Back in the day, do you remember where your priorities were? Middle and high school dramas always focus on the dating, the dances, and the real-life hardships of kids, but is that really what our lives were like?
Or did we have some more interesting and hilarious moments of our youth that often get glossed over? Such as, what people were selling in your school at ridiculous prices? Livestrong bracelets were most certainly a hallmark of the black market of those of us who were in middle school between 2002 and 2005. Cheesy bagels became a fixture of the rewards system at high schools around the Boston area.
Your school probably had something similar going on.
"What was the weirdest black market in your school?"
Here were some of those answers.
Anything For The Jersey
"Mountain Dew and Pepsi had a contest where college names were printed on the inside of the bottle caps. "
"If that school won the NCAA March madness tournament, you could send it in for the jersey of your choice from any school. Suddenly, a black market for caps with blue chip schools was born."
"I remember selling a Duke cap for $10, then turning around and buying 10 drinks from the vending machine."-UCFandOCSC
The Forger Of West High
"This one girl forged excuse notes if you brought her something one of your parents wrote."
"I never used her services myself, but we were (and still are) good friends, and I gotta say, she's talented as hell."
"I literally can't tell which one is mine after she copied something I wrote. Including signature. It's baffling."-ChaoticMainframe
Any Price For A Fantasy
"Harry Potter books."
"I went to a religious school where books that had magic or fantasy was banned. Parents of these kids were just as religious so kids couldn't get them from their parents."
"Mom didn't care and she let me buy a few for some friends and then more kids started requesting them."
"Charged double for what they were worth and the kids were more than happy to pay."
"Most popular requests were: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Cirque Du Freak series. I should probably mention that this was a Muslim school."-aidan-fox
The black markets that students established ranged from the relatively innocuous to the somewhat dangerous.
Rewarding Preteens Seems Like A Silly Idea
"Our middle school tried to start a reward program. It turned out to be a fail of epic proportion."
"Wolf bucks; names after our mascot. They were mini-sized dollars color-coded by value. Green was $1, red was $5, blue was $10, and a gold wolf buck (only accessible to the principal and assistant principal $50) - Now the school bought erasers, pencil, notebooks. You could only buy with wolf bucks 1 pencil : 1 wolf buck."
"First failure: it was easy to copy. So kids started mass copying them. - okay school got smart and said 'only accepting wolf bucks with your name and have your teachers signature.'"
"Second failure: kept the same color; so kids would earn one legitimately, then the forgery started. Third failure: hyperinflation; during pep rally's. The principal started throwing golden wolf bucks."
"Eventually the school stopped resupplying the store. Everyone had hundreds/ thousands of worthless wolf bucks."-isramobile
"My best friend found out that the dumpster behind the video store had a lot of sample porn tapes."
"Basically it was like the best parts of 4 porns clipped down and put into one vhs to try to sell those porn videos to the store, and then it would have 'this is a sample copy' flashing on the screen. Way more than we could handle anyhow."
"We would sneak up there in the middle of the night and steal a bunch of the porn tapes and sell em for like 5-10 a piece. We made several hundred dollars."
"I built a PC and put a CD burner in it with my share of the money. It might have also paid for a bike, but I might have mowed lawns for that, I forget which year that happened in and if they were the same summer."
'"Ring got busted and my friend got his disciplined when he fell asleep with the vhs in his tv that rewinds and plays it automatically."
"His mom came to wake him up and there's porn. He had to unveil his stash space. Guy kept his mouth shut though. Didn't rat me out said it was just for him. Didn't tell her it was a business we were running."
"We had a history of that. One summer when we were like 6, we started freezing soda in ice cube trays cause it was yummy and made our extremely meager soda allowance last MUCH longer while we were playing sega."
"Well, some kids around the neighborhood wanted some but we didn't really want to give em up. We decided to sell them for a quarter, but all our soda-pops got bought up.... but we also had enough money for several 2 liters."
"Well the next day we made a bunch more and kids were rabid for them, did two batches of every ice cube tray we had, upped it to .50 a cube. Next day we went a dollar a cube with special mixes. 1.50 for a SURGE cube (enough to buy an entire 2liter bottle at the time.)"
"Well... by the time parents were getting home from work our racket got shut down, parents were PIIIIIIISED we made bank, certainly over $100 on the 3 day racket. As kindergarten age kids."
