The Most Bizarre Things In The World That You Can Rent For A Day

Life is short. That fact informs every decision we make, from the diet we eat to the work we do—there's only so much time, and we have to make decisions about how we're going to spend that time. That consideration extends to the stuff we use, too—for some things, it makes sense to own them and have permanent possession. For others, it makes more sense to just rent them, use them for a time, and then hand them back.

The decision to rent versus own might be dictated by our personal economics or a philosophy of how to live our lives, but we're pretty much in agreement as to what is "normal" when it comes to renting stuff. You rent a car when you travel someplace, that makes sense. You rent an apartment to live in, no one shakes their head and writes a judgmental social media post about you.

But the list of things you can rent in this world is actually a lot longer and more varied than you might suspect. In fact, you can rent a surprising number of things that don't immediately spring to mind. While some of the things listed here are rentable for the same reason anything is—i.e., you lack the cash to buy it, or don't have need of a permanent solution—some are available to rent for weird and unexpected reasons. Here are the most bizarre things in the world that you can rent for a day.

Goats to keep your lawn tidy

The classic grassy lawn in front of your house is pretty much a disaster for the environment. As noted by Discover Magazine, not only do lawns typically require enormous amounts of water and discourage diverse ecosystems and pollinators like bees, they also produce plenty of pollution from the gas-powered landscaping tools used to keep them artificially tidy.

One solution? Rent some goats. Yes, actual goats. A herd of goats. As noted by Slate, you can rent a herd of dozens of goats to descend upon your lawn to eat weeds and trim your grass in a 100% natural and ecological manner. According to The Houston Chronicle, renting goat herds is not uncommon for cities and even private citizens that have large acreages to manage and need to get rid of invasive growths like poison ivy. In fact, renting a herd of goats can be a lot cheaper than hiring a landscaping company to come and do the same work—and you can even hire them through Amazon.

One downside is controlling the herd: As reported by The Washington Post, goats are wild animals, after all, and if they manage to break through fencing they can—and absolutely have—descend on an unsuspecting neighborhood, devouring rose bushes, lawns, and ivy. Oh, and seriously alarming your neighbors when they wake up to find a few dozen goats absolutely going to town on their lawn.

Friends to hang out with you

Where this lands on the fascinating-depressing scale depends on a lot of factors, but yes, you can rent a friend to hang out with you. As reported by Vox, the idea of renting platonic companionship is actually pretty well-established in places like Japan, where it's been somewhat common for the last few decades. And you can go to a site called RentAFriend today, right now, and set up a terrific day with your new bestie.

According to Futurism, the way it works is simple: You sign up and pay a monthly fee to be a member. Then you can go through a list of local people willing to be your friend, sorting them by gender, interests, and other categories. You contact one and negotiate an hourly rate for their companionship—the friend keeps 100 percent of that money. Then you plan your day and go enjoy their company.

The rise of rental friends is driven in large part by a growing sense of isolation and loneliness. According to NPR, a survey found that roughly 60 percent of Americans described themselves as lonely—and that was before a global pandemic drove us all into our homes. With that in mind the idea of paying a modest sum of money (hourly rates tend to start at $10, not counting the other expenses like food or activities) to have someone accompany you to the movies or have lunch with doesn't seem so crazy.

Caskets for a final flex

In general, things that have touched dead bodies are not high on people's lists of reusable items. So the fact that you can—and people do—rent a casket seems sketchy at first. But there are some very good reasons why someone might opt to rent a casket for a loved one's final public appearance.

Number one, of course, is cost. According to Bankrate, the median cost of a funeral today is an eye-popping $7,640. No one wants to cheap out at such an emotional time, but that's a lot of money for most people, and one of the most expensive aspects of a funeral is the casket, which averages about $2,000.

Cremation is a lot cheaper, costing just $350 on average—but if you plan to have a viewing as well you might feel the need for a nice casket. The good news, as reported by Today, is that you can usually rent a tricked-out casket with a removable interior. This allows you to have a beautiful casket at a memorial, and the body never actually touches the interior of the casket, allowing it to be reused. Renting a casket can save you over $1,000 on the cost of a funeral. And after all, the casket is just going to rot in the ground—and if you're cremating the remains, you don't need a casket at all.

Paparazzi for an ego boost

When celebrities talk about the paparazzi, it's usually in angry, deploring tones. These are the folks who hide in bushes to get photos of private moments and follow celebrities around incessantly, after all. But as reported by Rolling Stone, celebrities are increasingly paying the paparazzi and arranging for photos, which allows them to control the narrative. So if celebs are paying the paparazzi, why shouldn't you?

According to Thrillest, there are plenty of companies offering a "celebrity for a day" package that will have a pack of rabid paparazzi follow you around for about $500. For some folks it's all about fun—when a group of people went out on the streets of New York as fake paparazzi and snapped photos of folks in costume, everyone was clearly delighted with the experience, after all.

But there's another aspect to hiring fake paparazzi—constructing celebrity. As The New York Post reports, an increasing number of people want to make being famous their profession, and becoming an "influencer" can involve all sorts of trickery, from staging photoshoots in fake private jets to making a kiddie pool look like an expensive spa. Having fake paparazzi give people the impression that you're already famous is just one more tool in the fake influencer's toolbox.

Parents and grandparents for a family feel

It's an open secret that literally no one feels like an adult. Impostor Syndrome is real, and it affects everyone asked to suddenly know how to do things that their parents seemed to just do instinctively. If you find yourself a grown human who lacks a convenient parental figure, good news! You can totally rent a mom or dad (or grandparent).

As The Atlantic reports, Japan is leading the way in terms of rental parents (as well as rental anything, but parental figures are very popular). While some companies advertising rentable parents are really just babysitting and nanny services with cute marketing, here in the U.S. localized services like Rent-A-Dad and Need a Mom offer adults the services of parents. That could mean helping you to move or listening and offering advice. You know: Parent stuff. And BET reports that some dating sites have added parental renting services—ranging from a call with Dad on Father's Day or hiring a man who can operate the grill at the next family cookout.

And if you'd rather have a grandmother, ABC News reports that those are available, too. An army of older, matronly women stand ready to watch the "grandkids," pet sit, or cook you a homemade meal. According to AARP, some folks are freelancing this as well, posting ads offering their grandparenting services as a way to meet people and find a purpose in life through mentoring and caring for someone else's kids.

Bridesmaids and groomsmen for big wedding energy

A few years ago Kevin Hart played a man who hires himself out as a Best Man for grooms who lack a best friend in the film "The Wedding Ringer," and everyone thought it was hilarious because it's such a crazy idea. Who hires a stranger to stand with them at one of the most intimate and personal events in their lives?

A lot of folks, as it turns out, because you can totally rent both bridesmaids and groomsmen for your wedding. According to GQ, some grooms hire professional groomsmen because their fiancés have large wedding parties, and they feel pressure to balance things out. And Business Insider notes that many brides are overwhelmed and stressed out, and a professional bridesmaid (or six) can provide professional support and guidance. And The New York Times points out that if half your wedding party has to cancel (due to a global pandemic, say) hiring a wedding party can keep your wedding photos festive—and crowded.

CNBC reports that a professional bridesmaid will run you anywhere from a few hundred bucks to $2,000—which is actually kind of a bargain considering how expensive weddings are. Some services will even create fake backgrounds for your fake wedding party members (a popular fiction is that you were best friends in elementary school, which is far enough in the past to ensure believability) so no one knows you're renting your life.

A wingman for romantic confidence

Being someone's wingperson is a sacred duty. Heading out for the night and hoping to meet someone new, the position of wingman retains a lot of its original military meaning: You accompany your friend into social battle and provide support, backup, and distraction. Having a wingman is so powerful that it's really not that surprising that you can very easily hire a professional to be your wingman for the night.

As Vice points out, being alone in a bar or club is poisonous when you're trying to meet people. Having a wingman shows the world that you have at least the basic social skills to maintain at least one relationship. Plus, it just boosts confidence to know you're not going to have stand there alone all night pretending to be absorbed in your phone. According to Bustle, services like The Professional Wingman are part romance coaching and part therapy—your wingman will teach you strategies for meeting people, and offer analysis of your body language and other factors to help you improve your romantic life.

The service is so popular it's actually become a real career. As reported by AskMen, services marketplace began recruiting professional wingmen and wingwomen a few years ago because of rising demand.

Chickens to bring in a little country

Keeping chickens in your backyard has been popular for a while—not only for the fresh eggs, but because chickens can be surprisingly great pets, according to the Los Angeles Times. But as noted by Business Insider, the pandemic lockdowns of 2020 really spiked the popularity of chicken ownership as there was a literal shortage of other pets for people desperate for companionship.

Luckily, there is no shortage of companies willing to rent you some chickens. National Geographic explains that typically you'll rent two to four chickens along with everything you'll need to keep them—a coop, feed, and a guide to raising chickens. As the Times Union points out, there are some obvious advantages to renting your chickens. For one, if you discover that raising chickens isn't your jam, you can easily give the chickens back without guilt or trouble (you usually also have the option of purchasing your chickens and the equipment if you fall in love). This removes any risk for folks who have never experienced the chicken life before. notes that renting chickens is also an educational opportunity for children, who get to learn about the birds and general livestock principles. One caveat, in case you're wondering, is that the chicken you rent are generally not raised for eating, so your rental experience isn't going to end with a feast.

