The euphemisms people use to pay their drug dealer in public on Venmo

Columbia, home of over-sharing drug dealers.
Columbia, home of over-sharing drug dealers.
Image: Reuters/Mike Segar
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Students at Columbia University are fretting over the arrest of a fellow undergraduate accused of dealing drugs on campus. The alleged dealer was an active user of Venmo, a mobile app for sending money to people, and on Venmo, transactions are public by default.

Yes, even drug transactions.

Much of his activity has since been removed or made private. But as of April 3, his public Venmo profile contained 273 transactions, all of them accompanied by brief messages from the payer. They range from random to cryptic to—at least in hindsight—pretty obvious.

The drug charges haven’t been proven, but the Venmo messages offer a fascinating case study of how a certain demographic of young Americans thinks about what they share particularly sensitive information on the internet (if they are thinking much about it at all). What follows is a sample of the messages, with names removed.

User X paid alleged drug dealer for…

  • 👼
  • Cookies
  • Gotta stock up for winter
  • Picking blackberries
  • To puff a butterfly
  • Shenanigans
  • 🌴🌴🌴
  • Kale salad
  • Halal
  • Cooking supplies
  • 👌
  • Kale salad thanks
  • Columbia in the 1980s
  • Road trip groceries
  • Sanity 2.0
  • 10 lbs of sugar
  • Wubwubwubwub
  • It doesnt getz better than this!
  • Venmo
  • Happiness
  • Lube
  • Post valentines day splurge
  • Valentine’s Day chocolates
  • Snoop Dogg’s shizzle
  • erotic brazilian waxing
  • Some White Russians
  • Sexxxx
  • The usual
  • baby over rice
  • Ice ice baby
  • 3 Sex swings
  • Baby powder
  • good vibrations
  • Slinkies and gelatin
  • Dogwood?
  • For the love and beauty in all of the world that you provide 😀
  • Sugar and spice and everything nice
  • likes on facebook tbh
  • spectral energy density
  • lil drips
  • erotic massage (two sessions)
  • scaring kids on buses
  • Changing my life