"The parents wanted the money back but we said we spent it all... we were liars, I mean, we had plans for all the money sure, and we spent a LOT of it. We had HUGE bags of soda and chips stuffed in a stairwell where our parent's wouldn't find it. Man we had a great summer that summer."-hemorrhagicfever
Window Cleaners Share The Best Things They've Ever Seen | George Takei’s Oh Myyy
Black Market Bus Pass
"This happened in Los Angeles in the mid 80's. Student bus passes had to be purchased by the fifth day of the month or you were stuck having to pay daily."
"The date had passed so I found a guy in my high school willing to trade another student's pass which he had stolen. I traded a tangerine and half a pack of cigarettes for a copy of Penthouse."
"Then I traded that issue with a pizza from the cafeteria for the bus pass."-HankPymp
Still A Collector's Item
"'Diddle' paper. It's colored paper with a mouse drawn on it. But everyone collected them. No matter how old. And there were hundreds of different artworks."
"People had folders with protective covers and depending on the motif and rarity you wanted to trade, you could get 3 to 4 others in exchange. It was wild..."
"I just googled it and there are still collectors buying and selling them on the internet..."-OneMorePotion
And some of these black markets were likely not the only ones of their kind across the world.
This Is Definitely Illegal
"A teacher at my high school that I refuse to rat on would take money from students and buy them lottery tickets/scratch-offs in exchange for a cut of any prize $50 and up."
"I think the dude legit made a few thousand dollars off of this just during my senior year. And it made the students love him."-Feraligreater328
Something Easily Made
"In early elementary school we had a market for mud. Different groups of kids would claim areas around the school as their mud pit and put their brand of mud in ziplock bags to be traded with other groups for different bags of mud."
"We were the clay mud group and I had about 3 kids in the muck scooping it into bags or running to the water fountain to get fresh water to make more mud on dry days. I would be the one to go make the deals with the other groups."
"We traded a lot with the gravel mud group because 'clay mud' and 'cement mud' are both good for building or some sh*t... Who knows? It made so much sense at the time."
"The principal and staff eventually stepped in to end it because all the kids came back to class filthy every day and giant holes littered every field and playground."-LemmeLaroo
Ice Cream, The Young Child's Gold
"Our elementary school utilized 'ice cream tickets.'"
"You got 1 if it was your birthday or if you did something that a teacher decided was 'exemplary.'"
"People would pass them around asking for favors down the line. Some kid found the paper used to make the tickets and xeroxed multiple pages of the tickets. He became our kingpin and ruled for a couple years."-Lucky_Se7enX
The things that kids will really rely on each other to produce and sell are so interesting and are a great look back into the psyche of our youth.
The black market days may be behind us, but the black market life will always leave lasting memories.
Love is crazy. I've finally come to that conclusion. And marriage, you take your life in your hands and just throw caution to the wind in hopes of survival with that step.
When love falls apart, things can get real messy, real fast. And I've always been stunned by people's behavior when love subsides.
More often than not, it's like they become different people. Sometimes people are beset by tragedy and grief and sometimes people smile wide and move on. It's a coin toss.
But my favorite post divorce personality has to be the sudden super villain. Oh honey watch out for them!
Redditor u/hyperyog wanted to hear all the tea from the divorcees out there by asking:
Divorced Redditors, what is the craziest thing you or your former spouse did after divorce?
I once had a friend who burned her ex's house down when he wasn't home. He had started seeing someone almost immediately, so she thought, lemme set their sparks. Yeah, she wasn't well. Whatever happened to just a quick goodbye?
Swipeddean winters crying GIF by MayhemGiphy
"She removed the retaining clips for my windshield wipers, but put the wipers back on the arms. First storm after I got my car back from her, driver side wiper flew off the car on Interstate 40. Good times."
"He wrote suicide notes and put them in my kids backpacks for them/me to find. Then he turned off his phone and went to a coworkers house to play crib and have drinks.. all the while knowing I would be freaking out searching for him thinking he was in danger or worse. Thankfully my kids didn't see the notes and didn't know what was going on. This was just one of the many, many crazy things he did. Two years out and he just recently stopped showing up at my work and driving by my house at night."
A Sad End
"Died of a drug overdose. To be fair, her drug addiction was the reason for the divorce, so maybe that isn't too crazy."
"That's so incredibly difficult to have gone through. I unfortunately know the depths of this kind of pain, and while I'm sure the circumstances surrounding it are different, the loss that still happened is a tragedy. My condolences."
