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A Drug Dealer Talks Us Through All the Different Types of British Clients

Do you fit into this neat list of British drug users?

(Illustration by Dan Evans)

Being a drug dealer can be kind of exciting. You're trading in substances that make your brain feel like it's being wrapped in one of those complimentary hot towels you get on nice airlines – and, you know, it's illegal, so it's got that going for it.

Mostly, though, selling drugs is fucking boring. The majority of my on-the-clock time is spent waiting around for – or travelling to – customers who invariably turn out to be very tedious jebends. That might sound severe, but I've been dealing for on and off 10 years, and in that time I've realised that most of my clients are one of a few pretty standard character types, and that all of those character types are people who are objectively not fun to be around.


So the next time you call a dealer on a Friday night, warbling about how he didn't make it to your house in time for you to keep to your 15-minute bump schedule, have a think about this list. When he's standing there, looking blankly at you, wholly unimpressed, like you've just given him a wet-willy at a funeral, have a think about this list. Work out whether or not you fit into one of these categories – and if you do, please do something about it, for the sake of the future of the planet.


These guys are my favourites to deal with. The perfect storm of male pride and a lack of knowledge about what it is they're buying – and, occasionally, how to interact with other humans – makes them very susceptible to bullshit, meaning it's incredibly easy to rip them off on both price and weight. Plus, there's no guilt attached, because these guys are, on balance, responsible for everything wrong with the world.

Here he is, approaching in his 2010 uni leavers hoody and off-duty Abercrombie and Fitch "trackies" that flare at the bottom over a pair of flip-flops, worn with no regard for how fucking cold it is. This time – like every other time, without fail – he will attempt a fist bump both before and after the exchange.


I don't usually sell K unless I'm at a festival (interacting regularly with ket-heads is only really manageable in three-day stints once a year), but I've been around enough of it to identify any ketamine dealer's standard customer.

Like the stoners who bookend every day with a ten-bag spliff, a lot of these people don't seem to function properly unless they're K-holing. "Functioning" might seem a kind way to describe someone for whom life is essentially just floating endlessly through a long, dark tunnel, but at least they're slightly more engaging when they're stumbling and mumbling than they are when they're sat there sober. (Sidebar: why is it that regular ketamine users are so dull when they haven't got a bag up their nose?)


Also, this lot never question the price. They just want their K.


I can imagine being this guy a decade from now. Balding, beer-bellied, dead behind the eyes, until you start talking to him about drugs.

"Mate," he'll say, his face lighting up. "You don't get puff like we used to get."

"I remember coming down off some Mitzis, blazing a fat one in a field near the A3," he'll continue, sounding more and more like a character from Human Traffic. "Don't get the time to do much gear these days – got the little ones, you know –but me and the wife thought we'd treat ourselves to a little Colombian devil's dust this weekend; going to a dinner party in Cheam with the old raving crew, thought we'd spice it up a little."

This guy can also be found chatting the same kind of chat in the comments section of every single vintage acid house tune on YouTube.

A fresher


These guys and girls are the definition of "rabbit in the headlights of a Eddie Stobart truck barrelling towards them at 80 mph". They're in a new city, surrounded by new people they're desperately trying to impress, saying "safe" a lot more than they did growing up in Harrogate. I used to go easy on this lot because I too was once a terrified student scrambling for decent packet and blowing my maintenance loan on all-night drum and bass nights.

Of course, what I'm dealing with now is a totally new generation, with their Jamie Jones raves and their Nike Huaraches and their undying passion for spending £2 a pop on NOS balloons. Times have changed, and I have too. Instead of getting a sympathetic ear, they now have to accept my £5 pills for £15, all while I'm being a gruff, ungrateful bastard.


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Again, I try not to hate this person because it's been me on more than a handful of occasions, but it gets increasingly hard to not hate someone when they've called you 11 times between 5 and 8AM on a Sunday morning.

These are the people who haven't got into the simple pleasures of downers yet, or just learned how to ration and be plain old prepared for the fact that you're definitely going to want a couple of lines with your tinny when you get back in from town.


This cosmic wanderer is perhaps the most annoying of all my clients: quite similar to the K-heads, but kept more conscious (i.e. boring and irritating) by the huge amounts of liquid acid, 2cb and changa they take. I can't recall one time where selling something to them hasn't taken less than 20 minutes on the phone to sort out.

"Heeeeeeey, man," they'll say. "Was just calling to see if you're around and if you've got any mand… What's that, Em? Oh yeah, I'll see if he can do you half a gram."

I can't do half a gram, and never have any of the other times I've sold this person drugs.

"Hey, so my friend Emily was wondering if you could, like, just sell her a bit for cheaper? Oh wait… you want some too, Freddie? Hey man, can you hold on for a sec? Just trying to sort out how much we want."

And this goes on for infinity, until the wrinkles around my eyes begin to harden and crack, and all moisture leaves my body, and my bones turn to dust and my skin sags and falls away.


Not implying this guy is on any drugs, just that he's clearly in a club and we need a photo of someone in a club. (Photo by Fred Bonatto)


These people are up there with my favourite bunch to deal to. Picture the scene: me, at the back of a sweaty warehouse/club/house party, approached skeptically by what looks like the most sober person in human history.

"You got any pills?" he asks.

Yes, I do, skeptical man.

"What are they like? How strong are they? You're not going to fuck me over, are you? I got some duds the last time so I don't want that fucking happening again. How much are they? What?! I didn't pay that last time. Sounds dodgy. Maybe I won't bother. Well, no, let me look at them first actually. Okay, OK. They look fine. How much again? Alright, I've only got a £5 note and some coins. But look, mate, if you're fucking me over I'll come and find you later and I'll have a word."

Cut to 30 minutes later: the pinger has kicked in and it turns out skeptical man is called Simon and runs a start-up social media company from his home office in Kent, and he's sorry he was so rude before but he just doesn't like to get messed around, but apparently I'm a really nice guy.

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