There’s an unwritten rule to how the economy works in this world, everybody steals, and those that don’t get caught have earned every red cent that they’ve taken. That may seem horribly unfair to some of you, but it’s a cold, hard world out there, and you might as well get used to it. You’re either playing the game, or you’re getting played, you pick.
That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but we did want to take a moment to respond to a few commenters mentioning the $20 international shipping on some foreign orders of our book, Jenkem Vol.1, and build upon the excellent advice given by a couple other commenters. Their advice: make crimes (or get a job) to cover the cost of shipping. And since the minimum wage doesn’t even pay enough to live off, we figured y’all could use some simple schemes and scams to make a few bucks here and there, we even went out and tried a few of them ourselves.
It should be noted that some of these ploys are illegal, if not morally questionable. But while we don’t necessarily support executing criminal acts to acquire cash, we also aren’t going to go out of our way to stop you from getting yours.
THE HOBO HANGOUT
This is by far the easiest scheme of them all. Find yourself a nice and shady spot on a heavily traversed sidewalk, craft up a sign with charming misspellings (don’t want people thinking you know how to read and write too good), put a hat out and get to begging. It’s as simple as that. We had our intern, Russell, panhandle for a little while in lower Manhattan, and it worked out pretty well for him, in fact, it was the second most profitable ploy that he tried. Equipped with a stained white t, perfectly stupid sign, and a drunkard’s wit, our boy made over $16 in the hour he was hanging. That’s more than minimum wage, and all off the books too! As long as you can deal with the stigma that comes with looking like a beggar, this one’s just too easy.
THE STREET PERFORMER
Do you think begging is below you? Earn your handout with a street performance. For this scheme to really be profitable, you’re going to need some kind of talent to show off. Get yourself to a public park, the busier the better, put out your trusty cash-collecting receptacle, and proceed to wow all passer-bys with your mad skills, whatever they may be.
Our boy Russell, sadly lacking such talent, did his best to bust a move, but was met with lots of disses and side eyes and pretty much no money. So, if you’re as rhythmically challenged as Russell, maybe you should take a different approach. Practice your casper stalls, primos and space walks and busk like you’re Rodney Mullen on Venice Beach. Or, if you have any spray paint laying around, try your hand at one of those cheesy solar system paintings you see being done by sellout street artists all over the world – it can’t be that hard.
THE CAN COLLECTOR
You know that saying, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Well, that’s a pretty gross overstatement, but you can still make a little money by picking out the recyclables from the bins. Recycling doesn’t just help reduce the amount of garbage in our landfills, it can also help fill your pockets with cold hard coins (if you live in one of the 10 states that allow it). You can make up to 15¢ per can in some places. I know, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but you only need 140 tall boy cans – that’s like one party’s worth at your local skate house – to make a cool $20. Plus you can brag to people about how green you are by saving the earth one can at a time. You can even save money on food by becoming a dirty freegan and cooking up whatever scrumblings you come across. Win-win!
THE THRIFTY SCAMSTER
This one might take a bit of work, but as you can see from the video above, it can pay off big time, like $42 big. For this plan to really be profitable, you’re going to need some free product. That’s not so tough these days though. There’s a million and one Insta-brands out there that would be “sooo stoked” to send you product if you just rep them on your social media. So just start a fake account, buy some followers, shill for some product and then go straight to one of those fancy thrift stores. But if all that’s too much work just steal your dad’s loafers and button-ups and your mom’s heels and fanciest dresses. They’ll probably forgive you, and if they don’t at least you’ll be a little richer.
The late, great Keenan Milton performed this one in the Chocolate Tour video, and even though it’s a bit dated now, it still might work on some of the slower folks out there. With this simple swindle you can easily double up your money. To make a slick $20 all you need is $19 in starter cash, an envelope, and a gullible shopkeeper (Ray Barbee in the instance above). Make sure to follow the steps that Keenan lays out in the video and you’ll be two tens richer in no time. It’s a classic case of the old switcheroo, with the trick being mostly sleight of hand and having the cool confidence to know you’re not going to get caught. And if you do, what’s the worst that can happen? Just book it and try it out again at the next spot, it’s bound to work eventually.
THE SKATE BRAND SCAM
This one is based off the skit in Kings of Promotion by Consolidated Skateboards. Now, if you’re new to skating, you may not know who these guys are, and that’s because they took aim at the big swooshy behemoth and pretty much killed themself in the process, but we’re still big fans of their kamikaze business model. Here, at the end of their 1997 video, they lay out step by step how you can start your own skateboard brand for basically no money. The only real catch is that you’re going to need a skater good enough to get sent free product and a company willing to do so, but with all the rippers at your local skatepark and all the upstart garage brands out there these days, that shouldn’t be too hard. Get the free product, rebrand it with your logo – the more obvious the ripoff the better – put it up on social media, and watch the dollars come flowing in. You may have heard there’s actually very little money to be made in skateboarding, but that’s only true for people with integrity. If you’ve read this far, that’s not you, so you have a good chance of coming out on top with at least $20.