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‘Where there’s muck there’s brass’, the saying goes. But what about ‘where there’s misery there’s moolah’? Has anyone noticed that one?
Well quite a few people, actually.
We have ways to make money from misery on MoneyMagpie. But there are people who have spotted even more ways that misery can make money for them – at least other’s people’s misery.
Young American, Scott Rosenbaum from New Jersey, worked out recently that a friend in need is a great business opportunity. He set up a website called Rent a Friend (yes really) where people pay a monthly fee to get in contact with potential ‘friends’ near them. When they find someone they’d like to have as a friend, they agree to pay the ‘friend’ hourly and, if both parties are happy, they hang out.
These ‘friends’ make between £5-30 an hour, probably depending on how often they can say “no, your bum doesn’t look big in that”, “forget her, she was never good enough for you” and “yes officer, he was watching TV at my place on the night of the murder.”
Then there’s Susan Fox, a copywriter in Boston USA (clever, these Americans) who wrote herself a lonely hearts ad ten years ago which resulted in 31 dates and a husband. She now charges $400-450 a go to write astounding lonely hearts ads for others. Clients are mostly women, with ads along the lines of “Cameron Diaz-type. Sensual, slender, smart, tall, strikingly pretty,” or “The sophistication and high cheekbones of Cate Blanchett with the personality of the young Katherine Hepburn.” Which may sound a little unrealistic but it’s better than “high-mileage nightmare, Botoxed to the skies who’s been through three husbands and has a prescription drug habit that makes Anna Nicole Smith look like a Quaker.”
As we all know, sometimes people just need a hug. What we don’t all know is that you can make a good living from this. Kitty Mansfield, from Ramsgate, Kent does (at last, a Brit!). She regularly opens her arms to people who ‘crave intimacy’ (mostly men) and want to cuddle up on the sofa, or even in her bed, (non-sexually).
She dresses in her PJs and slippers and lets clients bring their favourite pillow, ‘blanky’ or teddy. For this she charges £25 for half an hour, £45 for an hour and £65 for an hour and a half. Not bad for drinking cocoa and watching ‘Fast and Furious 18’. Obviously, the pandemic put paid to the business for a while… but soon there’ll be a huge industry for catching up on all those missed hugs in lockdown!
Even dying can be a business opportunity…for other people anyway.
Professional mourners, or moirologists to give them their official title, attend strangers’ funerals to make them look popular. It’s a practice well over 2,000 years old, mostly in Asia and the Middle East. But now they’re even making a few quid per wake in parts of the UK.
For example, Rent a Mourner, based in Essex – home of the TOWIE entrepreneurs – have a staff of 22 who all attend the funerals of strangers. In fact there seem to have been so many Billy-No-Mates’s popping their clogs recently that the number of bookings for professional mourners has been steadily going up. This is good news for new mourners as they could make £50-90 a day doing this.
All of which begs the question, if you can earn money being kind and caring (or at least giving a pretty good show of it), can the milk of human kindness actually save you money?
It looks like anything that keep your friends and family close and supportive has to be a sound financial decision. At least you won’t have to pay for a friend or the occasional cuddle.
I’m reminded of a friend of mine who was at the swimming baths with his young son recently watching other Dads interacting – or not – with their kids. He noticed how so many of the men ignored or brushed-off the adoration of their offspring as they splashed around calling out to them, trying to get their attention.
“What a collateral of love they’re wasting,” he sighed.