Making Money, Personal Finance

Wait in Line: Strange Ways to Make Money

If you’re a patient person with a lot of time on your hands, you can make some extra money by waiting in line. Whenever a high demand product is released, people wait in line for hours, sometimes days, to be the first to get their hands on it. There are also long lines for concert tickets, movie premieres, and Black Friday sales. But many people don’t have the time to wait in line for hours. They have jobs, kids, and other obligations. That’s where the professional line-waiter comes in. You do the waiting and the buying so others don’t have to. There are two ways you can profit from waiting in line.

Wait on behalf of others

You have made an agreement with another person (or more than one if you’ll be able to buy more than one of the in demand items) that you will wait in line for them, buy their item, and then give it to them. The other person will reimburse you for the cost of the item and pay you for the time you wait in line. You can charge a set fee for your line time, charge by the hour, of charge a percentage of the items’ cost.

Wait, buy the product yourself, and then resell it

If you don’t particularly care about the item being released, you can wait in line anyway, buy as many as you’re allowed to buy, and then resell them on eBay, Craigslist, or to people you know. You’ll add a markup to the price you originally paid that will allow you to make a profit. To figure the amount you should charge, look at what other people are asking for their items. The more in-demand an item is, the more profit you can make. This strategy can also work well for Black Friday sales. Items are often heavily discounted meaning you can sell them for a price that is still below retail (thus attractive to buyers) but which will allow you to make a good profit.

If you decide to take up line waiting, be prepared. Know what the weather will be and plan accordingly. Bring something to sit on. If you’ll be staying overnight, bring something to sleep in or on such as a sleeping bag or lawn chair. Some places allow you to set up a small tent which is wonderful if it’s cold. Carry your own food and drinks because you won’t be able to leave the line for food. Finally, bring something to entertain yourself with such as books, handheld games, or a laptop. I’ve seen people go all out and bring generators, grills, and televisions to camp in line. It all depends on what’s allowed and how much stuff you’re willing to carry.

Don’t forget to consider your security and safety, as well. It’s best not to wait alone, particularly for women. Bring a friend along if you can. (This extra person can also take your place while you go for a bathroom break or to take care of anything else that may arise.) Many places will provide security if they are expecting a big turnout, but you still need to be vigilant and keep your personal belongings in sight at all times. Don’t bring anything valuable to the line or display large amounts of cash. When the release hour approaches, be careful not to get caught in the crush of people. Hopefully the retailer will have an organized and orderly distribution system but if not, stay clear of the stampede. People do get trampled to death.

If you don’t want to leave your house, you can try virtual line waiting. You simply sit and hit refresh on your computer until the online deal is released and then you check out as fast as possible. You need a fast Internet connection to do this, but you are safe and comfortable in your home.

Line waiting can make you some extra money if you have the time for it. You can also meet some interesting and colorful people. It has it’s drawbacks, though. Bad weather, security problems, and rude people can make line waiting a tough business. Generally, though, it’s low stress and can even be fun if you think of it like a campout.

3 thoughts on “Wait in Line: Strange Ways to Make Money

  1. This is fine and well, but there are drawbacks. The PS3 launch was one such debacle for me. Waited all night for the release, then the resale value wasn’t there on eBay. Thankfully I purchased at WM and could have returned it if need be.

    I did sell it on eBay and broke even, but then PayPal froze my account. Couldn’t even pay for shipping with the frozen funds. Supposedly the freeze was due to the ‘high-value’ transaction, even though I had been selling phones for hundreds of dollars previous to this transaction.

    I’m rambling – Reader’s Digest version: Know what your caveats are before attempting this method.

  2. You may have to sit on an “On Sale” item for a few months if you purchase it and try to resell it. The reason being there are a bunch of people who do this and it floods EBay with that item for a while.

    I have found your best bet is craigslist or another local shopping board, because the people on Craigslist tend to be less web savvy than those on EBay.

  3. Wow! where have I been lately. I never thought of this as a way to make a little bit of income. As far as patience, it’s called a Kindle or playing online with my Droid.

    I do, however, understand the little nuances that go along with that regarding resale on the web. But waiting in line for a person or persons, it would be well worth it. I would charge 20% over the sale price. But even this isn’t guaranteed.

    It reminds me of extreme couponing. There’s a rush to buy everything off the shelf, leaving others with nothing to buy. Lots to think of here….but definitely not something to get overly excited about without fore-thought.

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