Desperate For Some Dough

November 1, 2023 | Violet Newbury

Desperate For Some Dough

It’s a fact of life that everyone needs money to survive. Being in dire straits is no joke, and sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Keep reading to find out how these Redditors busted their buns to get out of their cash crunch. Their stories just go to show that, unfortunately, there is no such thing as "something for nothing".

1.  Looking For Some Pampering

Years ago, when I was homeless, a kind, old, homeless lady that I used to buy water and snacks for was crying because she was 20 dollars short of getting a hotel room for the night, and she wanted to shower really badly. So, I had a friend drive me to Walmart.

I walked around the parking lot looking for receipts until I found one with something decent that wasn't food. It had a $40 case of diapers on it. So, I went inside, matched the barcode on the receipt to a box of diapers on the shelf, and went up to customer service. I told them that my mom wanted me to return them.

I got $40 cash, gave half to the lady for her hotel, and spent that rest on food and drinks. She was so happy she started crying again and hugged me. I still think about that day a lot.

Desperate For Some Dough

2. Things Came To A Head

I participated in some market research for a brewing company. Getting paid to drink brews sounded great at the time, but it didn't take long for things to go downhill. There were a bunch of different samples in small plastic cups, all of which started out tasting like the strainings of the devil’s underpants and progressively got worse.

They kept bringing more out until one guy cracked. He swiped all his cups off the table and stormed out, yelling, "I wouldn’t even give this to my dog". I still don’t know if it was market research or some bizarre psychological experiment.

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3. No Bones About It

I joined a medical study that was researching the effects of severe weight gain and weight loss on bone marrow. It involved ten days of eating 6,000 calories a day, followed by ten days of not eating anything. You had to stay in a hospital room the entire time.

Every day, they took a bone marrow sample, which was decidedly not fun. At the end of 20 days, I got $7,000.

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4. Picking Up The Missing Pieces

I needed cash, so I did something that I regret to this day. I pawned some handmade jewelry that was passed down to me from someone very special. When I got paid—less than two weeks later—my items were "missing" from the pawn shop. I have never gotten over that, and it makes me sad that I never even got to wear that jewelry to something special.

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5. Dollars For Drawers

I met a complete stranger from the internet and sold him some used underwear. If it were a send-it-in-the-mail thing, it wouldn't have been a big deal. But part of it was that he wanted me to meet him to give them to him, and then he would pay me in cash.

It was a pretty good amount, so I went for it. We talked for a while beforehand, and he was really nice. I didn't get the vibe that I was gonna get harmed, and I needed the money. It was a quick meet-up in a Walmart parking lot, and nothing really bad happened.

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6. Hard To Stomach

I participated in a food study where I couldn’t eat for a day beforehand. I arrived at the lab crazy early in the morning, had a tube put down my throat, and lay there for six hours as they pumped liquids into and out of my stomach.

After the first two hours, I begged them to at least turn on the TV, but they would only let me watch PBS, so I couldn’t accidentally see any commercials about food. It wasn’t fun, but the pay was decent, and they served me a steak dinner afterward.

Rude WaiterWikimedia Commons

7. Bouncing Back

I scrounged every inch of my car, trunk, under the carpet, and pulled out seats to find enough change not to bounce a check. I needed less than a dollar and had about an hour to find the money and deposit it. The banker lady knew what was up when I made the deposit. It’s been more than 30 years later, and I still haven’t bounced a check.

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8. Hungry For Change

I worked at a little Hampton Inn. My sister and I had a small apartment, so we had a roof over our heads but very little food. We were struggling really bad. We would take naps, so we didn’t have to think about being hungry. I started lifting food from work. A few small danishes, some single-serve cups of peanut butter and jam, the commercial packs of coffee for her, and we would buy mainly bread and eggs.

I’m pretty sure the owner was onto me, though. He left at 5pm, either went to dinner or home, then would end up back when I was on shift because he "accidentally" ordered an extra dinner or his wife made too much chicken and rice or spaghetti again. I’d take it home and share. It was just a rough year.