Crowds to make you seem popular

Nothing is more validating than a crowd. It's so powerful that hiring professional crowds is a thing, and has been used by some very well-known politicians according to The Hollywood Reporter. The practice isn't limited to politicians, either. The Atlantic notes that crowds are often hired to protest things, to spice up corporate events, or for PR stunts (remember when flash mobs were a thing?).

Lucky for you, you don't have to be a politician or an activist to hire a crowd. Companies like Crowds on Demand will happily send a mob to you for whatever crowd-related needs you might have. While not cheap, hiring a crowd to show up at your event is possible for regular folks: According to Poynter, hiring a "flash mob" runs about $3,000, although a longer or larger event like a demonstration an go as high as $50,000. People in the crowds can earn anywhere from $60 to $200 a day depending on their role. As CNN points out, hired crowds are increasingly seen as a solid investment. Spending $10,000 to shift public opinion or create the illusion of support can lead to big payoffs in lawsuits and legislation.

According to the New York Post, there's another facet of the crowd industry—professional fans or hype people. These folks are individuals, but they're hired to pump up crowds at games or other events, transforming placid, bored groups into cheering, excited fans.

A sex doll ... for reasons

If you're ever wondering if we're truly living in the end times, consider this: Life-like sex dolls exist, and you can actually rent one.

As CBC News reports, the modern generation of sex dolls are incredibly lifelike, and can be configured in a wide variety of ways. Their hair, clothing, and scent can be changed, and each doll actually comes with a backstory to aid in the creation of a fantasy—and it's not just female dolls, though the male dolls aren't as popular. But they're pricey—according to Forbes, prices range from $800 to an astounding $8,000 for a "high end" model. So although sales surged during the pandemic, the simple fact is not everyone can afford one.

According to The New York Post, demand for rented sex dolls has grown so large that there's now an app for that, allowing folks to rent one for $50 a night, $200 a week (along with a $1,200 refundable deposit). The most bizarre detail? You can request that your doll be "warmed up" prior to delivery. Rolling Stone reports that all this has led to the most obvious next step: Sex Doll Brothels. The owners of these establishments market them as safe spaces where people can indulge fantasies without worrying about harming another human being or breaking the law.

A pilgrim to save you from yourself

Many religions incorporate the concept of a pilgrimage, a journey imbued with spiritual power. One of the most famous examples of a holy pilgrimage is The Ḥajj, the journey to Mecca that every adult Muslim must perform at least once in their lifetimes (per the Encyclopedia Britannica), but plenty of other religions have official and unofficial pilgrimages as part of their experience. And if you find yourself desiring the spiritual benefits of at least one specific pilgrimage but reluctant or unable to undergo the physical hardships and time required, you can actually hire someone to do it for you.

As explained by Yahoo!, a man named Carlos Gil will undertake the pilgrimage to the Portuguese town of Fatima on your behalf for the low price of just under $3,000. The Washington Post explains that Fatima is the town where the Virgin Mary appeared to two children in 1917, and Encyclopedia Britannica notes that the first pilgrimage to the town took place in 1927, and has been an annual event every year since.

As author Keith Sugden reminds u in his book "Saints, Shrines, and Pilgrims," the concept of a "proxy pilgrim" isn't new. It was actually not uncommon in the Middle Ages, when the wealthy would often pay people to undertake the journey for them, which total approval by the church. Gil is simply updating the practice for the modern age.

Someone to cuddle and snuggle with

In an increasingly isolated, remote world, a lack of physical contact is a very real problem. It's a real condition—according to WebMD, it's called Touch Starvation, and it can result in stress and depression. It's probably not surprising to learn from Time that the effects of a lack of physical contact spiked after the coronavirus pandemic due to the increased isolation so many people experienced.

The solution might just be a professional cuddler or snuggler—someone who you can rent for the day to hold you, snuggle with you, and generally give you the physical contact you've been craving. Companies like Cuddle Comfort will happily provide someone to get close to, for a fee. The Atlantic notes that professional cuddlers often serve a serious therapeutic role for people recovering from abuse or suffering from PTSD. And according to professional cuddlers can earn up to $100 an hour for their services. It's part of what's becoming known as the very dystopian-sounding Companionship Industry.

The New York Times notes that professional cuddling, hugging, and snuggling is expressly non-sexual, and most pros will set very strict guidelines regarding what's okay and what's not. Sessions usually begin with icebreakers designed to make everyone feel comfortable with each other.