By Daryl Jones and secret special guest contributor, ‘Deep-Pockets’.
Somehow, I almost always have too much month left at the end of my money. Over the years, most of my friends and I have been kinda poor. I’m not talking real poverty; more like the type typically experienced by struggling musicians, artists and students. Not starvation, just nothing but noodles and dry weetbix for a month. 60c short of buying a train ticket home kind of thing. Think crashed-indefinitely-on-friends-couches-reduced-to-a-life-of-extremely-petty-crime levels of poverty. By persevering through that kind of mild economic hardship, you learn a few tricks.
So for those of us in the Do Shit Community who’s rags have yet to turn to riches, here they are: our Top Tips, for if you’re a little bit poor.
Some are immoral, some illegal, none of which are endorsed by Do Shit Magazine, but if you’re in desperate times, here’s some desperate measures for ya!
1. Looking/Smelling Good
Free fancy cologne and hair products
One thing all people who are a little bit poor have in common, is that they definitely want to get less poor. The problem is, no one will start giving you jobs and money and opportunities if you seem like you don’t have a job and money and opportunities.
So how do you seem ‘not-poor’ for free? Turns out there’s free stuff that makes you look and smell nice just sitting there for the taking in department stores and pharmacies all over the world!
You can walk past and give yourself a shot from sample cologne testers in the morning on the way to hand out resumes so you don’t smell like an armpit.
“You can smell like a million bucks for zero bucks!”
Same goes for your hair; even if you can’t afford to get it cut, go dip yo fingertips in some sample product and tame that mane before you head out to
hustle some chumps change your fortunes!
2. Eating free!
Hotel Conference Lunches
I attended a conference* at a fancy hotel for a few days, back when I was respectable and employed. The conference was pretty dull but I really enjoyed the lunches. It ended on the Wednesday, and I happened to be still in the city at 12:30 the following day and thought to myself, “I wonder if lunch is on at the same time again at the Hilton…” It totally was.
I rubbed shoulders with a bunch of obstetricians, chatted about my preferred vaginal stitching techniques, and ate like a king!
Scope out the fancy conference centres where you live, get a feel for their schedules, and go for it!
Confidence and good presentation can get you almost anywhere. For high security situations, grab a clipboard and lab coat and you can wander straight into the Oval Office and munch Obamas private stash of broccoli, no questions asked.
*Conferences are also a good source for shit-loads of free pens. It always impresses prospective employers when you can whip out your own pen instead of asking to borrow theirs.
Simply buy some grapes, one at a time. ‘Pay’ for each one in cash. The tiny weight of each individual grape will be rounded to the nearest 5 cents, which, in this case, is zero.
It takes about 20 mins for a bunch, but it’s totally worth it, because free grapes.
Transport is a big problem when you’re a little bit poor. I’ve hitched for thousands of kilometres and it’s not as easy as it perhaps once was, back when the world was less murdery. People make the decision to stop in a split-second, so you have a very short amount of time to communicate how friendly and non-murdery you are. Here are the key tips that help get me a ride:
(a) Look like you don’t stink.
(b) Don’t stink. (see 1.) Your ride will be a lot shorter if you do.
(c ) Smile, a bit.
Too big a grin is super creepy. Never smile around dusk.
If you need some direction on the smile, imagine you’re a kindly stranger who’s car has broken down at home and you need to get to town to visit your ailing grandmother; the kind of person who wouldn’t usually stand on the side of the road in the blistering sun waiting to get abducted.
(d) Stand where people can see you from a distance, with time to make their decision and feel guilty enough to stop for such a nice dude.
Free Taxis and Pizza: Transport and Food Combined!
It’s nighttime and you want to get to your friends place to eat a delicious pizza, but you’re too poor to own a car/buy petrol? No problem. Simply call a nearby pizza delivery service and order a pizza to your friends place. Stroll on down to the store and wander out the back. Have a little chat to the delivery driver taking your order, who I guarantee is a poor bastard like you, (I know because I was one) and jump in for the ride. Even if your friend refuses to pay for the pizza, it’s gonna be infinitely cheaper than a taxi across town!
4. Shop lifting
I was never any good at shop lifting. But a friend of mine was pretty much Aladin and Abu rolled into one. We’ll call him ‘Deep-Pockets’. I got him to write this bit. I asked for a little paragraph, but what we got was so, so much more amazing! Buckle in for this masterclass…
How to Shoplift… effectively. By Deep-Pockets.
Shoplifting is one of the greatest joys we can experience in our modern world. It’s one of the few times that all your senses are working overtime, pumping adrenaline through your body. You move lucidly, with a wicked high, and then you get free shit. It’s an art, and, like any art, there are ways to nail it and ways to fuck it up. I’ll run you through them, but don’t hold me accountable.
How to nail it:
1. Dack it down your pants. Yes, you will feel like a teenager, but it will work. This method is appropriate for stealing small items that you deem overpriced – think cheeses, electronics, and jewellery. Wear tight pants and a lose shirt. A jumper is preferable. Act natural.