When my mom visited us, she was shocked. She immediately took us to Costco to stock up. We were still eating that food a year later; she bought us so much. It was nothing fancy, but we felt like royalty with all of it. My definition of success was being able to go to the grocery store and buy whatever I wanted without counting the costs as I shopped. I’m happy to say I became a total success!

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9. Wishing For Money

Many years ago, when I was a child and my mother and I were facing homelessness, we'd spend the nights at various places, like laundromats or hospitals. One night when we were really hungry, she had me dive into the wishing well to collect quarters to use for the vending machine. It's one of those surreal memories that's stuck with me.

Desperate For Some DoughFlickr, Randy Greve

10. College Cash Out

When I was in university, I signed up to be a lab rat for various studies. One involved staying awake for more than 30 hours in a room with no sunlight, communication, or anything else that might give me a sense of time. Among blood and urine tests, as well as various probes and monitoring devices, it also involved keeping a thermometer in my rear the entire time. I got $1,400, though.

Desperate For Some DoughFreepik, stockking

11. No Stranger To Tough Times

I was offered a signed copy of L’Étranger by Albert Camus when I was in my early 20s. It's my favorite book, and my then-girlfriend had spent a hefty amount of money to buy it for me. Years later, I went through some rough times and really needed money to pay my rent.

Having no other practical solution, I ended up selling my beloved signed book to an acquaintance of mine. Seventeen years later, he still had the book and agreed to sell it back to me for the same amount he bought it from me.

Desperate For Some DoughFreepik, 8photo

12. Happy As A Clam

I was newly broke as a joke and had a date in a few hours who wanted to go to Red Lobster. I went through my car, my parents’ cars, my sisters’ cars, the couches, and everything looking for coins. I had a partially used gift card to somewhere as well. I took it all to the grocery store, cashed in the change, and sold the gift card for practically nothing.

I had just enough to cover myself. However, if she expected me to get the bill, I was finished. I would have to own up to having only $31.25 to my name. Luckily, she didn’t. She piped up, and we split the bill. Now, we’re married.

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13. Hung Out To Dry

A few years after high school, one of my high school crushes messaged me on Facebook. I was in between jobs and still living at home. She said she was coming back into town and wanted to hang out. I didn't have any money for a date, so I took some rifles that were handed down to me by my family to a pawn shop to sell.

They offered me a ridiculously low amount. I felt embarrassed and was put on the spot. I wanted the date to happen, so I sold the pieces. The next day we got to talking. She apologized and told me we would not be hanging out and that she was going on a date with one of her crushes from high school.

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14. I Broke Down And Sold It All

About three or four years ago, my wife and I went through hard financial times; we were behind on all of our bills. I owned my own business, so I took on any job I could. Sadly, that plan backfired. After working a long week on a project that I thought would pay all or most of the bills, the homeowner didn’t pay and ghosted me completely.

Out of desperation, I sold many of my tools. I just kept the basics that would keep me going. I also sold some family heirlooms that I never got back, and lastly, I sold my laptop and PS4 with all the extras to pay for two months' rent and utilities.

I miss having a piece of my family history, and I miss playing video games with my friends. But at the end of the day, at least my wife had a roof over her head and the lights on.

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15. Art For Art’s Sake

I used to pose in the buff for art classes while I was an undergrad. The pay was pretty good, about five times the minimum wage. One grad student, who was a good artist, but kind of odd, asked if I would do a private session for a few hours. I thought that I had just been hired for "something else", but I agreed because I was desperate for money.

I was a bit conflicted, but then I just figured, why not? I showed up, cleaned and prepped, and dressed to look good. It turned out that the artist really did want me to pose. During the whole thing, they were polite but very specific on poses, and it was actually a bit challenging because they were so intense.