"Stalked me for 5 years. Would make fake social media profiles to try to follow me (which I would block endlessly) and would try to find where I worked so she could talk to me. This lady cheated on me with 7 different men 2 months after we were married. I kicked her a** to the curb and made her sign the court papers."
"When we had our day in court she cried in the judges office while I just wanted to get this crap done. After, my dad was with me and he threw 50 dollars at her and told her to "change your freaking last name." Good guy Pops. I haven't seen or heard from her in about 5 years, thank goodness."
Take it All!skin care spinning GIF by Primal Life OrganicsGiphy
"I had an ex-boyfriend go through my apartment and take back every gift he had given me that he could find. Then he went in my bedside table and took the condoms. And the vibrator he had given me."
See now, when I'm out... I'm out! I don't want to see you, hear from you or know you. I wish you well in life, but please live it far from me. Anyone agree? Clearly not the people here. Let's continue...
For the Boybicycling father and son GIF by NETFLIXGiphy
"All I wanted was custody of my son, I gave her everything else except one of our cars. She fought me through 5 hearings, I won. She never came to see him again."
"My ex cheated on me the week my mom died in the hospital. She spent a year and a half trying to get in touch with me. She would call my old work and make fake accounts trying to message me on FB. It was insane. She later sends a certified letter explaining she was sorry that she did what she did and that she aborted our child."
"Wanted me to meet her somewhere so she could apologize face to face. She already married some other guy that she had children with and was still trying to get in touch with me. I never understood her."
"After years of telling me she wanted a child, that she wanted to be a mom, that her life's dream was to be a stay at home mom, she got pregnant with the first guy she slept with while we were getting divorced and put the kid up for adoption even before it was born. This was a long-standing thing with her, she always wanted something (car, house, dog, cat, marriage, etc) and the second she got it she immediately hated it."
"Called me and pretended he had been hit by a car while we were talking. He even tried to voice the crowd that had gathered around his "body." God-awful acting, but pretty funny listening to him try to mimic a woman's voice. Points for trying to be inclusive, I guess."
"I think he was trying to get me to re-live my trauma of being on the phone with a friend who actually HAD been hit by a car while we were talking. Too bad he didn't realize that hearing the real thing is worlds different than hearing a dumba** try to act it out."
"I was sending 600 dollars a month to support my daughter because she's the only thing I give a sh!t about. My ex texts me and tells me I need to be sending 1200 a month because she's broke and can't pay her bills and I should feel guilty about it. She left me for another guy while I was on deployment I told her to go screw herself--call my lawyer."
Pop OffTom Hanks Drinking GIF by The Good FilmsGiphy
"Took the sodas from the fridge as he walked out the door. Dumfounded."
See, I blame Alanis Morissette and her "Jagged Little Pill" album. All I'm going to say is... the secret song. I think she gave people ideas. (I love that song) Y'all, seek therapy if you can't shake people. When it's done, let it be done.
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Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is highly regarded for his delicious plates, his ability to run a solid restaurant, and, let's face it, his stage presence.
He's also a foul-mouthed Brit who is all too willing to dismantle people's self-esteems and compare them to livestock animals.
Alas, as watching all reality television goes, we love to see the crashing and burning.
But what if the shoe was on the other foot? What if you were the one being torn into by the sailor of all chefs, Mr. Gordon Ramsay.
Wondering what horrible dishes were lurking in unknown kitchens all over the place, Redditor FalloutSl*t413 asked:
"What's something you made that was 100% delicious but Gordon Ramsay would slap you for anyway?"
Some people talked about those purely functional meals that are just perfect for piling on enough protein and calories to get through the day.
"My mom used to make us 'Volcanoes.' Mashed potatoes topped with ground beef with some ketchup. I still tear it up to this day."
Quick and Easy
"I make weeknight 'enchiladas.' "
"You stick frozen taquitos in a casserole dish and cover them with canned or frozen chili and cheese. Bake them until everything's hot, serve with a dollop of sour cream. They sound disgusting but they taste amazing, and they take like, five minutes to prep."
"I know it looks like, smells like, and probably tastes like cat food but potted meat sandwiches. Look, when you're poor as hell and you can make 3 sandwiches with one little can that cost like 20 cents, it's pretty good."
"While I'm at it, Treet and bologna are pretty great. I have the taste palette of a raccoon and I like it that way."
"When I was younger I would make this thing where it was a patty melded of:"
- "a can of tuna"
- "two eggs
"And I would eat that almost daily, pan-fried, for lunch. Just slap me now and lets get it over with."
