Friday, February 17, 2012

The Craigslist "Community"

When you have as much free time as I do (I have been unemployed since Thanksgiving, waiting for my graduate school program to start), you have to find new and exciting ways in which to waste your time. Netflix, reading, and random Internet sites filled with hilarity will only get you so far.

Eventually, I turned to craigslist, to help ease the boredom. No, not like that, you perverts. I’m not talking about the personal ads on craigslist; the ‘strictly platonic’ ads looking for massage partners (are people unclear of what ‘platonic’ means? If they just wanted an actual massage, why not go to a massage therapist?), or the ads for lonely married men looking for ‘discreet women’. I’ve already talked about the importance of spell check when it comes to online personal ads, so we’re just going skip over that glaring spelling mistake.

Anyway, I am talking about the ‘Community’ section of craigslist, where you can find baby-sitting gigs and other random, short term jobs along with an assortment of pets. You can also find hilarity among the intermittent posts for lost cats and bands looking for new members, you occasionally come upon a gem that brings Internet hilarity to a whole new level.

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I’ll try to refrain from any vampiric related activities this weekend, sir.

So there I am, perusing the ‘Community’ section one day, when I see something that catches my eye. It’s a link for a taste testing company. Having participated in taste testing research in the past, I was intrigued. I signed up and was almost immediately invited to participate in a survey later in the week.

For those of you unfamiliar with taste testing, it can be a pretty sweet gig. It’s like medical testing, without the potential side effects of investigational drugs, like anal leakage and brain hemorrhaging. Taste testing doesn’t pay quite as well since the risks associated with it are somewhat minimal, comparatively. Different jobs pay different amounts, depending on the intensity of the survey and the time it takes to complete it.

In the past, I did several taste tests with the Food Science Department at Oregon State University. They do a lot of marketing and testing of new products through the department and often invite students to partake in the focus groups and taste tests they do.

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On nom nom.

One test, in particular, I quite enjoyed. It was a new soda that they were looking at releasing. They gave me a 12 pack of soda, asked me to drink one a day and take a survey each day after drinking the soda. They asked me about how the soda tasted and how I felt while drinking it. It took just a couple minutes a day to do the survey, I got free soda and $75 at the end of it.

Granted, if you are taking time out of a real job to do any of this, the pay is probably not comparable. For those of us with lots of free time, our time is worth very little, so having something to do and getting paid, even if it’s just a small amount, is pretty sweet. Also, it does not involve selling sexual favors on the street corner, which is the only other way I know to make a quick $20.

Enough about blow jobs, back to my story.

My taste test today involved eating two different pieces of deli meat. At least, I think they were different. This could have all been a joke. Maybe they gave us the same meat, just to fuck with us. I mean, that’s what I would do, if I was in charge. Regardless, I ate two pieces of lunch meat, talked about which one I liked better and why and they gave me $20.

When you’re a poor college student like me, $20 can buy you a lot of important things, like beer and food. But mostly beer.

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This looks a little too familiar...

And beer helps make working the street corner a little more tolerable...