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
Despatch-riding: Life on the open roads of Britain's cities. Exhausting.
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
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
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,
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
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
Reproduced from Living Marxism issue 54, April 1993