Seven Black Markets You Won’t Believe Exist


People often convince themselves that illegal goods are outlawed simply because they’re cheaper. That is the only explanation we could think of for why a healthy black market exists to sell the following items under-the-table.

1. Teeth Whitener


What Is It?

Chemicals for increasing the brightness of one’s teeth for cosmetic purposes. The preferred active chemical in at-home teeth whitening systems is peroxide.

Why Is There a Black Market?

People can save a few dollars by buying illegal teeth whitening systems from foreign countries. Granted, peroxide whitening systems can cause chemical burns to the soft tissue if used improperly; but for those who don’t want to spend the extra cash ensuring the safety of their mouths, there are Chinese factories cranking out knock-off systems all damn day. Needless to say, the likelihood of a gum disfiguring chemical burn skyrockets when the product is made in a foreign factory with no quality control, and the instructions are in Chinese. But a bargain is a bargain, right?

I Want It… Who Do I Gotta Talk To?

This one’s not hard. Amazon and Ebay are loaded with illegal teeth whitening systems. You might say that Amazon has more sketchy whitening systems than Apartheid. But if you were to say that, we’d probably leave the room in disgust.

2. Japan Airlines Stewardess Uniforms


What Is It?

The outfits donned by perky flight attendants for the financially-struggling Japan Airlines.

Why Is There A Black Market?

Japanese men, the Godzillas of sexual fetishes, have been known to sexually obsess over the clothes worn by attentive air hostesses. Due to cutbacks and layoffs, many former employees have been illegally selling their uniforms to interested collectors.

It says a lot about the influence media has on our libidos when a brand can turn us on. After all, obtaining a sexy stewardess uniform is not hard or expensive, which means there’s something special about the Japan Airlines logo itself. But what is it about having a subservient woman to wait on your every need that makes Japanese men so horny? It will forever remain a mystery.

I Want It… Who Do I Gotta Talk To?

You pretty much need to contact a pissed-off Japan Airlines employee who is looking to make some fast cash. Due to airport security regulations, Japan Airlines is quite strict about not releasing their official uniforms to the public.

3. Raw Almonds


What Is It?

Simply put, almonds that have never been treated or pasteurized. Sounds delicious!

Why Is There A Black Market For It?

Besides a loophole allowing it to be sold at farmer’s markets, selling raw almonds is illegal in the United States. Packaged almonds labeled as “raw” must be pasteurized.

This is because raw almonds contain the main ingredient used to make cyanide, a deadly gas with a vast history of wartime use. But health nuts often love to buy raw almonds due to their perceived health benefits. It’s weird how eliminating the almond’s ability to make poison supposedly makes it less healthy.

I Want It… Who Do I Gotta Talk To?

As mentioned before, farmer’s markets are legally allowed to sell untreated almonds. However, if you really need to buy in bulk, there are many farmers who will arrange a private deal. You can usually find them not-so-subtly mentioning this in forum threads on agricultural message boards. So, you know, keep your eyes peeled next time you visit one. But much like those “escorts” that used to inundate Craigslist, we would guess that about half of these “farmers” are undercover law enforcement agents. The comments section of raw almonds articles seems to be a good place to look, too.

4. Bull Semen


What Is It?

Bull semen. We’re sorry this is not a euphemism.

Why Is There A Black Market For It?

Obviously, there’s a lot to be gained by impregnating cows to make more livestock. But getting a bull to stay kept and ejaculate all day is tough, you have to find just the right gimp bull. Some people have taken it upon themselves to start stealing samples of bull squeezin’s to sell on a reportedly hot black market. In a double-dip recession, breeding high-end cows at black market prices is alluring to many struggling farmers. Bypassing the step in the bull semen collection process that involves jerking off a gigantic animal with hooves is probably a big selling point also.

I Want It… Who Do I Gotta Talk To?

We don’t have an inside track to agricultural stolen goods fencing rings. Canadian farmers seem to have no qualms with carrying bull semen in a thermos though, so maybe start by asking some of them.