2. Barcode Switch. A more creative thief may capitalise on the cashier’s autopilot mode, placing the barcode of a humbly priced item over that of something more expensive. When that thing is scanned, suddenly a television costs the price of a hand towel.
3. Self Serve. The main perk to robots taking our jobs is definitely self-serving checkouts at super markets. Let’s look at the Coles system. It springs into life when you scan your first item. Choose wisely. You want something with a barcode, something big, and something cheap. Let’s use, for example, a packet of Jatz crackers. Now the weight sensors will determine this item once its placed on them. The margin of error is roughly 15%. This means that in your first scan, you can throw in a little something extra, as long as it doesn’t weigh too much. The light just below the computer screen will be red for a few seconds, then turn green. When they’re green, you can move the bag. Sit this bag open on the floor and place items in it as you wish. You’re going to pay for one more item, and it’s going to be a cheap vegetable, like lettuce. Put this lettuce on the table. Look up item. Scroll through a litany of vegetables as if you’ve never used a computer before. As you do this, place more and more stuff in your floor-bag until you have nothing left. The lettuce becomes your last item. Pay $4. Leave. Win.
(Alternatively, if you’re never going to visit the store again, you can scan all your items and just leave. No payment. Just leave.)
4. Jumpsuit and Clipboard. This is not for the feint hearted. If you want big things, like TVs and computers, and that sort of stuff, or if you want to pull of a very calm heist, chuck on a jumpsuit, walk into a shop with a removal trolley and a clipboard. Load the trolley with whatever stock you want and ask the youngest newest looking employee for a signature. Slur out the words “Don’t care who it is kid, my boss just gotta know I came here”. Walk out.
Now stealing is clearly a delicate procedure, so don’t be a dingus…
How to fuck it up:
1. Sweat. If you’re nervous, don’t even try it. You’ll attract the eye of every bored security guard. If someone questions you, act dumb and confident. It’s important to remember that in Australia stealing under $300 is decriminalised, so don’t freak out.
2. Celebrate too early. The battle doesn’t end as you leave the store. You’re working full-time until you’re in your car driving away. Don’t take off that second coat while you’re still in the mall. Just don’t.
3. Steal in groups. Do I need to explain how suspicious groups look when huddled around a stand in a shopping mall? Do it on your own or in pairs. No more.
4. Surrender. Everyone has a price! If you’re caught, remember that the security guard is just another human getting through a shift of his dead end job. Anything novel breaks up their day, and if you’re the catalyst you’re probably in the running for a little bit of empathy. You can act naive and let them feel their power. You can phrase things like you both own the problem: “What are we going to do?” You can stun them with friendship or even bribe them. The fight’s not over till your section 10 dismissal flops.
Ultimately, shoplifting is intuitive to some and terrifying to others. My final piece of advice is this: people are always bluffing when they say they’ll call the cops. Good luck.
5. Personal Hygiene
Toilet paper is expensive. But in public toilets, it’s free. Save yourself a couple of hundred bucks a year and use everyone else’s loo but your own. Cuts down on your water bills too…
Similarly, if you refuse to shower at home your electricity bill and excess water costs will disappear! Find your closest free showers and get in em!
6. CASHMONEY (scams)
This one could be a whole magazine really. I’d definitely subscribe to ‘Simple Scams Magazine’. I really don’t like scams that have a direct victim. If you do something that really hurts and costs another person you’re a massive scumbag, so DON’T do it. But scams that benefit someone and cost almost nothing to others: game on, Robin Hood style! Here’s our favourite victimless crime…
A scam perfectly suited to poor musicians to try when on the road, is known in the game as ‘Tricky Tickets’. It simply involves buying a book of raffle tickets from a nearby supermarket for about a dollar, then wandering around the corner to a bar near the one your band is playing at. You then sell tickets to patrons for their chance to win an amazing and completely non-existent prize of your choice. 100 tickets at $2 each gets your band fuel and food to the next town, and people are only ever down a gold coin donation at most. Win-win.
There are infinitely more tricks out there you can use to save a dime if you’re trapped in mild poverty! We’ve barely skimmed the surface; these are just some we may have tried personally!
Please, do us all a favour and add to this resource by sharing your tips with the masses!*
*Nothing that has a victim please! We wont be impressed if you just stole your friends bike. Unless he was riding it at the time, and you got it on video… then contact us ASAP…
wife lawyer dude by: @darylsheajones
armpit dude by: flickr.com/photos/mrseb
cheesecake by: flickr.com/photos/thesweetside
grapes by: flickr.com/photos/30969972@N02
shoplifter by: flickr.com/photos/thirdeyepic
pizza taxi: flickr.com/photos/tracyhunter
loo paper by: photo credit: flickr.com/photos/jonolave
raffle tickets by: flickr.com/photos/markpack