While not particularly good-looking, the talent and effort were kind of a turn-on. By the end, I was half hoping it would turn into "something else", but they just kept telling me how to pose, what to do, etc. We went over the time, and the artist was nice and grateful, and even paid me extra.

man paintingMonstera Production, Pexels

16. A Challenging Summer Project

I participated in a US Department of Defense study looking at the effects of sleep and calorie deprivation and if those effects could be offset with testosterone supplementation. The first week, I went to the location every day, weighed in, was given food, had blood drawn, did a test to find my resting metabolic rate, and did some exercise familiarization.

In the end, they took a muscle biopsy from my thigh. I also received two injections. I didn't know whether it was testosterone or a placebo. For the second to the fourth week (21 days), I stayed at the location. It consisted of four five-day cycles. Three days were "high stress", where we got four hours of sleep, and two days were "low stress", where we got eight.

The high-stress days also had an extra workout session. They woke me up at 4am every day. Most days started with blood draws. Every day, I had a weigh-in and a urine check, a small snack, then an outdoor ruck for several miles with a 32 kg (70 lb) pack. The distance varied between about six and sixteen kilometers (four and ten miles).

That was followed by food, and a workout session of treadmill rucking, treadmill walking, elliptical, and biking, followed by lunch. After that, there were " army activities" such as sled pulls, farmer walks, hole digging, etc., followed by another workout session, then dinner. The high-stress days had another session after dinner.

Every six days, we were tested for strength and with a set distance ruck along a set path rather than the free roam of our usual morning ruck. We also had ongoing cognitive testing. At the end of this phase, they took another muscle biopsy. During the last four weeks, I went in every day to be weighed, given food, and check in.

At the end of this, I had one last muscle biopsy taken and one last session of strength and cognitive testing. The second phase was designed to mimic parts of ranger school. My total rucking amount was about 32 kilometers (20 miles) a day with a 32 kilogram (70 lb) rucksack. That didn’t count the miles of walking, biking, and elliptical.

In the end, I hadn't seen my pinky toes in days from bandages and had moleskin on the balls of my feet where the blisters never had time to heal. I would fall asleep on my feet if I didn't have a specific physical task, but they wouldn't let us sleep unless it was bedtime. We watched all of Game of Thrones and several movie series, including the Annabelle films.

I also lost 16 lbs during those 20 days. I nearly quit but didn't. The pay was really good, though, and I had the summer off as a teacher. Several months later, I found out that I had been in the treatment group and given testosterone. I had gained a small amount of muscle and lost weight while on a huge calorie deficit.

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17. Salacious Scripter

I had to come up with titles for many hundreds of adult videos. It was on one of those online digital work sites. The task was to look through some random still images of an adult video and come up with a descriptive title. It was all piecework, paying around seven to nine cents a pop.

They were dropped in batches of 30,000 or so on the site, and it was first come, first serve for which workers got to do them. It sounded like fun at first, but it got mentally grueling after a while doing them all at once, and it was hard to keep coming up with titles.

I could never quite do enough sufficiently fast to earn even minimum wage. I was holed up in bed at the time with various medical issues and had nothing else going for me at the time, so I was still happy to do it.

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18. A Gift For The Grad

I wanted to pay for my kid's high school graduation ring. He had worked so hard and was going to graduate against all the odds. I had to make a big personal sacrifice in order to pay for the ring and have it made and delivered in time for me to give it to him on graduation day.

I sold my complete Sub Pop Singles Club collection. The collection included Nirvana's first 45, "Love Buzz", and extremely rare pressings from the White Stripes, Smashing Pumpkins, Iron and Booze, Cab for Cutie, and Sunny Day Real Estate. The ring arrived the day before Graduation Day.

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19. On A Straight Path

While I was homeless, I started to play online poker from zero; I had never played before. I met a guy who was sitting and playing the game. I talked with him for an hour while he was playing, and that gave me the idea that this was my chance. My goal was to make $10 every night playing in a computer club.

It worked and became sustainable for me. After I fixed my life a bit, got a roof over my head, and my own PC, I tried to make poker my life-long thing, but I couldn't. When my life wasn't dependent on the poker income, the game started to bore me.

I couldn't focus on playing and lost interest completely. I don't think I ever played poker after.

