Rebecca Armstrong: Got any spare change? Paypal or credit card will do


Click to follow
The Independent Online

If you were looking for some ready money, what would you do? Root among sofa cushions? Head to Cash Converters for a spot of soft-core pawn? Sign away a slice of your soul to If you're feeling shameless, you could always convince strangers to come up with the readies for you with a bit of virtual pan-handling.

I've read a few stories of late about folk setting up begging websites. The author of the book that became the chick flick What's Your Number?, Karyn Bosnak, had a previous hit with her account of clearing her $20,000 (£12,600) shopping debt with this method (find out more about her chutzpah in Save Karyn: One Shopaholic's Journey to Debt and Back).

Then there was the unemployed young lady in New Zealand who took to the interwebs to offer a chunk of her trunk (a 9cm x 9cm patch of her behind, to be precise) to be tattooed with the logo of the donator's choice. Bids got to $10,000 before the auction closed but sadly, I can't find any word of what she got on her butt.

If you fancy reading some really upsetting requests for money, then visit You might want to have your credit card ready to use (although I do rather take issue with the ill-placed jauntiness of the "Start begging now!" button next to heart-breaking requests for funding cancer treatment and fending off foreclosure).

Another kind of online bunce blagging is the rather more rarefied crowd funding, where people who have a creative project to pay for ask like-minded individuals to donate specific amounts to make things happen. I did my first bit of crowd funding this week and it was strangely thrilling. I slung £10 that would have otherwise disappeared on spritzers and bar snacks to a would-be author on

There is a target total and also a deadline to be met, and if they aren't, I get my money back. If they are, I get a guarantee that my wedge is going somewhere useful and free rein to feel slightly smug. I reckon that's a bit of a bargain.

Recently I wrote about Words of Power that can be used to make companies do your bidding and asked whether anyone had any to share. John Finnerty informs me that "service failure" is one to try on anything subject to the attention of an ombudsman. Tyler Bennetts says that two little letters – "MP" – can work wonders on agencies such as the DSS. My colleague Harriet, meanwhile, gives an insight into her mother's approach. "Her WoPs are technical archaisms to baffle the enemy into thinking she's an expert". Keep them coming this way, please.