Ask TSJ: Scrabbling Cash on the Black Market

LIFE IS HARD. It seems like every new day brings a new question that, try as you might, you’re just unable to find an answer for. The Smoking Jacket understands this, and we’re here to help. TSJ’s editor, Melissa Bull, and Headshots columnist, Mike Spry, set aside some time in their busy schedules to answer your questions in a feature we’ve cleverly named “Ask TSJ.”

This week’s incredible question comes from a TSJ reader in need of some cash, ASAP.

dear tsj, i need money, and im not really sure how the black market works. im too embarrased to ask my friends. is it like one place you can go? ill sell anything. help me thx!!!!


Dear Desperate,

Before you Fantine it and sell off all the teeth in your head, slough off your body hair and pawn it off to a wig market in southern Asia, there are other ways to rub a few dimes together and try to drum up some coin than getting all gummy for no good reason.

1. Pawn everything you got

Your grandma’s wedding ring? Them’s real diamonds. Your old high school clarinet? At least twenty bucks, easy. Pearl Jam CDs? Maybe five bucks? If your pawn-broker’s sweet on you?

2. Have a garage sale

This takes longer than pawning but you should get a good 10-20 bucks out of not just throwing out your old shit. Aka four-seven square McMeals. No smirking. Specially if you got no teeth.

3. Garbage pick for soda cans + return them to the corner store

This should get you at least a buck, aka a nice warm coffee at McDonald’s.

4. Donate your reproductive juices

There’s money in your chromosomes.

5. Whore yourself

If you like the sex.

6. Get a job

Worst-case scenario. I’m sure you can get an under-the-table dishwasher job if you’re really keen on messing with The System.


Dear Person Living in an ’80s Spy Movie,

The black market is just like any other other market, but with more hip hop. No, I’m kidding. You’re, of course, referring to the underground economy is the market in which illegal goods are traded. What do you have to sell? You’ve already (obviously) sold your common sense, capitalization, and proper punctuation. And no shit you’re afraid to ask your friends. You’re an idiot, and they’ll tell you that.

What you’re looking for is a job. J-O-B. A regular activity performed in exchange for money or good. Hopefully nothing where other people’s lives or livelihoods depend on you, and nothing with heavy machinery or cats.

Get your head out of your ass,


Got a question for Melissa and Mike? CLICK HERE and fire away. If we use it… your life will improve immediately. 

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