People Describe The Items People Traded In Their School's Secret 'Black Market'

The Trade In...

People Describe The Items People Traded In Their School's Secret 'Black Market'
Image by Sammy-Williams from Pixabay

I had no idea this stuff was going on. THAT is how uncool I am. A subterranean network in education where items are traded as currency? And for what? Apparently pencils are as valuable as cigarettes in a prison setting. And is it only the students involved? Are teachers and the administration also running it? So much to think about.

Redditor u/RetardIsProbalyTaken wanted to discuss, what's the value of a few underground things to the educational crowd these days by asking...

Never in my wildest dreams did I think about quid pro quo in school. I clearly missed out. Having suffered from bullying the way I did, I could've bartered for my freedom.

We Need Control

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In my junior year we had a gun black market. like that's not even a joke, one boy was selling guns out of the back of his car at lunch.


We used to do that in the 70's. It was legal.


Candy Kids

Any candy in primary school, Smartys in middle school and marijuana in high school.


I was an entrepreneurial child, and would bring in Sees candy bars to my siblings school and sell them for $4 each. Paid $1. Way better than the cheap stuff the other kids were slinging. My parents knew about it and didn't care. They wouldn't pay for any of my stuff even basics like shampoo and toothpaste from the age of 12, but at least they didn't stop me from making money where I could.


CD Daze...

This will show my age a bit, but I was the first kid (in a large middle school) with a CD burner. I started out selling top 40 compilations for $5, then moved onto mixes by request for $8 (you give me a list of songs, I burn you a CD), then got into full albums the day of release for $5. It was so lucrative, I bought two more high-speed burners and could do three CDs at a time.

Within a few months the whole school knew me and where I'd be hanging out on certain days. I even had a guy working with me for a cut.

We'd walk around with a duffel bag just slinging discs. In a year-and-a-half, we made so much money I don't even want to say. But if you do the math, I was averaging probably 20-30 CDs a day, but on a huge album release I'd easily do 200 or more in a day.

Keeping up with demand was stressful as hell, but my parents knew and were actually supportive, as long as I got my homework done. My dad even found a way to buy blank discs and cases in bulk for cheap from who knows where.

I went away for the summer between 8th and 9th grade, and when I got back another kid had taken over the market. I was so relieved. I still burned discs for friends for free if they gave me a blank, and obviously for myself. But was so glad to get out having made all that money.


People Share The 'Dirty Secrets' That Their Bosses Don't Want Customers To Know

The Pop Gang 

So my brother ran his own little black market at our high school. Back in the early 2000's they introduced soda machines to our Upstate NY school. They were $2 for each soda. There was a Kinney's Pharmacy right next to the school. So I'd park my truck in the spots between the two, he'd get out and buy as many 6 packs of soda as he could fit in his bag.

Then he'd sell them during the day for $1.50 each, undercutting the vending machine and making a profit. The school eventually caught on and called our mother. My mother wasn't even mad, she was impressed with his ingenuity.



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Silly bandz in elementary school.


This! We would sell, trade, gift them, a true black market. I can say I had some of the "rare" one, spongebob, gary, Mr.Krabs. You know the good stuff.


It's funny, I was an Assistant Principal's assistant, and her candy draw was overflowing with trash. I always had her lunch hour covered. I could've taken everything she confiscated and resold it. Damn me having a conscious. How is candy an issue? Whatever.

For the Pens...

When I was in high school, they gave out Surface computers to all the students. Everyone would lose or break their pens, and the school didn't have anymore replacements. Eventually it got to a point where other students would steal other people's pens and sell them to other kids who need them.


When in Stanford...

At Stanford they let vendors like arts and crafts people set up on a particular lawn i don't recall how often every coupla weeks? one of em sold shrooms. they were selling more than arts and crafts i suppose. giving you a way to see in your own artsy way.


The Chick Plan

Some guy used to bring an entire gym bag full of Chick-fil-A chicken biscuits to sell in HS. Sold out every morning before 1st period. You could be added to his waitlist to get yours reserved or you could wait to see if he had any left. Brilliant.