Others shared the recipes they make to feel fancy despite being totally trashy.
A Nuanced Process
"I call them 'chicken puffs.' Some par-cooked chicken (white or dark meat, either works) with sauteed serrano peppers and onions and garlic."
"All wrapped in crescent roll dough in little balls (a bit smaller than a baseball), put in a casserole tray filled juuuuust above the top of the little dough balls with cream of roasted chicken soup. Baked to completion/safety."
"Overly indulgent and delicious."
A Famous Side
"I consistently make a box of pastaroni angel hair and herbs as a side with meals I prepare for people. EVERYONE always asks for the recipe LOL please don't tell my secret"
Just a Couple Additions
" 'Fancy Ramen' Ramen made normal. Don't mix seasoning. Drain water. Add Mayo. Then mix in seasoning. And Volia. A lot of people question it. Until they try it."
Others outlined the things they eat that combine some ingredients it may seem disgusting to mix together.
Throw An Egg On There
"Fu** it lasagna, alternating layers of bread and shredded cheese (your choice which, I use cheddar) then crack an egg on top and put it in the microwave. Old depression meal, but it still holds up."
Hard to Wrap Your Head Around
"As a kid I would eat a banana with a cheese slice. Haven't tried it in years but it might hold up" -- Send_it_to_me
"Let's not" -- Sea-Entertainer-4974
"When I was younger I would make toast with peanut butter on it, then add pepperoni. Delicious then but I cringe thinking about trying it today"
The truly horrifying thing? There are so many more recipes out there that would leave Ramsay trembling.
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People love to talk about food. There are blogs, books, television shows, conversations in bars and farmers markets. In all likelihood, there is a recipe swap happening right this second in some deep corner of a suburb somewhere.
But sometimes talk is a lot of hot air. And the topic of food sure isn't immune to that criticism.
You can't get through a day without some telling you what "you gotta try."
The problem is, talking about food is often far more exciting than the food itself.
Redditor anicaodha asked:
"What food is overhyped?"
Many people were angry about garnishes. They hated the way restaurants try to entice people to eat certain menu items by slapping some kitschy ingredient on there.
A Very Expensive Burger
"Anything with gold flakes, absolutely pointless." -- Spend_Total
"ugh, i just remembered throwing up gold flakes from goldschlager, yuck!" -- spaceygracie12
"Aka how to add a crunch to your dish like a douche." -- CakeBot_TheReckoning
Catches the Eye Though
"Any rainbow food, rainbow grilled cheese, rainbow smoothie..."
"Just a cheap money grab."
No Breath On My Meal Please
"Dragon's breath/ nitro puffs or any dessert that contains liquid nitrogen to make it look cool." -- throwjango
"This stuff exists? God, I'm out of the loop." -- -The-Magic-8-Ball
"Truffle oil, usually doesn't contain a single truffle." -- BlckontheMoon
"The 1 thing I love about Truffle oil is I've never seen someone use it on a cooking competition show and not lose." -- igotmadshirts
Some people talked about the big trends that they just never could quite figure out.
That Almighty Nectar
"Remember when people were treating Nutella like it was the second coming of Christ?" -- Grapezard
"I had an Italian friend once invite me to his birthday party in high school. His mom made a Nutella pie and it was one of the greatest desserts I've never had the pleasure of trying again. It was so simple, like a soft flaky dough covered with Nutella."
"I don't want to come out of the blue and ask this kid for his mom's recipe 15 years later so I'll just suffer I suppose." -- JupiterTarts
"Red velvet is literally a red chocolate cake that has nowhere near enough chocolate and to much red food coloring. It literally was invented when done dudes chocolate turned kinda red when he added vinegar to the chocolate cake mix."
"Friends loved the color, but it was finicky to get the red color without changing flavor of cake, so he decided to use red food coloring."
"Fu**ing Avocado Toast.
"Avocado is a buck. Toast is few cents. Avocado Toast is $10+"
And some discussed the things that people insist are fancy and delectable, but are really just run of the mill entirely.
Meat is Meat?
"steak is good, and I'd even say a high quality steak can be very very good. But people act like it's better than busting a nut and that's just not true. It's just meat"
"Lobster. It's good, but poor value given it's almost always the most expensive protein available."
"Plus most places just drown it in butter, which again, fine, but if all you taste is butter, why spend that much?"
