwritten piece of paper, stumbled into this room and held up my hand, and now I was buying a murderer’s mountain bike or the conveyance of some other miscellaneous criminal!
“Go-.. ah another bid in the room yes please £50! OK, and £55, yes! Online bid now coming in at £60, yessir, £65!”
Before I knew what had happened my police lot bike, a heartbeat away from being mine for £45, had climbed to a couple hundred and was as good as gone. I half-heartedly bid on a couple more two-wheeled lots that followed but they looked in great disrepair and it was obvious the cost of replacing tyres and repairing chains would outweigh any sale profit. Within moments all the bikes were snapped up and we were back to lots of Peppa Pig rucksacks and the auctioneer imploring “£10 in the room? £10? £5 in the room then? Well I’ll even I’ll buy it it at £3, so, £4? £3? £1? £1 anyone? £1? Dave, the screen, it’s gone again, look!”
All in all it was jolly exciting and one of the only schemes thus far I’d actually experience again outside of the harsh demands of the project. I probably will attempt this again in a month or so now I have a little more experience, when I can hang out with the old boys who get there for sunrise, admiring the incarcerated array of bikes on offer with nuggets of small-talk like “d’you see the Wilier they had here last month? Ooh yes, she was a beauty, phwoah yes. Say d’you know who the auctioneer is ‘ere today, it’s not that girl with the Dave sidekick is it? You chaps don’t have any receipts going spare do you?”
Schemes active/complete: 30
Money made: £23.78
Into the twenties now! I could afford to purchase a reasonable blender with that sort of moolah, and it’s only taken me 6 weeks, hundreds of hours of online labour and the potential loss of my soul!
My £8 payment was thanks to Slicethepie who had settled their tab a week earlier than expected which came as a pleasant surprise today. Obviously this is Lord Matthew Christopher Rose typing for whom every glimmer of good fortune is swiftly balanced out by a needless karmic punch to the neck, and hilariously just as I can draw a line under this scheme I received an email from them to say for a limited time every review in the Homeware category is good for a minimum of 17 cents. Naturally they waited a little over a day after I was trudging through countless reviews of Belieber merch for 4 cents a time before they announced that opportunity.
Regardless, Scheme #23: Become a music reviewer – WORKS. It stands up as a functional and reasonably speedy way of scraping money together, and if you owed a drug dealer £30 else he’s taking your prostate as collateral then you could chain yourself to your laptop and trundle out thousands of reviews for a solid 12 hours and that much-needed cash could be yours by the next day. Hell if you like listening to music from new and independent artists, or simply telling new and independent artists that their songs are dogshit, then you might even enjoy yourself with this scheme.
The other news is that excitingly my standardly sociopathic bus driver today handed me this £5 note in change:
Just a regular new polymer £5 note with Winston’s trademark constipated scowl on it, right? Wrong! Look at how that serial number begins – AK37! That’s almost AK47! And that’s a type of gun!!!
This is Scheme #144: Sell some funny money, namely currency which has some form of imperfection or quality which makes it a collectible. Undated 20ps sell for around £70, 10ps mistakenly pressed into a 2p mint can fetch upwards of a grand, and there are £2 coins with the typo “Pemember Pemember the Fifth of November” which are worth many dozens of times their face value too.
With the new unrippable, unvegan plastic fivers certain serial numbers have bestowed them with a value exceeding £5, such as the very first batch which boast a virginal AA01 code and have sold for over £200. Notes simply with the sequence 007 somewhere in the serial number are said to have been snapped up by rabid James Bond fans for up to £5,000 which I find head-clutchingly bewildering, how can you like Bond that much??
As for £5 notes with a code which commences AK47, a touching headnod to that most beloved of Soviet assault rifles, those have sold on eBay for £80,000! Admittedly the buyer transpired to be a cocaine dealer who actually never paid up (I feel even slimier than normal using The Sun as a reference link now they’re trying to write an exposé on me moonlighting as a traffic warden thanks to the all-round disaster Scheme #233 has turned out to be, but there we are), and I concede this fact does put a dampener on the scheme, but thankfully the publicity this has generated has boosted the value of similar notes such as AK48 and AK37. This is what I intend to cash in on, and even though my one reputable source on this claims “AK47 [notes] have reached a bogus price on internet auction/selling sites. Hyped up by bogus sellers, getting friends to bid on them. They do not actually sell,” I will be listing this note on Gumtree and eBay and seeing what sort of interest I can drum up, hopefully not from trolling coke mules.