Grown-Ups Recall The 'Black Markets' Kids Ran At School

Whether you went to public or private school, odds are you were aware of the kid who knew how to "acquire things" from time to time - and sell them to classmates. Whether it was candy or something slightly more nefarious, like test answers or illegal substances, a creepy classmate or budding entrepreneur probably had a little side business.

The school "black markets" recalled by adults on Reddit are nothing like the ominous dark market for human body parts, but some kids engaged in questionable ventures that could have led to a fate worse than detention.


  • A Photo Booth Before The Days Of Digital Photography

    From Redditor /u/f15hyf4c3:

    Photos of groups of friends. I'd take pics at lunch (and sell yesterday's photos for $5 to $8) of all the little crews and cliques, develop the film in the darkroom during a free period in the afternoon, print the negatives during... photo class... sell the black-and-white 5x7s or 8x10s during lunch, then take more images. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    I made hundreds of dollars, if not more (I was a spendthrift). Some adults thought it was drug-related, but no one who actually knew me. My school had 2,000 to 3,000 students; some kids bought multiple pics. I took pics of couples, but the best were groups of 10 to 15 people... [I] could make $100 on one image.

  • Candy and Cookies and Jewelry, Oh My!

    From Redditor /u/4nl4:

    One kid in middle school sold Dum Dum lollipops. He carried them around in a shopping bag, and I believe he charged a quarter.

    In high school, I had a friend who would sell cookies - one for 1$. Eventually, staff got wind and told her to stop. So people would give her money for no reason. And the next day she would give them cookies for unrelated reasons.

    Edit: Almost forgot elementary school. Kids would sell their parents jewelry for ice cream money. One kid sold his grandmother's engagement ring for 50 cents.

  • The Ever-Changing Teachers' Lounge Wi-Fi Password

    From Redditor /u/wujtzr:

    [Kids sold] the Wi-Fi password to the teachers' Wi-Fi network so we could use sites blocked on the student and guest networks.

    [The] school kept changing it, but kids always figured it out.

  • Salt And Pepper For Incredibly Bland Food

    From Redditor /u/jamer0658:

    Teacher here. A kid at my previous school sold those little salt-and-pepper packets to kids at lunch every day: 50 cents for both. The cafeteria (due to state and federal regulations) didn’t season anything, so the food was blander than bland.

    He made a few hundred dollars over the course of the month he did this before [administrators] shut him down.

  • Zip Ties Used For Vengeance

    From Redditor /u/papoosejr:

    Zip ties.

    When you go to a ski resort and buy a lift ticket, before the RFID ones a lot of places have now, they'd have a little thing full of zip ties so you could take one and attach it to your jacket.

    When I was in middle school, over the course of a week I took a couple of thousand of those from a resort I went to with my family for vacation. When I got back to school, I brought with me a backpack full of zip ties, neatly zip-tied into bundles of 20. I sold those bundles of twenty for $1 to $5 each, depending on who was asking.

    Why would people want to buy zip ties? Well, at first, they wanted to get revenge on me, for zip-tying all their sh*t closed/together/to other things. Eventually, though, once they got revenge on me and still had zip ties left over, they'd do it to other people. Who would want revenge on them. And so on, and so forth.

    I had a lot of repeat customers in that battle.

  • A Ring Of Gummy Bear Sales

    From Redditor /u/PsychedelicAid:

    Kool-Aid gummy bears. In middle school a group of guys I know began to sell these for a dollar a bag because the school snacks were trash. They ended up creating an empire and would literally sell a hundred of these daily. The school eventually cracked down on their business because the kids were making a mess in the bathrooms. The dealers stopped selling before they got into trouble, and this upset the Kool-Aid addicts. This then prompted many other students to come up with their own recipe and try to become the new hotshots.

    I kid you not when I tell you how quick everyone was to try to dispose of their competition. The school was giving out detentions to everyone selling the product and those buying it. After the school stated they would suspend anyone seen with the Kool-Aid gummy bears, it died.

    I feel like my school was the birthplace of many future drug dealers and addicts.