Craigslist: Like Food? Wanna be paid to eat on camera?
Mary Beth arrived at Denny’s for her 9:00 a.m. appointment. She ordered some coffee and checked her phone nervously. The coffee arrived but the man who was supposed to meet her did not. She was just about to leave when she got a text message saying that he would be there in five minutes. Ten minutes later a harried looking man entered the restaurant. She waived at him.
He smiled and took a seat across from her.
“Hi, I’m James.”
“I’m Mary Beth.”
The waiter approached and he ordered a coffee. Mary Beth took a good look at him. He was about forty; short with curly hair and a pot belly. He wore a Nirvana tee shirt and jeans.
“So you answered my ad. Did you have any questions about what the job would entail,” he asked.
“Um” Mary Beth began. She looked around for fear that someone might hear her. “You would film me…like…eating dinner.”
“Well, really you would mostly be filming yourself.”
“Right, but I mean today….”
“Today, I would audition you. I will be auditioning girls for about the next week, for all three meals. I would then pick someone. They would come over to my studio and I would teach them how to angle their web cam on their mouth just so..”
Mary Beth looked around the restaurant again. She thought the couple at the table behind them might be listening.
“After that, they would make one video a day for one month. We would put the videos up and see how they fly for one month. If the videos are successful, there would be more work.
The waiter came back and took their food orders. James ordered pancakes and eggs.
“I’ll have the same,” Mary Beth said.
“I thought you wanted the burger and fries,” he said, his eyes narrowing a bit.
“Oh, sorry…. right. I’ll have a burger and fries.”
The waiter walked away.
“Did you have any other questions?”
“It’s really $200 a video?”
The woman sitting behind James seemed to turn a bit.
“ And I mean the camera….”
“It would just be focused on your mouth.”
“It pays through Pay Pal?”
They made awkward small talk until the food came.
Mary Beth took a bite of her hamburger and began chewing it.
“”Open your mouth just a little bit,” he said. “Not that much.”
She tried to comply.
“There you go. That’s it. “
This went on for five minutes until James finally excused himself and went to the bathroom. When he came back he appeared to be sweating. He devoured his meal and paid the bill.
Mary Beth and James walked out into the street. He said he would make a decision in one week. If she did not hear from him by then, she wouldn’t.
As she walked back to her car she wondered how she did. She wondered if there was still enough time to apply at Fed Ex.