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: 20
Money made: £15.57
I’m aware I’ve let another lengthy passage of time slide between blog posts, I’ve had some pretty big events in my life occur which have had to take priority, such as a weekend piss-up in Sheffield and starting Dishonored 2 on the PS4. That said, look at the total I’m on! I’m finally into whole tens of Great British Pounds with enough money now to buy a lobster dinner, and all thanks to another scheme besides Scheme #61: Look down when you walk (besides the filthy penny I found outside the Sheffield Sainsbury’s (just Googled to ensure it was “Sainsbury’s” and not “Sainsburys” as last time I bothered researching the potential possessive apostrophe of a supermarket chain with Tesco, Qmee gave me 7p. Alas this time nothing, and I’m stuck beached on 30p with them.))
Yes for all their faults Weegy have at least had the decency to endow me the money I earned through answering the hundreds and hundreds of gormless questions from dunces cheating on their homework around the world. Technically I should have been due $20.44 as visibly evidenced in the last post, but since then I was docked to $20.32 because I probably answered that limes don’t have legs and Weegy belched “ERRONEOUS!” for no reason, and then I was informed only now on payday that Weegy take a cut and PayPal take a percentage also, so the £16.15 I was actually due has come in a little light at £15.30.
That said, I can hereby state, with the first authority mustered in this blog thus far, and carrying a confidence you can literally take to the bank, Scheme #31: Answer stranger’s questions – WORKS. With Weegy it is possible to earn enough money for a reasonably sized round at the pub from copy-pasting chunks of Wikipedia at the sound of a little bell in your spare moments of an evening. Would I recommend it? Absolutely fucking not. The amount of labour is so intensive and the quantity of time sacrificed not insignificant, plus I still flinch when I hear the ding of a bell, and I feel I got off lightly. There are some answerers who consider the Ctrl+C Ctrl+V double-tap sacrilege and actually research and write their own lengthy essays on each subject matter for 10 cents at a time, which strikes me as madness. There must be easier and quicker ways of amassing the kinds of riches found in a poor child’s piggy bank, there has to be.
Speaking of piggy banks my ReceiptHog is growing in size (Scheme #71) as not only am I bugging my friends for their receipts but also diligently nicking the untaken bundles which bloat Tesco’s self-service checkouts each time I go shopping. I’m not sure if it’s just me, and historically after prefacing a thought with that it usually is, but I find a strange, subversive, voyeuristic pleasure in reading the discarded receipts from others. Take this example from yesterday – do you think this shopper left their home and travelled through the rain just to buy this combination of items??:
In regards to new schemes I’ve had several friends concur with the many online sources I pored through that Slicethepie is a nifty little money-maker, as part of Scheme #23: Become a music reviewer. There are several sites that will pay you to write your opinions of tracks even if you know the contents of a vasectomy patient’s balls about music, which is perfect for me as I enjoy silence over the vast majority of songs and haven’t held an instrument in years save a pink ukulele two weeks ago.
It didn’t take me long to whittle through Slicethepie’s competitors for this scheme – Music Xray flatly didn’t let me make an account with them for reasons unknown and minimal research taught me that HitPredictor pays out not in cash but in CDs and DVDs like anyone wants them anymore – and soon I was signing up as surely Slicethepie’s most tone deaf applicant.
That’s what I like to see! A confident and straight-spoken opportunity. You write your first name there, your last name there, and you start making money. Lovely.
At this time of writing I’ve “critiqued” something like 40 songs, reviewing the best efforts of everyone from ‘Suave Poet’ to ‘Da Realest’. You’re required to let at least 90 seconds of what is sometimes sheer audible shite percolate into your brain before you can continue, plus your review has a minimum word count too, and the calibre of wank I was writing to fill these comment boxes was cringe-worthy. I was calling things “edgy” and “raw” and “gritty”; just sounds! Of course they’re not edgy or raw or gritty! They’re shapeless, they can’t be cooked, and they don’t stop cars skidding in icy conditions!
