This is life now. Cope with us.

This 53-year-old influencer was scammed when he first moved to New York – now he is adulting like a champ and pays only $1 American dollar for a 3,000 square ft apartment.

Editor’s Note: Today’s column comes from our guest writer, Laura “The Meme Queen” Mayfield. and is the latest installment in the parody series “Smart People, Stupidly High Salaries.” Check out her previous post, We Interview a Paranormal Ghost Hunter

Getting Sandwiches with a Side of Scams 

“I should have realized something was up when he showed me the garbage can and said: get in”

Ernie is a sandwich influencer who moved to New York City after he gained more than one thousand followers on Instagram. His move to the big city wasn’t all ‘guns and roses’ – he soon found himself in an illegal sublease situation, and was kicked out of the apartment only a month after moving in. It turns out his studio apartment wasn’t an actual apartment, but a garbage can in Central Park that his roommate illegally rented out to Ryan. “I didn’t know any better,” Ryan said. “My roommate Oscar told me, ‘this is how they do it in the Big Apple.’ Not only did he kick me out to appease his landlord, aka, the person who owned the apartment that owned the garbage can, but Oscar also kept my pet duckie!

Although Ernie was getting free sandwiches from Potbelly for posting about their specialty sandwiches, and their “definitely not weird smelling” restaurant”, he still needed an affordable place to live. And fast, as winter was coming. More important than warmth, the new game of thrones series was already out, so he needed a place to put his T.V. Ernie decided to take things into his own hands and create his own unconventional living situation. After reading his story, you will also be able to find affordable housing of your own, or at least find out how to get a semi-respectable sandwich sponsorship.

Getting Started

“I just realized I was sick of following the status quo”

Ernie decided he didn’t want to deal with another crazy roommate. So he decided to look for a roommate on Grindr because he wanted someone who could cook and possibly make his own sausages. After finding his roommate, B. (initials used to protect privacy), Ernie moved on to search for an apartment that had all three of his requirements – an electrical outlet, bathtub, and wifi; not an easy task when your budget is half a Subway sandwich and $1 American dollar. In Chicago, people mainly used Monopoly money and pizza crusts as currency.

 As with most things in life, Ernie and B. found their sort-of dream apartment through hard work and a lot of luck. It turns out that if you book adjoining study rooms together at the NYC central library, they don’t check to see if you knock out the adjoining walls just a little. After bribing the librarian on duty to ignore the tub carted up to the room, Ernie and B. were in business- literally. The library was perfect for B. as he reviews books for BookTok. Ernie mainly films his sandwich videos in the other room from his tub – sometimes posting to Youtube, but increasing to OnlyCondiments – a sandwich site that posts sandwiches bun-less and meat-less.

Decorating the Apartment on a Budget

The plants mask the old book smell

            The roommates both know that their secret study room studio apartment won’t last forever, but it is important to make your living quarters homey; even if you have an increasingly hard-to-bribe librarian breathing down your neck. In order to spruce up the apartment on a budget, Ernie and B. used pages from a book to hang up on the walls. Ernie also stuck some pieces of gum that he found under the study table to the wall as an additional art piece.

            For practical items like sheets, Ernie uses garbage bags and haggles for free items from the ‘For a Dollar and More!’ store by saying they are broken. It’s not fun cosplaying as a stuck-up Karen, but it does get you free broken hangers from the Dollar Store and apps at Chili’s.

Hosting Your First Adult Party

Ernie and B. decided to host a housewarming party after settling into their new place because everyone knows becoming a real adult means you start stressing out all week over hosting a party that only 10 people that you barely know will go to. Luckily, the party was on the same day as a fundraising event that the library was hosting. By putting hors d’oeuvres in their messenger bags, instantly the party had food. For drinks, Ernie took tap water from the water fountain in the library and mixed in some bubbles that he received for free from the local bodega, after complaining that the bubbles were not “long-lasting.”


Inspiring Others

Ernie hopes that his story will influence others to come to New York and start complaining about rent. He says his situation proves that anyone can find affordable housing, despite claims that rents are “out of control” and landlords are “literally renting out trash cans.” Self-admittedly, Ernie and B. are both boomers. But they said the economic situation was the same when they were young. “I had to work for a whole summer at an amusement park to pay for college,” B. said. “Despite the hardship, that summer working to pay off my $1k loan for school taught me the importance of hard work. And Obama wants to take that away from young people today?!” After B. was informed that Obama is not the president anymore, he scoffed and said, “Typical. Even the president doesn’t want to work anymore.”

Real Advice (not from Ernie and B.)

After our decidedly un-enlightening interview with Ernie and B., the interviewers came up with 3 tips of their own for young professionals looking for housing.

  1. Start a little scam

The ‘man’ is screwing you every chance they get so start a little scam of your own. We will not elaborate on this for legal reasons. Use your imagination.

2.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help

And no, we don’t mean by asking your parents for a small loan of $2 million, but look for local aid resources. One great resource we use is the Buy Nothing group. You can find it by searching Buy Nothing ‘ your city name’ on Facebook or Reddit. There can be a lot of treasures listed that other people don’t want anymore. This is a great resource to use for home decorating after Target starts declining your credit card.

3. Hustle at your full-time job

Always ask for a raise. Being annoying about it. As my rich uncle once said, “The annoying bird gets the worm. When it came to giving out raises, I always made sure to give more to the person who was bugging me about it, because I knew the persistent employee would want to have a follow-up one-on-one later.” Also, take all your breaks and vacation days. 20 minutes once a day in a year probably adds up to the length of a typical American vacation given by corporations.

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