The Hair Classifieds: How I Put My Hair Up for Sale

t was late May, nearly three weeks after I received a layoff notice from my newspaper reporting job that I held for five years. I had already hawked everything worth anything on eBay and Craigslist. Financial anxiety seized its grip on me after I moved to New York from Los Angeles to pursue greener journalism pastures. That’s how I ended up at 1 a.m. on a hair classified website, where hairwork artists bid on strands to be incorporated into their art—or so they claim.

Shutdown Continues to Take Its Toll on the Poor; Meanwhile, Others Are Placing Bets

Meanwhile, the shutdown continues to affect families and the poor, who rely on services like Head Start, which "offers educational programs and health care nationally for 967,000 U.S. children from birth to age 5 whose parents live at the poverty line," according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Dog Wants iPad?

I don't really have anything else to add to this, but just wanted to share the news that there are people who are willing to pay for iPad lessons for their dogs. [via]

Repo Companies Collecting Data on Where Everyone Is Based on Their License Plates

Here's one way a repo company makes some money: They drive around in an unmarked car looking for parking for parking lots to go into so they can scan license plates using a license plates scanner mounted on their car. The repo companies are looking for owners of vehicles who have defaulted on their loans, and every time a scan finds a vehicle that's stolen or in default, the company can make between $200 to $400.

Rent A Middle-Aged Man

In Japan, you can rent a middle-aged man (an “ossan”) to hang out with you or do your errands for about $10 an hour:

And not just regular old dudes, but 65 year-old former Japanese pro ballplayer Mikio Sendou (who was an All-Star in 1978!) and 46 year-old “fashion producer” Takanobu Nishimoto. Currently, there are only two ossan for rent.

The price sounds oddly low given the fact that it’s essentially a personal assistant-type job, and assistants are usually paid a salary. Also, I’m picturing a 65-year-old former baseball player doing my grocery shopping and it’s a pretty sad vision.

Photo: Ari Helminen

A $20,000 “Power Loader” for Children

A Japanese company has created a power loader-like robot for children that retails for about $20,000.

What Happens to Our Clothes After They Are Donated

Jeff Steinberg had a maroon and white lacrosse jersey that he wore for years. It said “Denver Lacrosse” on the front and had his number, 5, on the back.

Then, one day, he cleaned out his closet and took the shirt to a Goodwill store in Miami. He figured that was the end of it. But some months after that, Steinberg found himself in Sierra Leone for work. He was walking down the street, and he saw a guy selling ice cream and cold drinks, wearing a Denver Lacrosse jersey.

“I thought, ‘Wow, this is pretty crazy,’ ” Steinberg says. Then he looked at the back of the shirt — and saw the number 5. His number. Steinberg tried to talk to the guy about the shirt, but he didn’t speak much English and they couldn’t really communicate.

Planet Money is done making their T-shirt (mine is in the mail somewhere!), and is continuing its reporting about the lifecycle of the clothes we wear, including what happens to them when they get donated. Charities like Goodwill receive a lot of clothes, and some of it gets sold and shipped off to used clothing markets in sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the XL shirts are cutup and sewn into smaller items and then resold:

One recent day he bought an extra-large Motorhead shirt and, in a few minutes, turned it into a slim, custom shirt with a blue collar and canary-yellow sleeves. The Motorhead shirt was imported to Kenya for 15 cents. It was resold and sold again for 45 cents. Then someone got 12 cents to cut it up, 18 cents to tailor it and 14 cents to wash and iron the shirt. Then a vendor bought it for $1.20, with plans to sell it for $2 to $3.


Also amazing: Planet Money saw this shirt with a specific Bat Mitzvah date on it in Africa and asked their readers to track down the former owner, which they were able to do!

Photo: youngthousands

The Black Market for Your Identity

How much is your social media identity worth on the black market, and what are people willing to pay for it? That varies depending on what kind of following you have, but a package with your name, social security number, credit card number, and mother's maiden name will go for about $5.