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20. It Was A Mucky Job

Back when I was a competitive horseback rider in my late teens, I mucked stalls for 12 hours on Saturdays and Sundays for one extra riding lesson a week. Twenty-four hours of work for one one-hour lesson on the pony I was paying to lease. It was actually a sweet deal because one lesson was $30. The minimum wage was about $8 bucks back then.

The worst was when I was training ponies and broke my jaw on a Saturday and got yelled at for not working on Sunday. Then, I went to the ER on Monday and got yelled at for waiting so long and was rushed into surgery. I didn't eat solid food for six weeks.

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21. Repo Man

I waited at a Carl’s Jr. for a repo job. The tow guy never showed up. The owner came by a half hour later, gave me $100 bucks, and told me to show up at the same time the next day. I did it for three days at night and noped out of there. It was good money but not worth it, and that was with me riding along with someone.

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22. A Crafty Cash Haul

As a kid with a single parent, I was aware of financial struggles from the start, and I wanted to help my mom somehow. When I was about six or seven, I came up with a brilliant idea. It was just before Christmas, so I handmade Christmas cards. I loved drawing and coloring and was enthusiastic and creative. I went door-to-door selling them to people on our street.

I remember selling some and my mom accusing me of pilfering money because she didn't believe anyone would buy them. Three years later, my mom occasionally helped out at the flower nursery and would bring me with her. I noticed they would discard some of the flowers because they weren't in perfect shape, so I asked if I could take some with me.

They let me have them, and I plucked the bad petals and leaves and used wire to keep some of the wilted ones upright. I made two bunches from the cast-offs and sat next to the local bus stop around the time people were coming back from work.

I sold them within 20 minutes and immediately went to buy my nerdy self a kid’s puzzle magazine, as that was the only thing I'd ask my mom for every month.

Desperate For Some DoughFreepik,freepik

23. Ringing With Regret

It took nine years and a court mandate for my ex-husband to help financially in any way with our daughter. It was a really difficult time period for us. I literally counted out pennies to have enough to get groceries or a quarter tank of gas. I always thought she'd like to have my wedding rings from her dad someday.

I had my mom's ring from my dad, even though they split when I was a baby. It meant a lot but wasn’t worth anything because it was silver. My rings weren't worth much either, but I finally had to hock them. I got $150 for them, and I couldn't get enough money to buy them back. I'll never forgive myself for that.

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24. Neither Safe Nor Secure

I worked in retail security. I had to put up with disgusting behavior—actual fighting, threats, being shouted at, having hypodermic needles waved in my face, and having excrement thrown at me. I was only allowed two 15-minute breaks per 14-hour shift and was blamed for whatever went wrong in the store.

And if that wasn't bad enough, the shop staff were even worse. In their eyes, I was the lowest of the low and "should know my place". One or two were OK, but the rest got a kick out of dropping me in it. If I said "hello" to someone when I came into work, I got reported. The next day, if I didn't say "hello" to the same person, I also got reported.

The staff thought that they could talk down to me and treat me like garbage. I had to stand there and take it; God help me if I said anything in return. They could threaten me, but if I snapped back, I got reported to my company while the store employee was merely given counseling. You couldn't pay me to go back.

Desperate For Some DoughFlickr, Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ

25. Nothing Sweet About This Sugar Momma

I got myself a "sugar momma" and went to stay for a week with her in Philadelphia. I knew she was overweight from our talks and picture exchanges, which didn't bother me. What I did not expect was that she was morbidly obese—like 670-something pounds—and very grimy and gross.

Then, she tried to convince me to live in her basement. I thought I was never going to make it home.

Desperate For Some DoughFreepik, master1305

26. Out Of Commission

When I was 17, I worked at a 100% commission-based job. It was absolutely horrible. I had to pay rent to sleep on the duvet on the floor of my boss's apartment alongside seven other employees. I also had to pay for expenses, such as Airbnbs, gas, etc., to travel to different locations. As soon as I got paid every week, I was immediately out of money.