What none of my sources mentioned was that you can also choose to critique clothes or mobile phone accessories for the same rate as reviewing songs (about 3 cents a pop). This did save having to endure a minute and a half of edgy raw grit every time, but it’s near impossible to think of a completely independent review for each of thirty almost identical iPhone headphones.
You also have a star system out of 5 which apparently increases as you write high-standard reviews, and in turn awards you more money for each one you produce. However I’ve watched my rank increase from 1 to 4 down to 2 and then back up to 3 with complete whimsy yet have been paid pretty much the same every time, namely 3 cents besides a little less for my objective dressing down of Da Realest:
It could be I’m doing something wrong; this would make sense, for I am Matt Rose, and in which case if you’re reading this and you know your Slicethepie stuff don’t hesitate to tell me. Anyway I’m on $1.31 currently with a $10 minimum payout so I see plenty of nitpicking headphones and gritty suave poets in my future.
Two more schemes I sparked into life this evening, the foremost of which we won’t spend long on as I imagine it’ll flicker and die almost instantly. Scheme #77 is to Become a taskrabbit, a titular labourer of TaskRabbit whereabouts you perform menial tasks for dribbles of cash. You offer your services for essentially quite brainless chores such as lifting, cleaning, couriering, etc, so I was surprised to find the threat of:
“An extensive vetting process”? “In-person onboarding”?? This was conveniently omitted by those blithe eeeeeasy-money-making lists I used as reference which all agree you could breeze into the TaskRabbit community just as they equally promised RentAFriend would have doting comrades chucking money at you for a chance you’d take them bowling.
I completed my application form, stating I was ready and fully qualified to take on every task they offered (which included professionally queuing as a hark back to Scheme #154), but I’m doubtful I’ll hear anything from them as the TaskRabbit’s hutch seems to principally be in London. And by that I mean when I was asked to list my city of residence, I wasn’t given a choice of all the cities in the UK, but rather just “London” or “Greater London”. A boy in Bournemouth with no car doesn’t stand much chance of surviving their infamous vetting process, no matter how good of a queuer he’s lied to say he is. We’ll wait to see what happens – best case scenario, I have to get a 3 hour coach to Camden to help move a sofa up some stairs.
With my TaskRabbit appeal hot on its way to near-certain refusal I turned to Scheme #88: Host a meal. This is self-explanatory and somewhat reminiscent of Scheme #25: Become a tour guide (radio silence on that by the way, what’s with you guys not wanting to pay me to get you drunk near a cliff-top??), in that you are paid by the lonely, lazy, hungry, friendly or varying strange combinations of these traits to host them a nice meal for the evening. I signed up to Cookening, which has now very slyly changed to become VizEat, as well as EatWith, to invite a lucky someone to sample my cooking talents which are very much on par with my levels of musical appreciation.
It’s worth pointing out for the concerned few noticing a banal trend here – not all of my schemes will simply involve me sitting at home drinking red wine and signing up to websites. At some point I’m going to have to shave and sell the hair of a celebrity somehow (Scheme #217), to illustrate my point. Registering with sites for the unlikelihood of people paying me to take them to a party or attend a funeral (no reply from Jo since her initial enquiry by the way) isn’t the most interesting to read about, but I need to get these sorts completed early to allow them to germinate. I’ll soon be shining boots on the street and renting out truffle-snuffling pigs for livelier and more interesting posts, that’s not just a promise but a straight-up inevitability.
On both VizEat & EatWith I had to delineate the culinary voyage I was prepared to take guests on and for both sites this took the form of “a wicked steak with a fine scotch”, as steak is the only food I can and will cook. I’d say my chances are finer with VizEat as they didn’t necessitate I include a high-res photo of a meal I have prepared before. EatWith did, however, and so I leave you with my only dietary construction ever immortalised on camera, the bacon-wrapped Big Mac deep fried in Pepsi batter. Wouldn’t you care to sample the menu of the gourmet who can bring this into existence?: