People love to think that they have a long-lost Picasso hidden somewhere in their attic. While something like this happens, but very rarely, most people have nothing but dust bunnies in their attic. However, some people have found riches in other places like their junk drawers, bathrooms, dinner plates, even on their birth certificates. This may sound crazy, but it’s true. Here are the top 10 ordinary items that made people rich.
Jason Sadler’s mother had been married three times. Each time she got married, she changed Jason’s last name so it would match hers. When she tearfully told her son that she was filing for divorce from his stepfather, he decided that he didn’t want to be stuck with the last name of his third stepfather. He decided to try to make some money off the problem. He set up a website called buymylastname.com. And he offered to change his last name to be an advertising billboard for any company that was willing to pay.
For example, if Nike wanted to buy his name, he would be Jason Justdoit. After just 24 hours of starting the auction, bids began pouring in. Within a few days, the auction had reached $30,000. After 45 days, Jason earned $45,000, and his new name was Jason heradsetdotcom. Jason walked around with this last name for a while and didn’t want to be Jason Sadler again. Instead of changing his name back, he decided to auction off his name again. This time, he earned $50,000, and his name is currently Jason Sufrapp. He managed to make $95,000 by merely changing his name.
A Cup Of Coffee
Stella Liebeck and her nephew went to McDonald’s to get a cup of coffee at the drive-thru. When her nephew pulled away, Stella’s coffee spilled in her lap and burned her. She had a 3rd-degree burn that required skin grafts to treat. She decided to sue McDonald’s, and she was awarded $3 million. Later, a judge decided this was too much money, and reduced the award to $500,000, which isn’t bad. Stella isn’t the only person who sued McDonald’s for an overheated cup of coffee. Over the years, there have been plenty of lawsuits against McDonald’s for the exact same thing. Stella says that she filed the lawsuit for justice rather than frivolity, but having that money in the bank was great.
Richard James was working in a factory during World War II when he accidentally knocked a spring off a shelf. When the spring seemed to climb down the shelving rather than falling, it gave him a great idea. The thought that this would be something that kids would love. It took him two years to perfect the toy so that it would stretch, retract, and climb downstairs. His wife, Betty James, had the task of naming the invention.
She opened the dictionary and called it a slinky. The couple took out a $500 loan to get the business off the ground. In the early days, the couple struggled to sell the Slinky because toy stores refused to stock them. They said that the toy was too ordinary. Finally, the toy took off and earned the James’ millions of dollars. They had more money than they could ever spend, so they donated a large portion of it to a religious group in South America.
James donated too much of the money and left his family in debt. Fortunately, Betty was there to take over, and she turned things around. Over the years, she sold enough Slinkys to wrap around the Earth 150 times. One thing that has remained the same since 1945 is the price. Betty never wanted to increase the rate with inflation. Instead, in 1990, she started selling them for cheaper than she did in 1945.
In the 17th century, it would be unheard of for a Dutchman to give a woman a bouquet of tulips. This is because tulips were worth a lot of money back then. In the 1600s, tulips had just arrived in the Netherlands from Turkey. A virus had afflicted the crop, leaving the tulips each with their own, unique pattern. Soon, these diseased tulips were worth more than a healthy tulip. Scholars were spending a fortune on the diseased tulips, and when people found out that scholars and people in academia were paying just about anything for a rare tulip, their worth increased even more. People were trading mansions for one unique tulip. A year later, when the prices collapsed, many people lost their fortunes. For a while, though, you could make a fortune on a diseased tulip.
Gary Dahl was at a bar drinking with a friend in the 70s when he came up with what he believed to be a great idea. He was talking with his friend about pets, and what a hassle they can be. This was when he came up with the idea of a pet rock. They were already housebroken, they didn’t shed, and they were docile, which made them a better pet than a cat, dog, or goldfish.
The pet rocks came in boxes, complete with air holes. They also came with a manual to teach you to care for your pet. It also had tips to teach your pet rock to play dead. He was selling the pet rocks for $4 each, and they were flying off the shelves. His company brought in over $1 million by merely selling rocks. Most people bought them as gag gifts, and they were one of the most popular items in the 70s.
Most people believe that garbage is worthless, which is the reason that it is garbage. Justin Gignac, a man from New York City, thought that if something was packaged right, it could be sold no matter what it was. He decided to test his theory, so he went down the streets of New York and took garbage from the street. He arranged it in glass, smell-proof boxes and sold them as souvenirs for $10 each. When people were buying the trash, he raised the price to $50 each, and people were calling them artwork. Today, his garbage cubes are selling for $100 each. If you want to get a garbage cube of your own, you will have to wait. According to the website, the products are currently sold out while Justin heads out to collect more trash. Justin’s theory was right. If packaged right, people will buy just about anything.
People are more than willing to pay for basic necessities such as food, water, clothing, and shelter. People say that nothing in life is free, but they forgot about the air. We breathe in about 23,000 times a day, and we do it for free. Two Canadians started bottling air from the Rocky Mountains and selling it for $20 a can. China is the most polluted place in the world, and many people get sick from the thick smog that they breathe in. Chinese people became the two Canadians best customers. Some bought the bottles as a joke, and others bought it to protest against the poor air quality. The idea of purchasing air is ludicrous, but these Canadians have made millions doing it.
People go to the bathroom and then flush. It is a regular thing. In 1961, an artist named Piero Manzoni believed that his own poop was worth as much as gold, he filled 90 cans with it. He planned to sell it and get rich. Two years later, he exchanged 30 grams of his poop for 30 gram of 18-carat gold. As if this wasn’t crazy enough, in 2008, he sold another tin at auction for over $100,000. This means that his poop is worth 65 times its weight in gold. For some reason, he got rich off his poop, but it isn’t something that you should consider trying. You could find yourself being carted off to the loony bin.
A Red Paperclip
Kyle MacDonald, a 27-year-old man from Montreal, Canada, started the summer with no job, no place to live, and no money. He needed to find a home for himself and his girlfriend, and all he had was a single red paperclip. Rather than going out job hunting, he took the paperclip and traded it for a pen that looked like a fish. He kept trading the new items that he was getting in the trades, and after 13 exchanges, he traded a movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Kipling, Saskatchewan. Considering he started out with a red paperclip and a year later, he ended up with the house that he needed for himself and his girlfriend, he did pretty well for himself.
Two Large Pizzas
In 2010, Lazlo Hanyecz was working on developing the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. While working, he got hungry. He offered to give 10,000 bitcoins to anyone who would order him two large pizzas and have them delivered to his house. Back then, nobody knew what the bitcoin was or what it would be. Today, anyone who took him up on his offer is worth over $100,000, and all they had to do was order him two large pizzas.