After asking my parents several times for money, and then after a lot of guilt, I desperately had to ask my boss for train fare. It was humiliating. I also asked my best friend at the time, who was also 17, for money. It may not seem that bad or desperate, but the guilt, stress, and embarrassment I felt was something else. It was the worst job.

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27. Beach Bumming Beaders

Back in 1993, I went on a road trip around the US for the summer in a VW camper van—of course—with friends. I ran out of money somewhere along the Gulf Coast. One of my friends had a tin full of embroidery thread, so I started doing hair wraps at beach tourist traps.

I ended up making about $100 a day, and as my friends ran out of money, they joined in. By the time we’d worked our way up the East Coast, we had multiple organizers full of embroidery thread and beads. It covered our campgrounds, food, and fuel. Once we ran out of beach towns, we headed back home.

Desperate For Some DoughFlickr, Kandukuru Nagarjun

28. Dancer For Money

Back when pay phones were a thing, my car broke down in a seedy area of town and, of course, I didn’t have my wallet. I went into a ghetto bar at around 3am and asked for a quarter to call my parents. No one offered, except for one lady who said she would give me a quarter if I danced with her.

She smelled of booze, but I danced and got that quarter. She also pinched me on my behind as I waited for my parents. It was the loneliest 30 minutes I ever had.

Dancing at a weddingGorodenkoff, Shutterstock

29. Political Pundit

When I was in college, I did fundraising for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and it gave me a memory that will stick with me until the day I am gone. We obviously had a script to go off of that demonized folks like Hillary Clinton, George Soros, and the like.

So, there I was talking to this gentleman, telling him about how those evil liberal billionaires were amassing funds, and then I said, "Did you know Hillary Clinton wants to socialize health care?" The gentleman replied agreeably, "That would be horrible!"

After a couple of minutes of getting this guy riled up, I said something to the effect of, "Well, sir, I'm really glad we've got you on board, but like I said, those liberals are amassing a huge amount of money, and we really need your help to fight back. If we could garner your support at any level, even $5 or $10, it would really go a long way to help out".

His reply was, "Son, I'd love to help you out, but I am so in debt from medical bills right now".

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30. Can Collectors

Where I lived, we had a thing called "PANT", which meant that you pay more for a bottle, but get the money back when you recycle it. As a kid, we used to go out and find empty bottles and cans, recycle them, and buy some candy and soda. My brother and I came up with a genius idea of just knocking on people's doors and asking if they had any empty bottles.

I think we managed to get a decent amount of cash. I also kissed a friend's foot when I was sloshed for what's equivalent to about half a dollar. Someone taped the kiss as well. It turned out that the dude who got it on film had a foot fixation and watched the video from time to time.

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31. From Homeless To Homebound

I was homeless for a while when I was younger and lived in Massachusetts. The summer was easy, but from late fall to the middle of spring, it was FAR too cold not to have a bed, so we’d stay at a local motel. We would cancel the stay during the day, so we didn’t have to pay, then re-book for the night time. We would also take money from the tip jar.

Some little old lady always worked the front and she was like our guardian angel. She knew our situation and was perfectly fine with us taking the tips and only booking the nights. She even told us where they would put the buffet food that no one ate; they would store it in a chilled room for the workers to eat, but they never did.

Eventually, the manager of the motel found us out and almost booted us to the curb. Thankfully, he was a nice guy, and my dad talked him into letting us stay by letting my dad and mom work there. Dad also convinced him to let all four of us stay in the suite, which had three beds instead of the one bed and a large couch, which all the other rooms had.

Thanks to that man—God bless his soul—we were able to eventually move into a project development. Then, sometime after, we moved into our own apartment, and eventually into a house that we owned.

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32. A Romp For Early Retirement

I co-owned a construction company in the early 2000s with a friend. We remodeled apartment complexes all over the country. We had been trying to get in with the largest property management firm in the country that had a corporate office in Chicago. The lady who awarded contracts took a shine to me.

