The Most Desperate Things People Have Ever Done For Money

Person counting cash
Alexander Grey/Unsplash

People will do anything for money.

It's a tale as old as time.

Hopefully, though, their intentions are good and they go about earning money through honest living instead of cheating the system.

That's the thing about honest living, though, that makes people apprehensive. There are ways to earn money that is publicly perceived as a disgrace or an embarrassment even though the original intention is commendable.

Yet, here we are. When times are tough and ideal jobs are hard to come by, workers will do whatever it takes to earn enough to put food on the table and pay the bills.

Curious to hear from those who didn't have options, Reddit peachyqueen45 asked:

"People of Reddit, what’s the most desperate thing you’ve ever done for money?"

Becoming test subjects for a study is one option.

Catching Zzzs

"Participated in a sleep study where they had us wired up to electrodes to monitor our responses at periodic intervals across 3 days without sleep. It was brutal. I learned I cannot go without sleep for 2 days in a row."

– Barbarella_ella

Bad Brews

"I participated in some market research for a new beer."

"Sounded great at the time, ‘I get paid to drink beer?’"

"Anyway, it was a bunch of different beers 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, swiped all his beers off the table and stormed out yelling ‘I wouldn’t even give this sh*t to my dog!’"

"I still don’t know if it was market research or some bizarre psychological experiment."

– Rumpleshite

Effects Of Severe Dietary Changes

"I joined a medical study that was researching the effects of severe weight gain and weight loss on bone marrow. Involved 10 days of eating 6000 calories a day and then 10 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. $7000 at the end of the 20 days!"

– mpaulBCH

Starving For Cash

"I participated in a food study where I couldn’t eat for a day before, 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."

– glorious_cheese

These tasks had them going around the neighborhood.

Scrounging For Treasure

"Drive around nice apartment complexes and dig through their garbage like a raccoon for stuff I could pawn."

– Alpaca-Bowl420

Child Salesman

"I was poor growing up. Really poor. One time (around age 8 or 9) I collected a bunch of buttons (wherever I could find them around the house) and then hit the street, door to door, trying to sell them for a buck a piece. It took me three hours to make 5 bucks."

"I was so excited that I finally had enough money to buy a sugary cereal (lucky charms). I went to 7-11, bought a box and got home to eat it, but we didn’t have milk so I started to cry. I ended up using water instead. It was very very pitiful. Fast forward 40 years and now I can buy MILK and cereal anytime I want. It’s great. I never take it for granted."


These examples were regretful.

Scam Position

"You know you have reached rock bottom when you start working in Life Insurance. On my last leg I got my insurance liscense and then learned the job was purely commission and you make more money if you are a 'manager'. Only to find out that as a manager you have operational costs. So you actually end up spending more money just to get through the month. Then you find out it's a pyramid scheme. This is not an insurance company it is a hiring company that had a revolving door that never stopped spinning."

– CallCenterSenator

Advertising Targets

"Held a sign for people to see at an intersection. Normally this isn't bad. However, it is a local thing to bully those that do by throwing food items like milkshakes and slushies at them. Which is why I was hesitant to do so."

– JQuest7575

Getting Wasted For $$$

"I got paid 1k to drink screwdrivers and being flashed by bright lights. Basically got paid to get drunk with bunch of sensors hooked up to me."

– tastytastylobster

Erotic pleasures sells.

Cougar Time

"I slept with my 64 year old landlady. In my defence, it was either that or sleep on the streets."

– Jack_In_Black89

Unwashed Goods

"i met a complete stranger from the internet to sell 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 killed, and I needed the money. It was a quick meet in a walmart parking lot. Nothing really bad happened."

– deletedgirlfriend

If The Shoe Fits

"I made $50 when I was randomly approached in a bar to be on a foot fetish site. There was no nudity or actual sexiness involved. Just a lot of pictures of women's feet on my face, chest, etc... It was waaaay more uncomfortable than it should have been."

– Fubai97b

Fetish Shoes

"Not desperate, but in the early 2000s I sold a used pair of ballet flats that I thought would go for next to nothing on ebay. They sold for about $60 and that is when I learned about the world of used fetish shoes. In those days, you could contact an ebay customer directly and innocent me was curious as to why they sold for so much, so I contacted the buyer. He was straightforward in his explanation, asked if I had any more, and I sold him two more pairs directly w/o paying the ebay fees. I didn't need the money, but it sure helped. ETA: I was and am still married, I told him about it and we laughed."

– fredfreddy4444

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and the Redditors above resorted to earn some cash by putting themselves in bizarre situations.

But, who are we to judge?

In a time when layoffs are frequent and the future of job security is uncertain, are any of these side hustles mentioned above morally or ethically reprehensible?

You might want to reserve judgment after seeing yourself in their position.

Try putting yourself in their shoes.

Or, better yet, sell your old ones to put a spring in someone's step and get some cash for it.

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