Exchanges From the Curb: The Top Trumps Scorecards of My Customers

By Jamie Snoll on at

Before I start this weeks article, I would like to respond to some comments from last week. Firstly, to the chap who said I should be run over by a bus -- are you a bus driver? Do you have access to a bus? Just wondering if I should start looking when I cross roads.

Ok, question time:

Why do I get 0.9 to 0.7 deals? It is as you expect, the naughty man is stretching out his gear to make a little extra profit. The worse deals come from further down the chain; how many people has your puff gone through to get to you?

Why do I dislike the police so much? Maybe where I grew up has an influence on this: low employment rates; higher-than-average crime statistics. The police expect us to be guilty, and you can be arrested for being in the wrong place or looking the wrong way, and with any "previous," you have not got a chance in hell. It is not just me who thinks like this; I asked my mate Stu for his reasons, and his answer was simple:

“I don’t dislike the police; they do a job I f*cking wouldn’t, but I can name five officers who recently put me in a cell; pushed me around and tried, from the moment I was in their car, to get a reaction from me, calling me names, winding me up (“you‘re going down this time, we have you on tape, som one grassed, giving out names of known acquaintances, you little..."), then they put me in a cell for six hours before letting me go with no charge.”

My thoughts are similar; in any group you get the good guys, understanding and helpful, but you also get the dicks. The problem with these particular dicks is they have authority and seem to enjoy it more than they should. So my opinion of the whole group is soured by a small minority...but it seems like this minority are all street bobbies.

I am not sure which category Matt Delito falls into, given I've never met him -- perhaps he's touchy, given it was only a bit of name calling? I am sure he has been called worse in the last 48 hours, and I'd also like Matt to think about what he calls us en route to the station, when we're in the back of the car. Not him personally, as he does seem like a decent sort, but he must have witnessed his colleagues calling us all manner of names.

A lot of readers commented that I don’t talk about my job, ie, “dealing” enough. Want to know the secrets of the trade? There really is nothing to it; like any business you have to make contacts to supply your product; the more social you are, the more contacts you can make knocking around in the right circles. The next factor is money: how much can you buy? You start out with little bits -- a half ounce, ounce, dealing 1/16s and 1/8s to your mates, until you move up. The wholetime remembering it is nothing but a job, and customer management as well as satisfaction is extremely important.

By buying large quantities, you command a greater discount therefore bigger profits; back in the day the ultimate aim was the mythical "9bar," if you were the owner of said 9bar your respect points in the top-trump scoring system I will be applying in this column would be a 99. It was often tough to explain to your mum why 35 different people had visited the house in the past two days, each only staying for 10 minutes, plus the increased usage of Lynx Africa (to cover the smell in the wardrobe). Mum wasn’t dumb; I came home from school one day to find it laid out on the table, how do you explain that you are not dealing when you own electric scales? I had to 'fess up that day, as you can guess.

But as for the physical act, well, you've seen The Wire, right? You take a phone call or make a phone call; you then either drive to pick something up and pay someone, or wait to have someone collect from you and pay. I have never had to travel more than 40 miles (roughly) to complete this act, and as I can’t drive at the moment, I generally wait in my flat or walk to the pre-arranged meeting place, somewhere in the open public. No sly handshakes, like The Wire; that’s just invented for films and TV shows. Be obvious, and act normal.

What is more diverse is the groups that buy from you when you sell to the end customers, ie, the general public. I do not really get involved at this end of the game anymore, but the groups of customers I have seen in the past generally fell into a few categories, each with their own patterns and behaviours distinct to their type. When I am at someone’s house who still knocks bits out, I see the same groups, different faces but the same people acting the same way as I remember:

Misspent youths (ETA 4pm)
12 to 15 year old lads; big tracksuit, trainers, caps and silly hats; this demographic always buys in the smallest quantities possible, but come back every night. They usually want to stay as long as possible, and you would generally get pally with one or two that you'd let if they seem alright. It’s someone to play Xbox with, and they're usually fairly respectful and quiet, nice lads, and usually they give up smoking when they get a bird or job.

It was important to keep a lid on some of these guys, otherwise you end up with 50 kids with your mobile number buzzing you all times of the day for a £10 spot. You can’t have that many people looking shady turning up at your house, else the neighbours will notice. And there was always one “wrongen” who would try to knock you; buy a load; build up an amount on tick he can’t pay off and would try to dodge you, thinking that by not answering his mobile, the debt would go away. You would generally bump into this little sort of prick in the boozer, off his tits drunk, while he made all sorts of promises to pay up, and even offer you a drink with a smile. Always with the same excuses: “phone's been playing up, innit”; “run out of credit, innit”; “been away from the area for a bit, innit,” none of which were acceptable and often resulted in making me more angry. Just tell the truth: “I did not want to pay you”. Never a happy ending.