It was a huge contract to do a full exterior rehab on three complexes, all adjacent to one another. It was made clear that a night with this woman would get us the contract, which held a nearly $2M profit margin over three years. Now, sleeping with this woman doesn't sound like a big deal, but this was a large, very tall, German woman who looked like Cathy Bates—but uglier and 30 years my senior.

I was really positive that the little general wouldn't stand at attention. I mean, it was like making love to a female Shrek. But I went through with it. We got the contract, along with a lot more work, but not without having to repeat the performance periodically.

Booze, my bedroom skills, a strong stomach, and a darn good crew are what put me on the road to being able to retire at 40 if I had chosen to do so.

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33. Dropped Without A Dime

Just before I graduated high school, I had an interview for a summer job. I lived in a suburb, but the interview was in downtown Milwaukee. My mom dropped me off, but she didn't care if I had any money to get home, nor would she come to get me. She had also taken my phone from me too.

On my way back, since it was raining, I went through Grand Avenue mall. I lucked out HARD when a woman asked if I would be interested in giving my opinion on some products, and in return, they would pay me $20. It was a godsend, and I almost cried when they gave me the cash after.

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34. Cleaned Up On Craig’s List

I posted an ad on Craigslist for cleaning in the buff; no touching allowed. It quickly transformed to, "I’ll let you play with my body, but no hanky panky, and I won’t do anything for you". That was a risky idea, but it went REALLY well, and I made $7,500 cash in a month.

To be honest, I enjoyed pretty much every minute of it. I dated my very first customer, and I made a great friend out of another. I have a bunch of crazy memories (crazy in a good way). I finally understood that I am quite unusual, and now I am a member of a non-conventional community.

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35. Playing Private Eye

Someone I had met thought that their girlfriend was cheating on them. So, they paid me $400 to follow her car one night when she was going out and take pictures of the person she met up with. I did so and then ended up waiting around for about four hours to catch her walking back to her car with some guy. She had lied about where she was and who she was with.

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36. Candy Crushers

I wouldn’t consider this desperate, but coming from a single-parent family, my mom told us if we wanted certain toys or items, to go earn them. So, after one summer of knocking on doors in the neighborhood to sell chocolate for baseball, I got the bright idea to do it personally.

When Halloween came around, my younger brother and I collected as much candy as we could. We bagged all of it up, four pieces to a Ziplock bag, then we put our baseball jerseys back on. I sent my younger brother to knock on the door first as the icebreaker. I figured no one was going to tell an eight-year-old to take a hike; I was three years older.

We would sell candy back to the neighborhood after Halloween and make $300-$500 each season until we got too old to do it. It was a glorious hustle from ages 10–14.

Desperate For Some DoughFlickr, Alpha

37. Money Was Just A Pipe Dream

Right after we bought our house and had our daughter, our good luck turned into disaster. The company I worked for laid off 50% of the staff, and those of us who remained took a 15% pay cut for six months. During that time, we had sold off our collectibles and offloaded any old electronics that we weren't using.

At the end of that year, as the holidays loomed, we needed more cash. The price of copper was through the roof, and the price of CPVC was dirt cheap in comparison. I gutted the exposed copper and brass that was in our basement and replaced all of it with CPVC piping for extra money.

I only gained about $150 bucks for all the work that it took, but every penny counted back then.

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38. Waiting For The Opportune Moment

A travel agency in my hometown that booked Disney vacations and cruises started offering party hosts dressed as Disney characters. I was young at the time, but all it took was a little bit of makeup to make me look like Jack Sparrow. I made $100 an hour to act like an inebriated idiot in front of the kids and tie a balloon or paint a face here and there.

The worst of it was the moms who would pay to see Jack in private. I think word spread because Pirates of the Caribbean became a huge request. I knew some angry dads were going to come knocking one day, so I quit.

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39. A Childhood Memory Gone

I pawned my first .22 that I was given when I was seven years old. I forgot about the ticket and lost it. I tried so darn hard to buy it back. I offered the buyer $150 for it, and they wouldn't budge. I lost my most cherished item at the time for a half-ounce and two quarter-pounder meal.

