Tagged: fail

Tax breaks

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?

Eeny Meeny “MY KNEE!!” Mo

Day 46
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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.