Schemes active/complete: 35
Money made: £48.77
As mentioned in the last post Rowena and I are currently embroiled in the task of moving our possessions from a mouldy one-bed flat to a hopefully less mouldy two-bed flat, along with all the joyous landlord referencing and disputes over deposit payments that come with this, which is why kooky money-making schemes have taken a back seat lately. However I have another stag do this weekend and the last time I embarked on one of those in early March I drank myself amnesiacal and this blog saw a following month of silence, so I thought I’d jot the latest minor developments down before that potentially happens again.
All the down payments and deposits and impossibly extortionate admin fees that switching from one rental property to another entails has been softened minutely by cashing in a couple of my schemes, most noticeably the £10 Amazon gift card that ShopandScan rewarded me with which actually sold on eBay for its full value:
I can offer no explanation as to why the chap who purchased this did not simply buy a £10 voucher directly from Amazon. Perhaps he’s slyly gambling that I misread the card’s value and he’s actually getting a £50 voucher, perhaps he’s a clod who gets confused easily, we’ll never know. What I can posit with conviction though is that Scheme #71: Scan your shopping has proved to be the most effective scheme so far, bringing £15 to the pile via the combination of ReceiptHog and ShopandScan and very little actual work from myself. Granted ShopandScan still pester me on a daily basis querying why I haven’t scanned any barcodes recently, even phoning me at work to ask with genuine disappointment in their voice, and granted I now have a deep-seated impulse to pick up every receipt I espy on the street which I have to fight and I don’t know how long that’s going to hang around for, but I’ll take these trifling irritations over answering a thousand questions on Weegy for the same sort of dollar (Scheme #31).
Surprisingly my commemorative Samuel Johnson 50p also sold on eBay for almost double its value:
Now these particular 50ps aren’t even that rare, I’ve definitely handled many before when making 50 pence purchases – a pack of Softmints, for instance, or 9 carrier bags with an extra bag to carry them all in. A quick glance on the Check Your Change website and we see Sam’s 50p has a scarcity level of 1 which translates as “A coin that is usually readily available at or very near to face value.” Not to detract from Sam’s Herculean task of writing the first dictionary from aardvark to zygote but over 17 and a half million of these coins were circulated, making it really as common as muck. I’ve basically just sold a normal 50p coin, for a quid.
Scheme #144: Sell some funny money is certainly worth consideration then. I personally find it a ballache to place items on eBay but if you’re one of these strange characters who actually enjoys listing tat and watching the bids notch up then I advise going for it – with some adequate photos and the odd flourish in the description you could sell the contents of your coin purse at twice the price!
The only other contribution to my riches, besides a 20p I found on the floor (Scheme #61), was a result of finally cashing in my Qmee account (Scheme #16: Get paid to Google). This toolbar extension has been perched on my Google bar sporadically flipping me loose change for seemingly arbitrary searches; for a while it rewarded me for searching for “Tesco”, then that abruptly stopped and instead it liked it when I typed in “Deliveroo”, and the odd search for Batman or bananas would occasionally elicit a payment too. 5p was the average handout each time, and after 4 months of being monitored and over 50 installments received I decided to call this scheme done:
I can’t not recommend Scheme #16, it’s entirely unobtrusive and a fully legitimate scheme, a genuine source of free money. However that amount of money is very, very small, and I am criminally impatient, so Qmee is being cast aside in favour of quicker solutions. Hopefully by the end of this month I will be settled in a new flat and motivated to reap some get-rich-quick scheme rewards, motivated namely by daunting deposit payments and an abyssal overdraft! What fun!
Schemes active/complete: 35
Money made: £35.55
Not a substantial amount of activity over the past fortnight to be honest, but I’ve got some time on my hands this evening plus this marks the first moment whereabouts each scheme either active or complete has bagged me over £1 on average, so a celebratory blog post is in order. Also I have some eBay listings I want to promote to anyone who might find themselves reading this in the next 5 days, making this an actual worthwhile post. Do you like Amazon products and/or coins commemorating the 18th Century dictionary writer and Tourette’s sufferer Samuel Johnson? Then you might be able to snag an eBay bargain today, my friend – read on!
Before that I must report my other eBay news which has come as a welcome surprise, namely that my £5 note with serial number AA01 647380 actually sold for £10.50!
I posted the note to the buyer, a girl from Essex, the next day, and added £5.50 to my total project accumulations with astounded glee (the additional 2p since last posting, for any militant blog followers or HMRC staff who may be interested, was a result of the consistently gainful Scheme #61: Look down when you walk). I had sold a note of money for double its face value! Simply because of a sprinkling of alliteration on the serial number! Quite incredible.
Consequently I can state that Scheme #144: Sell some funny money – WORKS. It is possible to still make a profit on one of the new plastic £5 notes if the serial code is a rare one, even if so-called experts dismiss the idea; Pam West, Surrey-based British note dealer and an expert on the worth of printed currency who has authored tomes on the subject, told me in an email it would only be worth face value, but here’s Matt Rose now, woeful investor and hopeless spendthrift, with hard evidence to pooh-pooh Pam’s ideologies. Granted I’ve abandoned hopes of selling my AK37 & AK22 £5 notes, but I’ve still stung an Essex lass over £10 for £5 so I’m marking that scheme down as a success. Take a hike, Pam!
Optimistic that maybe I’ve actually stumbled across some entrepreneurial ambrosia here and can just start selling money for more money than that money, I have also listed a quasi-rare 50p that the vending machine shat out to me the other day:
Rather than the normal ‘tails’ on the 50p’s reverse side there’s a brief commemorative spiel for Sam Johnson, the impressive chap who wrote the first dictionary, single-handed, in the 1700s. It’s a far cry from today’s comprehensive Oxford English (he defined ‘oats’ as “a grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people”) but credit for getting his head down and churning out the basics for future dictionaries to improve upon. As a reward for his 9 years of unenviable toil, Samuel now has his name etched impossibly small upon the odd 50 pence piece here and there, and I want to cash in on this oat-definers legacy.
My 50p is listed here, currently on 99p and 0 bids but still with 5 days to run. It was Geoff at work, the kindly soul who provided me with so many receipts for Scheme #71: Scan your shopping, who advised me to list this 50p, so if nothing comes from it I will be blaming him loudly and publicly. Geoff did tell me of a chap he read about who collected and eBayed thousands of rare 50ps over a period of years at a few pence profit each, reassurance it’s not just me obsessing over online, labour-intensive schemes for minimal cash-flow.
The other item I have on eBay currently is a sort of currency in itself:
This £10’s worth of sweet Amazon consumerism was kindly sent by ShopandScan for submitting my first batch of barcodes using its little scanner gizmo. Whilst obviously I would have liked to have actually used this gift card as it was intended for and bought myself Battlefield 1 on the PS4 which I still haven’t played, I can only accept money-making-scheme revenue as cold, hard cash which is why I’m having to sell the £10 voucher for what will clearly be less than £10. That said after only a couple hours I already have a £7 bid so perhaps it’ll bizarrely shift for £25 and I’ll have another spite stick to waggle in Pam West’s frugal face.
Probably the first thing I can genuinely encourage you to partake in thus far in the blog is the ShopandScan campaign. It’s a staggeringly simple way to get your hands on £10 of Amazon jargon without fear of hospital trips or tabloid scandals – you sign up here, await your scanner in the post, rub it alongside literally any barcode on anything once, and just like that there’s a tenner in the post to you. Knowing my luck there’s some heinous unwritten complication which will make itself known in the next few weeks like I’m contractually obliged to submit 10 barcodes a day for life or the scanner gives you cancer or something, so feel free to hold off until then, but for now I can’t see any faults with this one. It’s surely a better method of achieving Scheme #71 than ReceiptHog seeing as it generated twice as much money with about 1/200th of the effort.
Not much else to report: the trigger word for confusing Qmee into rewarding me money (Scheme #16: Get paid to Google) has shifted from “Tesco” to “Deliveroo” so I’m no longer submitting daily searches for Tesco fancy dress costumes but rather local Wagamama branches, and my application to become an Amazon Mechanical Turk (Scheme #60), which I didn’t even know could get rejected, got rejected. “We regret to inform you that you will not be permitted to work on Mechanical Turk… and we cannot disclose the reason why an invitation to complete registration has been denied” was the totally helpful and unambiguous email Amazon treated me to. Thankfully there appears to be a good number of clone services also paying out which will hopefully either accept me or at least provide me a decent reason as to why not.
I know April’s blog posts are turning out to be practically as action-packed as March’s during which I didn’t post a thing, mainly as Rowena and I are trying to find a new place to live at the moment and it’s transpiring to be all sorts of shades of difficult, but do not see this as a lack of commitment to the cause! I’m nowhere near done with this 234-strong list of schemes yet. Don’t you worry – I’ll be linking you to tat I’m trying to shift on eBay for many months to come!
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: £23.78
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.