Meet the “Drinking Buddies” – people who make money by drinking with you and listening to your storiesLegion Media
Imagine it is Friday evening and you have an irresistible desire to spend it in a way so that you will feel slightly ashamed
This is what the people who decided to make money out of a stranger’s loneliness thought. The Drinking Buddy service has existed in Russia for several years now. These drinking buddies are ready to dispel anyone’s boredom for an hourly rate. “In brief, we go to your place, drink, lend you an ear and agree with everything you say. You can speak out and take a load off your chest.” This is what the ad says. It was posted by Sinyaya
There are also private drinking buddies. The services mentioned in the ad usually include everything that a client may desire. “I can speak about any topic, I know all the drinking songs, I can dance Moldovan dances and the gopak (a national Ukrainian dance), and I have more than 100 toasts to love in my arsenal,” writes “drinking buddy” Vlada, 800 rubles per hour ($14).
“A year ago my friend and I decided to have some fun, and the gist of it was, ‘let’s make some money offering our company.’ We were bored. We put an ad in a popular publication and unexpectedly people starting responding. We received jobs,” says Sergei. He is 23 and during the day he works as a trainer in a Moscow fitness center and at night he is a “drinking buddy,” making 1,000 rubles per hour ($17.50). He has a soft voice and is not very talkative on the phone, but each evening he gets two or three jobs.
“I usually work after being reserved. I spend about two to three hours on one person. I go anywhere they
But more than anything else, the drinking buddy service is more of psychological support or a call friend.
“Once a middle-aged woman called, saying that she wanted to go to the cinema with a young man in order to feel what it is like going to the cinema with a son. She had been diagnosed with infertility. They went to the cinema, then another time.
“Another time a man called. He was very drunk and was preparing to commit suicide. But all our ‘specialists’ had been trained by psychologists and knew how to handle critical situations. Therefore, everything went well. They sat around, talked and the man changed his mind.”
According to Dmitri, more often than not people just want somebody to entertain them. In better times his agency earned 60,000 rubles per month ($1,050) and it would employ 10 people. “I received calls at three in the morning when I was already sleeping and would call my guys to see who could go to see the person. It was all very chaotic. You can’t make a system out of this business. And you can’t make your employees drink. Even though they are drinking buddies, they don’t have to drink.”
Recently, Dmitri closed his agency and invested everything in
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