Over the last two decades, I've searched for a replacement. I had no idea that a 1967 Remington 517BR would be so hard to find.

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40. Raking In The Research Dollars

I did paid research studies. I honestly didn't mind most of them, although some were a bit sketchy. One was a nicotine research study back when I used to smoke. They put these metal plates on my head and administered some electromagnetic pulses. It was supposed to curve cravings, but I just felt super out of it for the rest of the day.

Overall, they usually paid for my travel to the city, and I had a lot of fun at some of them. The ones where you had an MRI paid the best. There was one where I was in an MRI for an hour, being shown pictures that ranged from pretty flowers to a baby's limbs blown off from explosives. I had to press a button that portrayed my emotions.

High School Dramas factsShutterstock

41. Drumming Up Some Cash

I went out clubbing one time when I didn't have a job. I pretty much just got trashed off of other people buying me drinks. I got a little too sloshed one time and got tossed out of the place. There was a KFC across the road, so I sat on the floor and just asked random people for money.

I ended up making around eight bucks in half an hour and got myself some chicken.

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42. Hitching For A Roll

I lived in a small town that had a depressed economy. The only readily available job was to deliver new motorhomes to dealers around the country. You had to pay your own way back home, so I traveled a lot on Greyhound and Amtrak.

However, I also hitchhiked over 50,000 miles in two years. Thank God for long-haul truckers and gay men who would pick me up. I actually got picked up by the same people several times.

Desperate For Some DoughFreepik, yanalya

43. Saved By The Salve

One day, a guy came up to me and asked, "Is that your truck?" I told him it was, and he said, "Would you haul something for me?" The guy had this warehouse with about three pallets worth of an old patent medicine called "Vico Salve". He paid us $40 to haul it off to the dump.

Vico Salve had been manufactured in our town before the FDA came along and shut it down for selling medicine that had no medical effect. However, we didn't take it to the dump because we got a genius idea—we took it to our barn. Vico Salve was really cool.

It was strong-smelling like Vicks VapoRub, and it came with a sheet of instructions that claimed it would cure pinkeye, the grippe, and a long list of more diseases that nobody has heard of these days. On some of the sheets, some of the diseases were scratched out because maybe Vico didn't work for them so well.

The artwork was from the 1920s. A while later, we had a street fair in town. I shaved my beard into a mutton chop, got a red-checked suit coat and solid red pants, set up a table, and started hawking Vico Salve just like an old patent medicine swindler.

I said, "Step right up, folks and get the miracle cure, Vico salve!" I sold a dozen bottles or so. After that, old-timers would send me letters requesting a bottle. They said, "I used this on my old hound dog back in the day", etc., and the letter would be three pages long, rambling on about their dog. I sold patent medicine, for real, at a street fair.

Desperate For Some DoughShutterstock

44. Fight Club

I did some unsanctioned fighting. Some bloke set up his garage as the social area and staged the fights in the yard. There were a bunch of guys tossing in $20 each, and there were no weight divisions. It was strictly one on one, but that's not to say there weren't any rules—there were gentleman's rules. If you behaved like a jerk, you would get mobbed.

Everyone knew not to put the boot in if you were down. There was no going for the groin on purpose, no attempts to permanently maim one another like gouging eyes, etc. If your opponent called it quits or the crowd shouted to stop, you stopped. As far as styles go, anything was allowed, but there wasn't a lot of style on show.

For the most part, it was big guys—usually gym heads—hitting one another. There were a couple of guys with some real skill and even one or two lunatics who, I genuinely believed, were involved for the thrill of it and would have fought for free, too.

I got tenderized more than once in that yard, but I kept my head moving and my hands high. It wasn't a highlight in my life, and it's not something I am proud of either, but the reason I did it was that I was bloody dirt poor and had just started a relationship with a woman I loved very, very much.

It’s a fact of life that you need more than a month's pay in your pockets if you want to date a gal, and that meant I needed to rattle up. It just so happened that scrapping was something I could do, and it was a way to get what I wanted most—her.

