Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Trained scavenger junkie rats

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Inspired by "techno bum".

As was pointed out in another idea recently, much loose change is lost (hence the term). However, it is not really feasible to go collecting it oneself - you can't make a living that way, unless maybe you run a car valeting service or a back-of-sofa-cleaning service.

The secret is to delegate to rats. Train a number of rats (more than one, probably less than 1000) using a reward system which gives them very small doses of cocaine when they insert a coin into a slot. Initially, of course, they are provided with coins. Once they are completely hooked, the are released from their cages into a training pen - a larger and more complex environment. Coins are scattered around the pen, and the rats have to find them and bring them back to the slot to get their fix.

Eventually, you give the rats their freedom to roam wild, and you stop providing them with coins. Their only choice, if they still want their fix, will be to scavenge lost coins from the streets and bring them back to your slot machine. After a few nights of practice, you will have a procession of high rats zipping around the city and returning with pocketsfull (OK - did I mention the pockets?) of coins, all going directly into your dispenser.

Obviously, you need to maximize profits and can exploit your junkie rats by increasing the price of each dose, or reducing the size of each dose to keep your costs down.

MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 09 2009

TechnoBum Techno_20Bum
Inspiration for Max. Fair is fair. [bungston, Feb 09 2009]

Crow coin collectors http://www.boingboi...08-crow-vendin.html
[leinypoo13, Feb 09 2009]

[link]






       do the aforementioned rats have an acute sense of smell for the metals which coins are made from, though.
FlyingToaster, Feb 09 2009
  

       The movie would be a hybrid of Oliver Twist and Willard.
bungston, Feb 09 2009
  

       I suspect that you are still going to spend more than all your money on Charlie (and I don't mean Charlie-Mouse).
gnomethang, Feb 09 2009
  

       I don't think it would take *that* much coke to hook a rat... but cheese might be easier... or coke-laced cheese.
FlyingToaster, Feb 09 2009
  

       Nicotine, or something similarly addictive, but cheap.
Custardguts, Feb 09 2009
  

       What are you going to say to your neighbours when hundreds of crack addicted rats invade their homes and scurry off with their petty cash?
Bad Jim, Feb 09 2009
  

       "Rats? What rats? What have you been snorting?"
FlyingToaster, Feb 09 2009
  

       I chose coke because it's probably not easy for a rat to bypass his dealer and get it directly. If we trained them on cheese, they'd just learn to find cheese. If we trained them on nicotine, they'd probably gorge on cigarette butts. With coke, they've pretty much got to come back to their handler with the money for a fix.   

       However, I'm out of touch for coke prices. What does one pay for a happy-human's worth, these days?
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 09 2009
  

       -link- Baked with crows without the blow .
leinypoo13, Feb 09 2009
  

       How 'bout let's train them to collect Bin Laden, and shove *him* into a coin slot.
colorclocks, Feb 10 2009
  

       But you'd need to have caught him already, so that you could train the rats.
pertinax, Feb 10 2009
  

       A small line of coke for a human is about 50mg. If the average male weighs about 75kg, and the rat weighs 500g, then scaling down (if you can do that), the rat would need about 3.3mg of coke to make it worth his while. Given that you can get a gram of coke, which is equivalent to about 300 rat-hits, for about £50, then each rat-hit would cost 16p. Therefore the rat would need to insert a 20p coin or higher for you to make a profit. If it was a random coin each time, and the denominations are 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1, & £2 the average cost per hit would be 48.5p giving you a healthy profit. Croissant.
stupop, Feb 10 2009
  

       [Stu] Except I suspect the distribution of lost coins is not uniform. People are far more likely to spend extra time searching for a dropped quarter (US) let alone a dropped £2 coin. Therefore the findable coints would weight heavily towards the lower value. A study would have to be made to determine profitability.
MechE, Feb 10 2009
  

       We could always require multiple coins per hit. In time, the rats might develop arithemetical skills. Clearly, it's win-win.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 10 2009
  

       Why spend all that money on coke when crows will work for peanuts? Especially when, IMO, most of the coins will be low value and not worth the 16p coke hit.   

       I am, however, intrigued by the idea of teaching rats arithmetic. Perhaps with enough training they could become bankers and put the crooks currently running our banks out of work.
Bad Jim, Feb 10 2009
  

       Crows will probably work for peanuts, but if you released them around a city, I suspect they'd find peanuts for themselves more easily than they'd find coins to buy peanuts. However, rats are unlikely to be able to find a Coke hit.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 10 2009
  

       Check out the second link [MB]   

       Rather than compete with hoboes, trained rats and other citydwellers for miserable halfpenny coins, the crows should be used out under the open sky to identify gold nuggets in river sandbars. Crows would be shipped to appropriate riversides and would again use the automatic kibble robot to reward them. Nuggets would be electrostatically checked for gold content and weight, and the crows rewarded proportionately.
bungston, Feb 11 2009
  

       [2-fries] yep - ingenious and disconcertingly similar.   

       [bung] that is, quite possibly, a brilliant idea, and more exciting than mine!
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 11 2009
  

       [stupop] - wouldn't that be 0.33 gram?
loonquawl, Feb 12 2009
  

       Given that rats can chew through pretty much anything, I am concerned that this will encourage rats to chew into vending machines. I like the "train birds to retrieve gold nuggets from streams and rivers" idea better.
hippo, Feb 12 2009
  

       [loonquawl] You're right. I'm out by a decimal point. 1.6p per hit making it an altogether more profitable operation.
stupop, Feb 12 2009
  

       Anyone for training half-bakers to have profitable ideas?
stupop, Feb 12 2009
  

       //Anyone for training half-bakers to have profitable ideas?//   

       Now that's just being stupid. If it costs £2.50 for each line of coke we require you would never make up the training investment.
Bad Jim, Feb 12 2009
  

       Stu, you are invited to try to profit by any of my ideas. By that I mean try for financial profit, as simply by reading them I think you will profit in a moral and intellectual sense.
bungston, Feb 12 2009
  

       //Anyone for training half-bakers to have profitable ideas?//   

       tried that once, went to open the safe to count the profits and found a roughly-gnawed hole in the back through which could be heard maniacal high-pitched giggling and snorting sounds.   

       ...will work for Coke.
FlyingToaster, Feb 12 2009
  

       //simply by reading them I think you will profit in a moral and intellectual sense.//   

       Reading your 'nitroglycerine tampons' idea was indeed morally and intellectually rewarding.   

       BTW what do you do if the local mob are losing several kilos of coke a day and trace it back to your rodents?
Bad Jim, Feb 12 2009
  

       I'll tell them I'm just minding the rats for Bad Jim.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 12 2009
  

       A rat can be your best friend. They are clever, loyal, affectionate and fearless. All in all a first class idea. +
xenzag, Feb 13 2009
  
      
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