10 Bizarre Businesses You Won’t Believe Exist
By Danielle Smith, Toptenz, 13 January 2016.
By Danielle Smith, Toptenz, 13 January 2016.
Just when you thought you’ve seen and heard it all, people around the world are starting businesses that are just plain weird, but surprisingly successful. How likely are you to doubt the success of any other crazy ideas after finding out that there are people willing to pay for a service that provides snake massages for US$70? When you answer that, take a look at this list of more odd businesses that people all around the globe are emptying their pockets for.
10. Mystery Item Shopping Online
Usually, when you go to buy something from some place, you actually know what you’re spending your money on. The Something Store is a site for the exact opposite. There is no signing up. All you have to do is visit the site, read about it (and even see some items that have been sent to people), and go to “Get Yours.”
You will be sent to a page that allows you you select how much you want to spend on your random item, along with shipping information. PayPal is the offered payment method. The minimum price is US$10 for 1 random “something,” but you can choose to spend up to US$300 for 30 “somethings.” As it says on the site itself, “Your something may be anything.”
9. Fake Relationship Service
Maybe someone’s always on your back about being single or maybe you just want to feel a little less lonely. Rest assured someone is out there for you - even if that someone is totally made up. There is a service for this called Invisible Boyfriend and an alternate service called Invisible Girlfriend that will actually let you create a non-existent relationship. The service, founded by Matthew Homann and Kyle Tabor, started as an app, then became usable as a website.
The service is offered at US$24.99. This package includes your fake boyfriend or girlfriend sending you up to 100 texts, 10 voice mails, and a handwritten note. You get to create your fictional lover’s name and choose what you want him or her to look like from a collection of pictures submitted by random, willing people. You also get to choose his or her personality, interests, and how you two met. Some people would rather participate in this instead of a normal dating site. Some people are actually going to try this for a laugh.
8. South Korean Eating Broadcasts
Mukbang, or gastronomic voyeurism, is a popular and profitable online activity in South Korea that focuses on people broadcasting themselves eating a load of food. Apparently, the average amount that the most popular Mukbang broadcasters earn from this is about US$10,000 per month. These “watch me eat” sessions started in 2009 on the Korean broadcasting service, Afreeca TV after many users broadcast themselves eating while also imitating food shows that featured celebrity chefs.
A woman named Park Seo-Yeon, also known as “The Diva,” became one of the most popular users to participate in the activity as it turned into a full-on craze. Who would’ve thought binge eating in front of thousands of strangers online would turn into an actual well-paying service?
7. Face Slapping Massage
People will pay to get slapped in the face - supposedly to improve the beauty of their skin. As weird as it sounds, it’s true. Tata, a Thai masseuse, offers this service for US$350 per session. She offers the service at US$1,000 for four sessions per month. Apparently, the “massage” will help with wrinkles and improve overall firmness of the skin, resulting in a more youthful look. According to Dr. Matthew Schulman, a plastic surgeon from New York City who spoke to the NY Daily News, these claims are correct. However, people usually don’t want to be slapped.
Most people would only pay US$350 if they were getting slapped by a famous (and awesome) celebrity (or very important person), or you know, a dominatrix. With Tata’s help, this technique has gained popularity. Her service is offered in her home, Thailand, and also in San Francisco, California, where she even let a reporter test the treatment in her shop.
6. Japanese Apology Service
For the people out there who just can’t muster up the words, “I’m sorry,” Japan offers a service where you can pay to have someone apologize for you. Personally apologizing may feel like a blow to the ego and may seem rather embarrassing for some people. Some people may just feel they wouldn’t apologize correctly, so they’d consider hiring someone else to give a “professional” apology in person, through phone, or email. Could you imagine someone doing this for the sole purpose of getting on someone’s nerves, though?
Anyway, there are actual Japanese agencies that provide this apology service. These people are professionally trained to give convincingly sincere (insincere) apologies. When you really think about it, it should actually be more embarrassing to pay for someone to apologize for you than to actually be a normal human being and do it yourself.
5. Cremation Portrait Service
There is a service where you can pay to get ashes turned into art. Many people feel that this is a beautiful way to remember their loved ones. Other people think it’s weird and creepy. There are different companies around offering this service. One of which is Cremation Solutions in Arlington, Vermont.
You would need to provide a photo and the ashes for the artist to work with. Starting at US$127, you can purchase this service and have the piece shipped to you. If you want to take it to the next level, you can have the ashes made into 3D printed urns resembling the deceased person using a facial recognition software. Jeff Staab created this business to help people mourn with art, so if you’re not creeped out, go for it.
4. Selling Used Panties
An actual business has been made out of selling used panties to people online. The creepy services continue. Yes, you can market your very own worn or dirty underwear to some pervert out there in need of that kind of kink. People just don’t stop running out of weird ideas, do they? And we’ve got page after page on eBay to prove it.
This type of service has also been offered on Craigslist. Many people out there are into things like this. Naturally, there are a lot of people who don’t see this as gross or creepy. Those people are what we like to call “horribly misguided,” by the way. Either way, people are profiting from selling their used underwear that may or may not be soiled, depending on buyers’ requests.
3. Fart Smelling in China
In China, people can get paid to be professional fart smellers. The job is called “wen pishi” in Chinese and translates to “fart sniffing master” in English. Fart sniffing masters make about 309,850 CNY, which is about US$50,000. Apparently, this job is treated as a health/doctor type profession because one could diagnose health conditions based on the various smells of the farts. Studies also say that smelling farts can be good for you because the hydrogen sulphide exposure may help prevent diseases.
Professional fart sniffers might consider their job as a “win-win” because of this. Let’s be honest, though, farts are deadly. People are probably paying or daring their friends to smell their farts to be funny and gross, but they probably aren’t even aware that this is an actual paying medical career in China. Do you think anyone would give this kind of job a try in America?
2. Sending Animal Poop to People
Fed up with your boss, an ex, awful friend, or just someone who annoys you in general? A site called Sh**Express offers a service where you can pay to have a box of animal poop sent to whomever your heart desires. According to the site, they mainly send out horse poop. When you’re tired of someone’s crap, you can have it shipped right back to them and you can even do it anonymously.
The service costs US$16.95 and offers Bitcoin and PayPal as payment options. You can also include a note with the package. The owner of the site, Peter, states in his blog that the service has earned over US$10,000. There are many people who are irritated and angry enough with someone to pay for this kind of thing. This is also probably another service that people would just use as a prank.
1. Kidnapping Service
Apparently, there are people who would love to experience being abducted. Some people call this “thrill-seeking.” Most (normal) people call it “stupidity.” Either way, a French company called Ultime Réalité (“Ultimate Reality” in English) offers a service that allows one to experience being kidnapped for fun. It costs about 900 euros (over US$1,000) and the person paying will have to sign a contract and a liability waiver. The typical package includes being seized, tied up, gagged, and incarcerated for several hours, but people can add more to their order for a greater adrenaline rush. The service is supposed to provide a psychologically shocking experience.
Ultime Réalité has been in business since January of 2010. According to Georges Cexus, Ultime Réalité owner, the business usually receives at least two orders a day. Some people may pay for this service for an adrenaline rush, to face a fear, to bring a nightmare to life, or when horror movies and news headlines just aren’t enough. We live in a world where people would pay for pretty much anything.
Top image: Face slapping massage. Credit: Associated Press via YouTube.
[Source: Toptenz. Edited. Top image added.]