A Hot Cheeto Called Harambe

5 Ideas to Capitalize on a Craze Without Getting Your Fingers Dirty

Greetings my Thrifty compadres! This week we’ve got a guest post from my good friend Adam at Crispy Cabbage. Adam’s a man of many talents - digging deep into ideas, cracking his readers up, and making awesome drawings on college-ruled paper. Today he’s going to do all three for you with a fun post about how he’d capitalize on the success of a gorilla-shaped Cheeto that sold for $100,000.

Take it away, Adam!

I talk a lot on my blog about escaping the 9-to-5 grind, but I really am luckier than most as far as jobs go. It’s good, steady pay. I get to do a lot of cool stuff. It’s relatively laid back most of the time. And the people I work with are a riot!

The other day, I got to work, and I could just feel the energy in the air. The guys were buzzing about something they saw on eBay. It was like that one day back in November when they discovered those $70 miniature throwback Nintendo NES consoles could be resold for hundreds of dollars on eBay. What an opportunity!

This one was next-level, though. Some guy in Burbank had just sold a single Flamin’ Hot Cheeto on eBay for almost 100 grand!

Here’s my favorite article about it: This Cheeto that looks like Harambe is worth more than your salary

Jimmy Kimmel did a great bit on it too:

Just like that day last November in the middle of the NES craze, my work pals’ eyes throbbed with dollar signs at the money-making potential of a Cheeto Called Harambe.

Just like last November when they scoured the Twin Cities for the latest shipment of the hard-to-find NES consoles to turn around and sell on eBay, they immediately started their search for cheese curls that kind of resemble famous gorillas from the Cincinnati Zoo.

We hurried down to the company convenience store to watch one of my work friends change good money for two overpriced snack-sized bags of Cheetos he had no intention of eating - I don’t think they were Flamin’ Hot. That may be where he went wrong - Anyways, the search was on for the next Harambe and a quick buck.

No luck. No Harambe The Gorilla at the bottom of either bag. But there was one Cheeto that did look kind of like a rhinoceros. That could sell. Starting price: $5.95… It didn’t sell.

There are 2 lessons here:

  1. There are millions of ways to make money on the web, including thousands of money-making internet crazes that seem to pop up out of nowhere.
  2. These crazes pass by lightening-quick and the easy money has already been made way before you even hear about them.

The article could end there. Lessons learned. There’s only one six-figure Cheeto. Find something else to do. Getting rich is hard work.

But that wouldn’t be very fun. I like to think deep thoughts about shallow things, and I got to thinking, How exactly would I capitalize on a craze like A Cheeto Called Harambe?

No, I would not go out and buy bags and bags of Cheetos to search for my own gorilla-shaped gem. That’ll just get you fat. No. No. No. Here are 5 other, slightly more creative ideas to make money that may take a little more work but could be pretty dang fun:

1) Sell the pick-axes and hammers

I’ve been told that most “49ers” didn’t get rich in the California gold rush. You know who did get rich? The guys selling the equipment to all the dreamers from the East Coast. Back then they sold pick-axes, hammers and metal pans. The equipment for Cheeto enthusiasts isn’t as obvious, but there are things that could be useful.

Thar’s gold at the bottom of that thar bag of Cheetos. Got chip clips? Little plastic tubes to protect your prize Harambes for shipping? Wet naps? Lots and lots of wet naps?

2) Sell specialty services

Take the little plastic protective tube one massive step further. Go full-on taxidermy and be the go-to guy for preparing, preserving and mounting all the food products out there that kind of look like things.

Think about it. How often are you kicking back on the couch at midnight watching back-to-back episodes of The Walking Dead with a half-eaten bag of Cheetos on your chest and you pull one out that looks exactly like Fred Savage on The Wonder Years and you wish you had a good way to mount that to your wall? It happens all the time.

Someone needs to fill that niche.

This guy had the right idea…

Patch for people that bid on the Harambe Cheeto

Now, there’s an entrepreneurial mind at work. Sell clever patches on eBay about a ridiculous sale of a Cheeto on eBay.

I hope he’s selling lots. I really do.

The fact is, it’s outrageously easy to get designs for T-shirts and other things up for sale on the web nowadays using sites like CafePress and Amazon. And they can be printed on-demand, so you’re not stuck with unsold merchandise.

My other Cheeto is a Harambe… I would be rich, but I ate my Harambe. That’s just off the top of my head. Marketing gold! But I bet you can come up with better stuff.

4) Talk about it

Host a podcast about it. People love to talk about such ridiculous things and there is an endless supply of ridiculous items to talk about for sale on eBay and around the web.

Me? I could host it? Ha. You flatter me. I don’t like the sound of my own voice, so this idea is up for grabs. I’m a listener, though.

A Cheeto Called Harambe isn’t even close to the most ridiculous thing, so there’s plenty of material to draw from. For example, someone is selling their soul on eBay sealed in a mason jar for freshness.

Why would you let the Devil decide what your soul is worth? Test the market in free agency, I always say.

5) Invest in the company

One of my coworkers suggested it while we were walking to our version of the water-cooler that day, still chatting about Cheetos. He excitedly looked up the stock price of Pepsi, the parent company of Frito Lay (the snack division that makes Cheetos).

“Look, Pepsi’s up by 20 cents already! Time to invest,” he said.

I dismissed the idea and laughed heartily. “That’s less than a quarter of a percent when the rest of the stock market’s up half a percent. I don’t think Harambe’s moving the stock.”

But maybe it’s not such a bad idea. Maybe he’s on to something. After all, these are the marketing geniuses that manufacture their tasty cheese snack in random bumpy blobs that can be mistaken for just about anything so they might end up on eBay selling for six figures and then end up being a hilarious bit on Jimmy Kimmel Live. You can’t buy that kind of advertising. I wanna be in bed with these people.

Besides, Pepsi has a respectable dividend yield of 2.75%.

There you go. Five quality ideas to capitalize on an internet craze. Steal any of them. Take all of them. Do anything BUT run down to the nearest 7-11 to stock up on Flamin’ Hot Cheetos when the next hundred-thousand-dollar Harambe apparition appears. Unless, of course, you’re refilling your stash for the next South Park marathon.

South Park kid wearing a Harambe Cheeto t-shirt

Adam and his family are diligently working to eliminate all debt (outside their mortgage) and build a cash stockpile so they can live beyond the constraints of a “normal” life and achieve the true American Dream.

If you enjoy deep thoughts on money and intentional living and clever little drawings on college-ruled paper, this is the blog for you. Read more from Adam at Crispy Cabbage

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I'm Chris

I'm on a mission to get our family debt-free (including our mortgage) by 2020.

We're getting there through frugality, minimalism, and a whole bunch of awesome spreadsheets.

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