Tee began dealing drugs when she was 16. (“Tee” is not her real name.) She was introduced to ecstasy by a boyfriend and wanted to share the experience with everyone.
“It was truly amazing and I felt like everyone needed it.”
Her now ex-boyfriend was a dealer. She went with him on deals and learned how to conduct business. She soon realized she could sell to a few acquaintances, pocket the profits, and enjoy whatever was left for herself.
She has since, over a decade, broadened her stock to include other drugs: LSD, ecstasy, Molly, marijuana, morphine, ketamine and Slo-Mo. Tee vouches she can get almost everything.
Despite her stock and 24 hour availability, she only makes a profit of about $15,000 – $30,000 a year. While Tee’s family pays off her debts, she works several low end minimum wage jobs to help supplement her income and to meet prospective buyers. Detriments to her profits are her own use and free samples which she habitually hands out to first-timers and at parties.
“Losses are usually in that. At a party, I will entice everyone, and not charge for the drugs. Then if after the party they wish to buy, well, now I have buyers don’t I?”
Seldom too are her drugs confiscated by police, which she sees as her biggest competition compared to drug dealers. Tee rarely meets other dealers. She believes they prefer to remain well hidden for fear of repercussions. For her, the thrill is worth the risk.
“I am addicted to dealing. Everything about it from entertaining to making big moves, traveling around and seeing new places. There is, in my eyes, nothing better than what I do. If you walk the straight and narrow, you will miss so much.”
The biggest draw to dealing for Tee is her customers. Typically they are addicts who spend every dollar on drugs. Parties yield opportunities to meet high end customers, who try to be more discreet in their dealings. Not every customer however is one she is happy to see.
“The worst are the ones that rob you. I have my share of losses from deals gone wrong. They escalate so fast; one second you can be discussing the drug and the next, you’re fighting for your life.”
Tee’s experience in the drug trade taught her warning signs. A buyer who seems skittish or asks too many questions may have ill motive.
In addition, customers who pay in cash are preferred, but Tee does make an exception for women soliticing sex in exchange. Alternate forms of payment, such as a jewelry, are denied.
“I do not accept jewelry as I am, not yet, a certified jeweler.I have no way of knowing whether its real or fake. $0.90 or $9,000.”
Attempts to charm her are met with significant consequence.
“Someone offered trying to pay in compliments. They were so over the top, I charged double.”
Customer care is a priority for Tee. She notes the sign of a good dealer is to share information for safer drug use. Her concern however has a limit. Though she will sell to an addict in crisis, she refuses to sell to incoherent customers.
“I am not your mother nor guardian. I do my best to help them, but I will not stop from purchasing. Usually they call first. If I cannot understand them, then I won’t serve them. Now the chance encounter, well then, they are getting what they want right?”
The life of a drug dealer follows a path of hard lessons and regret. But what of the path not taken? Had Tee not been a dealer, she sees her life unfolding in a different way.
“I am sure I would never have ran away. My sister would still be alive. I would have opened a business for helping the needy, getting them services and such.”