Depends on the House
" 'Housemade' ketchup. Give me the damn Heinz and get your banana aoili mess away from me." -- peanutbutterallytime
"I live in Pittsburgh and I have seen multiple restaurants try and fail to make housemade ketchup work. Every single time they go back to Heinz." -- HooBoy401
So if you find yourself tired of hearing people go on and on about something you don't go wild over, know that there are others fuming too.
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It's not easy to always do the right thing.
Which is why most people don't usually do the right thing. Doing the right thing involves a lot of thought, empathy for others, and a self-awareness of your place in the world. You're not making a choice just for yourself, you're more often than not doing it for someone else. This, in itself, presents a difficult hill for most people to climb so, usually, they feel it's easier to make the selfish choice.
Doesn't mean people always do. They can surprise you sometimes.
*The following article contains discussion of suicide/self-harm.
What's the hardest moral decision you've ever had to make?
Even when the choice amounts to something small, it can still matter to someone else.
How Dare You Make Me Morally Astute?!
"This is small potatoes compared to most of the people on this thread but many years ago I was travelling and had very little money. I went to a stall at a market, handed them a 10 dollar bill. Item cost 5 dollars but instead of handing me a five dollar note, the handed me a 50."
"I was walking away from the stall when noticed. My first thought was BONUS. But I had lately been hanging out with a bunch of people who were really into karma. So I stormed back to the stall, slammed the 50 down on the counter and told them off for making me make moral decisions. Lady behind the counter was like "ahhhhhh, thanks"
Didn't Believe The First Time, But Can't Deny Visual Evidence
"I told a co-worker his wife was cheating on him. It ruined our friendship for a good amount of time, until he caught her himself."
"To bad he couldn't just believe you."
Owning Up To The Mistake
"Fessing up to an error I made at work that cost the company 5k. I was a manager and misinterpreted a sales promotion. I almost lost my job, this is the one time that telling the truth actually saved me. It's true what they say that the cover up is usually worse than the crime. Lesson learned.."
Doing something morally correct when it comes to family can be tricky. On one hand, you don't want to ruffle the feathers of the people you're going to be related to for the rest of your life...which is how family works.
On the other hand, do the right thing.
Making The Best Call For Your Children
"Removing the mother of my two sons out of their lives completely as she was unfit and abusive while I was on deployment. They were 3-4 years old then and now they are 17 and 15 with their mother never attempting to come back into their lives which I would prefer at this point."
Because They're Going To Be Sad Later...
"My grandmother died, and I lied to my parents about it."
"My grandparents were 95 and my parents hadn't had a vacation in 30 years. So when she passed away with only 5 days remaining on their vacation, my family decided not to ruin it for them; instead, we'd plan the entire funeral and if my mother wanted to make adjustments when she returned, we'd arrange it for her; there was nothing they could do to get her back."
"Having to decide on the DNR (do not resuscitate) order for my father who had been victim to a massive stroke..."
"I know millions have done it before and millions will again but to me it was devastating....."
"As a health worker, you did the right thing by your father. I've come across families of patients who keep them alive for their own peace of mind while the patient themselves is tired and in alot of pain mentally and physically from the constant treatments and would rather rest from it all. Don't feel bad for your decision."
Never doubt your actions when it comes to protecting children.
"Calling CPS on a student's family after she begged me not to. CPS did an investigation and she was pissed at me for months until the vice principal had a talk with her and explained that I only did it because I care and didn't want her to get hurt."
"That VP is awesome. I sat in his office while he coached me through the call, since it was my first time calling CPS."
Standing Up For Your Friend, Even When No One Else Will
"I was in high school and my best friend was being bullied on the bus. She brought a knife to school and had previously mentioned a list of people. I cried a lot when I went to the principal to turn her in. I knew I was ruining her life but I wanted her to get help. I didn't want anyone to get hurt because we were all just kids. She was expelled and forced into therapy. We had been friends since we were 11."
"My mom listened on the phone line when I was trying to comfort my friend (while absolutely not admitting it was me) and my mom jumped on and told her I'm not allowed to be her friend anymore. I had told my mom I had turned her in and she had no empathy for this girl. Because I had been bullied and stood up for myself and never "did anything like that". My friend was getting cornered on the bus by 4 people whereas I was normally taunted in public and was lucky enough to always have an upperclassmen or school employee around to help me out. I felt guilty about turning her life upside down for many years but would do it again because she did get help."
If you or someone you know is struggling, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
To find help outside the United States, the International Association for Suicide Prevention has resources available at https://www.iasp.info/resources/Crisis_Centres/