5. Holy Water

holy water

What Is It?

Water which has been consecrated by a religious official. You know, like from church or Castlevania.

Why Is There A Black Market For It?

Holy water several uses, which multiply a hundred-fold if one is not aware of science. It turns out, there’s quite a few people that believe strongly in the power of holy water, but do not have the resources to obtain it.

In London, holy water sacred to Muslims is nicknamed Zam Zam. Getting water shipped all the way from Mecca is laborious and expensive and potentially laden with explosives that will ruin your day. This has led to a gang-fueled black market for both genuine and fake Zam Zam. Often, criminals will just mix tap water and salt, then sell it as Meccan holy water. Selling fake holy water to poor people has to be one of the lowest things a person can do, unless you’re a vampire and then it’s just evening the playing field.

I Want It… Who Do I Gotta Talk To?

In London, shops which cater to Muslims will often stock Zam Zam or an imitation. But, since it’s just tap water and salt you should probably make it yourself, you lazy bastard.

6. Video Game Scores

video game

What Is It?

With MMORPG’s becoming millions of people’s only pastime, virtual money can get quite valuable. Gangs have been stealing people’s account passwords at gunpoint to sell stolen digital funds for real-world money.

Why Is There A Black Market For It

One has to wonder why these gangs aren’t simply robbing rich drunk businessmen for real money and skipping the middleman. We can only imagine that it’s because gamers are somewhat easier to intimidate and less able to escape due to crippling obesity and poor cardiovascular health. It’s disheartening to realize that a nerdy computer-playing teen can now make an online gaming purchase from an organized crime affiliate.

We’re hard pressed to think up a real-world equivalent of this. It’s kind of like if Michael Phelps was mugged for all of his gold medals, and forced to change the name on all his trophies to “Vinnie Q. Thuggman” or whatever. Assuming he hasn’t already pawned all those medals for weed money, of course.

I Want It… Who Do I Gotta Talk To?

Websites are the preferred location for video game account black markets. It probably helps if you can read Portugese or Korean.

7. Sugar


What Is It?

Cocaine for children.

Why Is There A Black Market For It?

Sugar has a long history of illegal trade. War rationing often results in illegal sugar running. In the 1980s, the discrepancy in sugar pricing in the U.S. led to widespread smuggling. This was eventually curbed by a huge government sting . That’s right, at the same time federal agents were missing Cuban cocaine shipments by the boatload, they were hard at work stopping a completely harmless white powder from hitting the streets illegally.

Right now, a huge black market for sugar has emerged in Malaysia. The nation has been stiffened by regulations which permit only four companies to sell sugar. A large jump in pricing has left many unable to buy legally regulated sugar.

Problems arise due to the fact that raw sugar is a breeding ground for germs, impurities and other nasty things. This means there’s a high likelihood that illegally bought sugar can make a person sick, or worse. It’s sad that some impoverished people have to resort to buying commodities from an illegal and possibly dangerous source. However, it highlights how ridiculous it is that some people in first-world nations are choosing to buy knock-off commodities simply because of price or time restrictions.

I Want It… Who Do I Gotta Talk To?

In the U.S., turbinado is legal to obtain and can usually be found at health food stores. If you want to buy it on the black market, go to Malaysia and hit up a grocery store in between trips to the red light district.

In first-world countries, product safety regulations exist for a reason (hint: the key word is “safety”). You can’t really trust that your illegal sugar is clean, or that your illegal Japan Airlines outfit is not crawling with disease (or is crawling with disease, if that’s what you requested when you ordered it.) It’s bizarre what people will risk to save a small amount of time or money. Thanks to the Internet and lax foreign quality assurance policies, any purchase can come with the added excitement of life-threatening risk.

Evan Hoovler writes for many popular comedy websites. He co-authored the National Lampoon book, “Pimp It Yourself”, and he wants to be your Facebook friend.