The most annoying were the lads far too influenced by rap and hip hop culture, acting as if the “crew” they had rolled up with and who insisted on waiting right outside your house or flat were as bad as anything seen in Boyz in the Hood, although they might not get the 1990s reference. Hoods up and a stolen BMX thrown around the milling group. I had no intention of keeping these guys in the flat, and would short them on deals with the hope they would stop calling.

One of these "wrongens" became my worst-ever customer, and the main reason I stopped dealing small amounts. He was a proper psycho, who had a psycho uncle for back-up. I'll tell you a good story about this guy next week.

Youths' Top Trump Score:
Payment - 27
Timekeeping - 36
Cleanliness - 60
Friendliness - 0 to 73

Blue Collar Geeza ( ETA 4pm to 5pm, they knock off early)
Depending on where they had a job, they could get home quite early; these guys generally want to have a quick spliff before ducking off home to a wife or girlfriend who was waiting with dinner or wrestling with their 2.5 kids. What really pissed me off was when they were filthy from work and walked right the fuck in, sitting down on my sofa. My regulars knew to check themselves and if dust-covered, to pull up at the small dining table in the corner (staying on the plastic runner as best possible). As a group I would say they are good customers; often taking product on “tick” in the week and paying up after pay day on Friday, starting the whole cycle the following week. Always a good source of jokes and stories, friendly as they came, salt of the earth.

Workers' Top Trump Score
Payment - 61
Timekeeping - 70
Cleanliness - 7
Friendliness - 80

Finance/Office (ETA 6:30pm to 8pm)
These were good customers for me, turning up once a week bang when they say they would -- looking smart, who was going to pay attention to them coming into my flat? They'd drop a large sum of cash in one go, a week or two supplies and friendly to boot. They always used to pay cash, and if you gave them a good deal would come back and back again. One guy even helped me build a shed when he turned up...well I say helped; he was useless and admitted he had never built anything before, cursing his talent for accountancy as we went along. Most of the time these guys knew to stay for 15 or so minutes, a quick chat every time. Some you can generally get to like -- yes, this group was clearly my favourite group of customers, never causing any problems at all.

Office Boys' Top Trump Score
Payment - 95
Timekeeping - 87
Cleanliness - 90
Friendliness - 71

Scummy Mummy (afternoon)
I have morals, but I also have a business to run and money to make, so morality often has to take a backseat. But selling to a mum, with her kids in the house always made me shudder. I mean, when you walked into a dim-looking house, kids screaming bloody murder and the mum coughs up £20, £40, £60 a week, even the vilest of humans have to take a look at themselves in the mirror and question their way of providing for themselves. Watching kids play on a well-trodden carpet in a small living room in a council house through a fog of weed smoke and normal fags can be a bit depressing.

Mums' Top Trump Score
Payment - 34
Timekeeping - 12
Cleanliness - 44
Friendliness - 100 wink

I often felt for the mums after I had left their flats, especially some of the single ones -- with a house full of kids, no chance of employment that would even cover the day care costs and bills, living off the state, and honestly no way out. On the money they get, when they have paid most of the essentials each month (they all had Sky TV?), there would not be enough for a night out and drinks, or fancy clothes like on TOWIE, not to mention expensive hair extensions. Often a few spliffs was the only decent escape they could afford regularly. Well that’s how I justified it to myself, anyway.

The fact is I don’t have to justify it really; people do what I do in every town in England, or even around the world -- some selling worse products than others. Your mates did it; hell, many of you have sampled it at some point or other. And I know that, because my work has put me in touch with bankers, builders, plumbers, social workers, teachers, electricians, barmen, researchers, solicitors, shop assistants, writers, musicians, the unemployed and the unemployable. A waste of skin/oxygen? Or an integral part of the community; a community with local pubs, several estates, town centres, corner shops, bar brawls, glassing, chavs, dope-smoking mums passing cokehead city boys on their way to town.

It’s not an exciting life; I have never had a boat full of money and cocaine; never flown a plane to make a pick-up; never been hung upside down by my ankles by a supplier demanding payment; I have never really held a gun. My business is simple, and although I won’t go into detail about my current employment/business status (might affect my benefits) I can say that I would not change a thing and am happy with my lot. Are you?

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Jamie Snoll is a pseudonym for a drug-dealer born and bred in Essex, who offers up a view from the different side of the law to our Friday columnist Matt Delito. Check back this Friday for Matt’s next episode.

Image Credit: Drug-dealer via Shutterstock / anonymous via Shutterstock