Desperate For Some DoughPexels

45. Doing The Odd Job

When I was about 14 years old, a buddy and I were skateboarding outside of an apartment building. Two old dudes asked us if we wanted to make some money. We said sure, and they told us to come up with them to this apartment. We went up, and they wanted us to help move a couch or something.

They paid us and then asked if we wanted more work. We said, "Of course", and they told us that they would pick us up at around 7am on weekends, and we would ride in the back of a white van to do random odd jobs—mow lawns, pressure wash houses, paint walls, etc.

They would pay us each about $50 a day and buy us booze or Smirnoff Ice and then drop us off near home. We both kept it from our families because we knew it was sketchy. We did it for a few weeks until, one day, we were too hungover to get up in the morning and then just started ghosting their calls.

Desperate For Some DoughPexels

46. It Opened The Door To Fifty Bucks

In June 2020, we were in the middle of a wave in my city. I decided to go out to buy groceries. On the way there, there was a coffee shop that didn’t have an automatic door. At the entrance, there was a man standing there. I was minding my business walking.

Then, the man came to me and offered me $50 to open the coffee shop doors for him. I suspect he was struggling with the fear of germs and mental illness. I opened the doorknob, and he gave me $50 and ran inside before I could really say anything.

Desperate For Some DoughPexels

47. Pushing My Buttons

I was poor growing up—really poor. One time, around age eight or nine, I collected a bunch of buttons from wherever I could find them around the house. I then hit the street, door to door, trying to sell them for a buck apiece. It took me three hours to make five bucks. I was so excited that I finally had enough money to buy a box of Lucky Charms.

I went to 7-Eleven, bought a box, and got home to eat it. However, we didn’t have milk, so I started to cry. I ended up using water instead. It was very, very pitiful. Forty years later, I can finally buy milk and cereal anytime I want. It’s great, and I never take it for granted.

Desperate For Some DoughPexels

48. Spinning My Wheels For Nothing

I reached rock bottom and started working in life insurance. I was on my last leg and got my insurance license. Then, I learned the job was purely commission, and you make more money if you are a manager—only to find out that as a manager, there were operational costs.

Therefore, I was actually going to end up spending more money just to get through the month. I eventually found out it was a pyramid scheme. It was not an insurance company, it was a hiring company that had a revolving door that never stopped spinning.

Desperate For Some DoughPexels

49. Probing For A Reaction

Twenty-five years ago, when I was in college, I was part of a medical study. I was told I would receive a free dental checkup as part of the study, as well as $75. First, they gave me a questionnaire about going to the dentist and if I had any fears related to it—I didn’t. Going to the dentist sometimes involved discomfort, but it was always worth it.

Next, they hooked a bunch of probes to my face, which stayed on for the entire study. They then had me watch a slideshow of random images—a field of flowers, a toaster, a Rottweiler with teeth bared, a smiling woman, a dentist drill, a book, a revolver pointed at the camera, an airplane, a dentist’s chair, etc. Then, the dentist came in for a quick checkup.

I didn’t have any cavities. He then told me, "I’m now going to use a Florida probe, which will measure the distance between your tooth and gum". That's when the study took a turn for the worst. He stuck the probe between my tooth and the gum of my back molar, and I nearly jumped out of the chair in pain. That thing hit the nerve, and it hurt.

He then applied the Florida probe to every one of my teeth, to the point I was doing a quick, panicky inhale every time he went in. When he was finished, all of my teeth felt like they were vibrating. They then had me watch the slideshow again.

They were trying to detect a new fear response when the dentist-related images appeared. I seriously considered spending my $75 on a baseball bat and going back to tell them what I thought of their study.

Desperate For Some DoughPexels

50. Summer Of Septic Slew

I did odd jobs in the summer after my first year because I forgot to plan ahead and get a real job. One homeowner had a septic bed that had been backing up and leaking for about twenty years. He finally wanted it dug up so it could get fixed. It was nothing but poop, poop, poop for two weeks straight. Even mixed with dirt, it was bad.

Desperate For Some DoughFlickr, F. D. Richards


Sources: ,

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