Today's burning question comes from Redditor kryantastic who asked:
"What 'black market' existed in your school?"
This reminded us that kids, teens, and college students all find unique ways of making money or obtaining "contraband.
A relative of mine ran a gambling ring in junior high, for example, and that was how they (and so many of their classmates) obtained all the candy and chocolates they could stuff their faces with. This same relative has since paid for their black market wits with numerous visits to the dentist over the years.
You win some, you lose some, right?
"Teachers punished us..."
Teachers punished us by making us write "I will refrain from extemporaneous vocalization during valuable pedagogical opportunities" 50 or 100 times as homework. So over the summer we would do up a few hundred sheets of that, and we could sell or use them, as necessary.
That's one way to save time. A lot of it. Not even mad at the hustle.
The cafeteria (not school run, kind of just a cafe inside the school) would charge $3-4 for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so one girl kept the ingredients in her locker and charged $1. When the school caught wind and shut it down, they tried to guilt us all by saying how the cafeteria was someone's livelihood and we were taking away from that. But like. $4 for peanut butter?
$4 is a robbery. That is probably the cheapest sandwich one can make! And where do they think students will get this money each time they need to eat?
"Kids would find..."
A porn ring.
Kids would find their dads' VHS pornos or magazines and sell then to this kid. Then he'd turn around and sell it for profit.
Funny thing is that when the principal caught wind of it and found all the porn in his locker the money wasn't there. The kid used the locker under his and hid it all in the bottom.
The porn hustler dude is now a cybersecurity analyst. I asked him at our reunion how much he thought he made back then. He claims $900 in 4 months.
For a kid, that's pretty much a fortune. And teenagers are horny devils.
My school banned soda. I used to keep a cooler full in my car and sell them for $2 a pop.
You wouldn't have made any money off of me! The less soda the better, I say.
"My mum owned a sweet shop..."
My mum owned a sweet shop and sweets were banned in our school as we had to have healthy meals and all that. So she'd constantly give me bags of sweets to smuggle in and sell everyday at dinner. Made an absolute bomb.
Your mother was aiding and betting your criminality! Sounds like someone worth meeting, come to think of it.
"I used to sell bootleg movies..."
I used to sell bootleg movies in high school. Not the kind of bootleg where you take a video camera into a theater, but I knew someone who kept getting early versions of movies that I guess are sent to theaters (they had some message about it being for screening purposes only/internal use - I don't remember exactly) and giving them to me. I'd burn a bunch of copies and sell them to people for $5. They were high quality and still early in theaters.
So you're the person brandishing DVDs in the middle of everyone's faces in the middle of Times Square!
"Our high school..."Giphy
Our high school had an internet filter.
An enterprising friend of mine set up a FreeBSD server in his basement, and put together some 256mb flash drives with an executable version of Firefox (could run directly from the flash drive without installs) and a SSH client. You could plug it in, connect SSH, then use the server as a proxy for all the Firefox traffic and get around any website you wanted.
Those flash drives were a hot commodity, let me tell you. You could set up in the library and just start casually browsing a banned website, and people would start coming up and asking how you could do it.
Your friend sounds brilliant. What are they doing now?
"Our cafeteria coordinator..."
Iodized salt and simple black pepper in the lunchroom. I'm not kidding. This was around 2004 (USA).
Our cafeteria coordinator was trying to do everything healthy and by government rules, so no added salt. Bogus, but whatever. But she also took the pepper too. Kids in my school didn't really pack lunches, as most of us got reduced lunch. I was pissed, as they just boiled canned veggies and gave them to you in a bowl with the juice, and wasn't going to stand for it. I was also a huge ahole in high school, so I made a plan.
I bought salt and pepper shakers and put them in a zippy bag to carry in my backpack. I broke them out at lunch every day, and shared with about 70 kids. We made it through for about 3 months, and then they finally caught on who had them. I got "silent lunch detention" in a separate room for a week, and I made sure I put my salt and pepper out on my table every day.
But then, when I came back to the normal lunchroom, like 30 people had salt and pepper shakers. Shakers everywhere, and the coordinator was pissed. Oh it makes me laugh even today. She still refused to put out salt and pepper, but we all had it anyway. It continued until I graduated from there.
Viva la resistance!
"In 5th grade..."
In 5th grade I sold fairies to every single one of my classmates for $1 each. I gave them names and back stories and drew little portraits of each then would toss them an invisible fairy and then collect from the next sucker.
You must have made a killing!
"Stuck on a boss?"
PlayStation (1&2) memory cards
Stuck on a boss? Want the treasures without having to beat the game on Ultra Hard? There was a guy who in my grade who, for a fee, would play any game and get where you wanted to be then give you a memory card to copy over the save file. Naturally you had to return the memory card to keep the ball rolling for everyone.
Okay, this is rather brilliant. Look at you go, you little entrpreneur!
Kids are crafty, man. They will find a way to supply any demand.
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