It happens every Christmas: I look at my bank account. I cry. I decide that, instead of buying real presents, I will instead venture to Michael's Craft supplies, pick up some beads and glue sticks, and make something really special for people instead. Hence, the picture frames with glued-on fortune-cookie fortunes; the beer coozies wrapped in yarn; and the seashell-festooned cigar boxes. (Sorry, family!)
This year, however, I discovered a brilliant
concept that evil multinational corporations discovered a long time ago: outsourcing.
In other words, a very interesting website called Fiverr.com. Thanks to a whole bunch of
creative and very affordable people offering their goods or services for a mere
$5 apiece, this year I'm shopping for a dozen people and spending only $60.
Fiverr.com is a fascinating online marketplace. Some services are quite formal and businesslike -- anything driving traffic to a website, inflating "likes" on Facebook, or improving SEO seems to be a hot seller -- but there is a treasure trove of weirdness. One guy will tell you "fleamarkets in Rome where to make good business" for $5. Another will "tell you the best things to do with your girlfriend." One lady will write anything on her nails; another will impersonate Michael Jackson and prank call your friends. It goes on. And on.
I sifted through some of the food-related ones so you don't have to -- and even spent some cold, hard (Paypal) cash to see who could deliver on these incredibly great values. Here's what I found.
1. "I will hand-letter your message on my beer gut for $5."
I told the_beergut_man what to write, and he delivered within a week. See the result, above. You could have him write "Merry Christmas!", "Happy Hannukah", or "Marry me, Jon!" -- whatevs. His belly is your canvas. I heard this guy was featured on some late-night talk shows and I am sure he is making a killing. Note: there are plenty of girls on Fiverr offering to write stuff on other body parts.
2. "I will draw you a cartoon character."
I told this guy to come up with a dinner plate that was licked clean, in honor of our food blog, Clean Plate Charlie. He was super meticulous, gave it a few rounds of back-and-forth, and panicked about getting it to me on time. You could have him draw one of your friends into a character or something holiday-related. Result: Not bad!
cigarette-smoking, sunglass-wearing cactus charmed me with his
laid-back cool. He looked like the Lou Reed of cactuses (cactii?).
Thought he would make a cool Christmas card, so I hired him. The
photographer isn't a pro -- didn't capture the best light -- but she
did print out a sign and trek all the way out to a beach (I think it's in New Zealand) by special
request. I only wish I'd had the cactus wear a Santa hat.
4. "I will sing anything you want and dance in banana costume."
This wimp chickened out and said he couldn't do it, so I cancelled the order. Don't hire him. Instead, hire the chick who got the job done:
5. "I will dance to two minutes of any song of your choice in a hot dog costume"
I figured a food-related song would go nicely, so I chose "The Cuppycake Song." Not sure the raver dance moves go with, but hey -- she came through.
6. I will create a food magic money drawing spell"
I was excited that this voodoo would bring me a windfall so that I could actually buy some ding-dangled presents this year, but this chick also flaked and I cancelled the
order. (Sorry, family! Guess you are all getting handles that turn your beer can into a mug!)
7. I will tell you where to eat free on your birthday.
I haven't checked the reliability of this document, but it was emailed to me in less than an hour. Ahh... something useful. Better than underwear! Free Birthday Stuff