Christ I could have made a killing doing this. Any kids reading this, you can still make a killing doing this. Do it for me.


Lunch Hour

When I was in high school, students could work in the cafeteria during our lunch hour for a small amount of money as well as a free lunch. A couple of the student lunch workers started selling their free lunches to other students for less money than the cafeteria would charge for the same meal. The school eventually caught on and fired the student workers that were doing it. Nothing crazy, but I always thought it was interesting.


No Flames! 

After my middle school banned Flamin' Hot Cheetos because of how popular they were, the kids who came from inner-city busses brought stashes of them in duffel bags and sold them for $1 each.



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In 3rd grade I got a clay jewelry maker for my birthday, I would make clay bracelets and necklaces and sell them to my classmates.


Anything & Everything

Boarding school black market. We have something called the 'Hedge'. Essentially it's just what it sounds like, it is a big hedge and you can crawl inside of it and can't be seen by anybody looking in.

People meet in it and buy cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, or organise with older students to get them to buy certain items they can't buy since it's age restricted. It also used to be where people bought porn mags back in the day according to my dad (he was surprised it was still a thing), but obviously since porn is now free online it killed that sector of the economy off.



Alcohol. One of my buddies would bring a coffee thermos full of hard liquor to school every day and charge people $10 for a pull from it. People sharing coffee or soda wasn't super uncommon and he made quite the killing before he stopped (graduation was coming up and he didn't want to risk anything).


Take your... PIC

I did a thing with Pic-a-Pop. (Our local multi-flavor soda company) I brought 24 bottles of various favorites (cream soda, lime, raspberry, strawberry etc) and sold them for $0.75. It undercut the Coke machine by $0.25 and my cost was $0.50 plus I get a dime back for every bottle I returned. It wasn't a get rich quick scheme but $6 profit per 24 bottles and all I had to do was go for a 5 minute walk to the store every couple of days to reload.



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Pokémon was the black market in primary school. In high school it's drugs.


And Pancakes?

Fresh waffles. We had this one kid that would bring a waffle iron from home and plugged it into one of the sockets meant for your charger. During the breaks, he would pick from the supermarket across the street a bottle of waffle batter to which you only had to add water. Initially, he only this for himself and his friends, but since everyone in the school became hypnotized by the overwhelming waffle smell and started to ask for one, he decided to sell them. Unfortunately, his waffle stand was ultimately taken down by the janitor.


Come and Get It!!

I went to a boarding school. We had cards that allowed us to get however many dollars worth of food at the dining hall for meals. My roommate would get friends to lend him their cards when they went home for weekends, and he'd use them to stock up on mountain dew. Then he'd sell it out of our dorm room throughout the week. He made hundreds of dollars that way.


on the floor...

Marbles. In primary school my friend would win people's marbles in a game and then sell the marbles back to them. Until the teachers stopped him.


Of the Devil

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The black market is D&D supplies, soda, books, snacks and movies. This is a catholic school. They say those things are of the devil.


The Pottery Studio

I mean I feel like it's the basic one but at my old college before I transferred there was an entire network of people exchanging textbooks and course packs because we refuse to support the bullcrap textbook industry. Legit operated out of the back of the pottery studio because it was it's own detached building behind the main lecture hall building.

Literally like a couple times a semester there would be, essentially, a swap meet in the studio and there'd be people from like the Psychology lab majors all the way to engineering students hanging out and exchanging books and course packs.



Lunch tickets.

When I was in school, students receiving free lunches would get paper tickets at the beginning of the week and exchange one ticket each day for their meal. These students would sometimes sell their lunch tickets at a reduced price to students who had to pay full price for lunch.

I was a full participant in this.

The reason? If I kept those tickets I could buy lunch for myself. If I sold them for $1 a piece I could use the resulting $5 to buy a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter, or a gallon of milk and block of cheese, or a few cans of soup, and my mother and brother could also eat.


Schools have some dark secrets. There is a WHOLE lot happening that parents are not paying attention to. School is a soap opera. And I think I want to watch.

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