LM Archives
  10:47 AM BST
LM Commentary Review Search
Comment Current LM Web review Mailing
lists Discuss Chat Events Search Archives Subject index Links Merchandise Overview FAQ Feedback Toolbar


Unemployment and compulsory work training schemes are all the official economy can offer more than a million under-25s. No wonder many opt for scams instead, to make a cash-in-hand living in the underground economy. Andrew Calcutt lists some scammy ways to try to survive the slump

Anne Summers parties: 'Ladies, earn £20-£50 per evening'. The underwear economy.
Avon: 'Selling Avon is very easy. You earn super money in hours to suit'. But nobody who uses Avon will open the door after 6pm.

Bar work: £10 per session, plus tips. Fewer of either on offer now that even pubs are closing down (see Stripping).
Busking: If you can't play, try miming to a cassette.

Car boot sales: Money for old tat. The spirit of Warsaw, Bucharest and other Eastern European markets comes to Britain's car parks.
Car repairs: You'll need a toolbox, maintenance manual, and a lemon to suck on when estimating the cost to your customer.
Cassettes: A suitcase of dodgy dance music tapes is perfect for flypitching - and for flying when a policeman starts raving.
Catering: Casual labour, pays cash-in-hand, by-the-day. The queues start forming before dawn outside the agencies.
Cigarette lighters: The man with the tray of plastic lighters is today's equivalent of the Victorian matchseller. That's progress for you.
Cleaning: Today's 'daily' is probably under 30 and under £3 an hour.

Despatch-riding: Life on the open roads of Britain's cities. Exhausting. (See Signing-on)
Drugs: Your ticket to a screen-test on police surveillance cameras (perhaps the only films still being made in Britain).

Enterprise Allowance: The government will give you £40 a week (less than income support) for six months, if you invest a mere £1000 in 'a viable enterprise'. A what?
Escort agencies: If the groping doesn't get to you, the passive cigar-smoking probably will.

Flyposting: Sticky - can lead to conviction for criminal damage.
Flyers: £5 an hour for distributing flyers outside London nightclubs after midnight. The photocopier replaces the sandwich board.

Gardening: Bob-A-Job for grown-ups.
Guinea-pigs (human): Teaching hospitals pay you to take part in experiments and test drugs. Unconfirmed rumour that £5000 is on offer for allowing your heart to be stopped momentarily.

Insurance: Making bogus/inflated claims on 'stolen'/broken musical instruments (see Busking).
Ironing: 75p per pound - this one will crease you up.

Jewellery: 'Market top-notch designer costume jewellery...have fun and make money in your spare time.' After you've spent your spare cash buying the stock, that is.

Language-teaching: Private English lessons - one way graduates can still make their education pay.

Market-survey interviewing: Ask people questions about what they like, and then try to sell them something they don't.
Marriage: Find a sugar-daddy or get hitched to an 'illegal' immigrant for around £4000. (See Ironing)
Mental illness: Feigned or not, this may be the only way to boost your points-score on the housing waiting list.
Minicabbing: Pay £50 a week rent to the controller for the privilege of hanging around all night playing the fruit machines in his waiting room.
Mobile hairdressing: Have curlers, will travel. Tracy from Brookside as a role model.

Nannying (live-in): Going 'into service' is back on the agenda.
Nannying (part-time): Pick up kids from school and give them tea before power-dressing parents get home. The return of wet-nursing may be imminent.

Paper round: Just because the paper-boys are older, it doesn't mean you're getting any younger.
'The pictures': Inner-city wide-boys selling 'modern art' prints to suburban/rural housewives. 'It's all in the flirting', says one.
Pirating video-games: Become a Streetfighter doing battle with the agents of The Federation - the Federation Against Software Theft, that is.
Prostitution: It's no game.

Ram-raiding: In some districts, it may be difficult to find a shop that hasn't closed down.
Rubbish-clearance: A skip, a strong back, and a catchy small-ad along the lines of 'let's talk rubbish'. £30 a load.

Sex cards: £40 for putting 200 cards ('busty masseuse') in West End phone boxes. (See Telesales)
Signing-on: Many dole-office workers turn a blind eye to claimants earning on the side. 'You can sign on in a paint-spattered overall, and no-one will pull you up unless you're raking in £300 a week benefit. We know that massaging the truth starts at the top.' (See all of the above, and below)
Sperm-selling: Wankers wanted. Potential donors will be strictly vetted at licensed clinics.
Stripping: Many pubs are trying to recapture lost trade by hiring 'exotic dancers'. Not as strictly ballroom as it sounds.
Stripping empty houses: Break in, then sell bathroom furniture and materials.

Telesales (evenings and weekends): Put on your best telephone voice, pretend you're Al Pacino in Glengarry Glenross, and get the phone slammed down on you 20 times an hour.
Territorial Army: Pays an activity allowance. (Not recommended)
Travelcard-touting: Ask commuters for used travelcards, then sell them to other travellers for £2. Fat Stan Flashman it ain't.

Video piracy: Satellite dish, blank cassette - and you're in showbusiness.

Windscreen-washing: Some drivers may try to run you over. Have a nice day.
Reproduced from Living Marxism issue 54, April 1993

Subscribe to LM




Mail: webmaster@mail.informinc.co.uk