We Read It So You Don't Have To: Jane's Guide to Quick Cash and Petty Lawbreaking
In the February issue, Jane goes with a service-oriented piece (sort of). In “Make $1,000 in Five Days,” we follow the adventures of writer Annemarie Conte, who needs to garner a grand, stat.
When we read the story’s title indicating her urgent need for cash, our heart flooded with sympathy. Poor thing, we thought. She’s so desperate for money, she must be facing a terrible quandary…like a plumbing catastrophe, or an emergency vet bill, or a last-minute plane ticket to visit a sick family member.
Well, no. See, Annemarie needs the cash to buy a 22-year-old diesel Mercedes. Which she’ll mine for spare parts for the 22-year-old diesel Mercedes she already owns. Did we mention she’s buying the car off Craigslist?
But who are we to judge how she spends her cash? We’ve certainly dropped some dollars on foolish things like, say, this issue of Jane.
Here’s how Annemarie’s quest shook out.
1. Pet-sitting nets $40 for three hours.
2. Testing a new foundation brings in a robust $120.
3. An office bake sale garners $60. Of course, this method only works for people with the ability to walk around their office building selling homemade baked goods instead of, you know, actually working.
4. $15 for an hour of babysitting. Turns out caring for another human being pays only marginally better than caring for a dog.
5. $50 apiece for transcribing an interview and $50 to pick her parents up from the airport in her 22-year-old car. Yawn. Is this Seventeen? Is she going to mow her neighbor’s lawn and wash her big brother’s car next?
6. Annemarie decides to deliver furniture from Ikea to the city in a friend’s borrowed car and makes $315. Afterwards, she opts out of refilling her pal’s gas tank. She may be flush with cash, but she’s awfully inconsiderate.
7. $60 for selling two homemade lasagnas.
8. A $10 cut of the proceeds for letting friends bet on how quickly she’ll manage to get drunk at an event. Classy! (Oh, and she managed to guzzle eight beers before failing her pals’ hand-eye coordination test. We’re sort of in awe.)
9. $100 for selling friends’ stuff on eBay. So now she’s feeding them, caring for their offspring, entertaining them by letting them bet on her liver, and selling their stuff? What do her friends do all day?
10. Undisclosed amount for selling alcohol at work. Because, of course, it’s legal to sell booze and socially acceptable to partake in the workplace. On the other hand, if drinking is a regular thing at Jane HQ, it explains an awful lot about the magazine.
11. $120 selling homemade t-shirts at a Giants game, once again skirting the law by neglecting to secure a permit.
At the beginning of her money-making marathon, Annemarie writes
I will not whore myself. I will not whore myself.
which implies there were some laws she wasn’t willing to break in the interest of a good story. Still, wouldn’t “magazine writer turns tricks for a grand” (or sells drugs for a grand, or auctions spare kidney for a grand) have made a far more compelling story? We think so. In fact, if she’d been selling plasma to earn cash for the car, we might have even chipped in.