14 People Divulge Niche Hobbies and Their Surprising Dark Sides

When you think about fun, niche hobbies like knitting, or stamp collecting, or maybe bird watching, you probably don’t imagine there’s a dark side, but listen – literally everything imagined and carried out by humans has an underbelly.

That said, what goes on at say, backstage at a Yu-Gi-Oh convention might truly surprise you – and these 14 people are laying bare some secrets that will probably drop your jaws.

14. I know I’m shocked.

Plant collecting.

People poach them from nature, steal them from nurseries, conservatories and homes, file fake claims against the sellers to get their money back, paint plants to look like a different species, flip plants without proper quarantine and acclimation, and also sell infected plants (be it bugs, rot, mosaic virus etc).

Honestly, it’s SHOCKING how many awful things can go wrong with collecting plants…

13. I don’t know what most of this means.

Ham radio has a fair number of racist a$$holes and outright crazy people. The 80 meter band is like the 4chan of the airwaves sometimes.

My grandfather was racist on his old CB. He had this huge tower in the back yard and was thrilled that he could reach other countries. Provided those foreign people spoke English. Otherwise he’d call them Jabbering Monkeys.

12. The quilters? Say it ain’t so!


Gossip around people with “a fabric habit” can be quite mean!

There are people, I have to say tends to be middle aged or older Southern women (though not all all southern quilters by any means) will go after any modernization in style (by another quilter) hard.

Crazy big controversy a couple years ago because some people found some quilts at a quilting conference (showing basically) “too political” and their reaction was quite over the top. (Politics in quilting isn’t remotely new.) Anyway, yeah, quilting community is not all old ladies sitting around sewing and having tea.

11. Wait, really?

Pokémon Go.

Fights over gyms and PvP battles. Mainly gyms, I think a couple have actually died over it.

They blew it by not having PvP battles in the first release of the game.

That was such a good game but people got tired of just collecting and not battling.

10. That all sounds like a lot of work.

Computer security.

You start out with some naive idea about maybe fixing a bug you found in some software… and slowly become aware of an aggressively boring world consisting of multimillion dollar lawsuits, secretive organizations, politics, and international crime.

It’s good fun when you can ignore all that and fix some bugs or write a neat program though.

9. Even if we’d rather forget.

Remember those giant pants from the late 90s? Well, there’s been an entire reseller market for them for years chock full of dedicated collectors and enthusiasts (mostly ravers because duh lol). The market used to be completely fair and you could usually snag yourself a couple of rare designs off eBay for a reasonable double digit price. All until…

One guy. One f**king guy emerged over the past couple of years that has completely destroyed that market fairness. It’s not even conjecture that it’s just one person, it’s the legitimate source of the demise of our little corner of the world. Essentially, an IG “influencer” started flooding eBay with INSANELY priced pants, like we’re talking almost $1k on common items, and tied it all to his IG so people who had zero clue about our market figured that that’s just what shit was worth. Couple that with skirting platform ToS to buy low/sell high (in this case, straight up scamming) and his penchant for flat out stalking and threatening people who come after him and you have what we have now: zero ability to continue our hobby with new/rare items because now anyone who finds something at a thrift store thinks it’s suddenly a gold mine.

The stupid thing is, the guy claims to be an authority on this kind of fashion but genuinely has NEVER been a part of any related community (especially since he’s known and shunned lol). It’s gotten so bad that there’s even a recent article out about how the dude unknowingly sold something to Drake and it was claimed as a bootleg by another big celeb WHO MADE SAID CLOTHING LINE. So now the guy is getting national attention for selling to a celeb, despite cleanly ripping him off.

8. I need pictures.

Doll collecting.

Fakes are a big business and people are mad!

You know it’s wild when a doll can get canceled.

Thank goodness dolls aren’t sentient because the scrutiny and judgement they get from fans is hard. And I say that as a huge fan who also thinks Mattel has turned Barbie into a cheap piece of crap in the past 10 years. Don’t get me started….

7. I want to know more.

Hands down everyone who collects salt and pepper shakers has a body buried somewhere.

Old ladies will throw down with a motherfucker for salt and pepper shakers. At my former job, we had shaker sets that were exclusive to certain holidays. For Thanksgiving, we had these cute, little turkey sets and every grandma that set foot in that store went home with one. Due to their popularity, we were running low on turkey shakers every goddamn week.

I had to calm disgruntled old ladies who didn’t get any and somehow make more magically appear so they didn’t skin me alive. It was rough.

6. It is a performance art.

Improv is full of predators 🙁

When I was 16 years old I got into my local improv class because my now ex-boyfriend (also 16) was there. We werent the only teens but most of the class was 30-40 year old men. The amount of sexual jokes directed at me was horrifying. I remember in one of the skits they wanted me to act as a sexy teacher and one older man as a father of a misbehaving kid.

I only went there for two months. Recently I learned that one of these men from that improv class is now in politics so yeah…not cool.

5. How wrong you are.

Lego. It’s a kids toy, right?

Wrong. We have a chronic problem where new releases sell out almost immediately, going for vastly marked up prices while being unavailable to the public for months on end. Also, The Lego Group treats product leaks like murder cases, surgically ferreting out the responsible party. It’s like the “Marvel’s hitmen” joke.

And don’t even get me started on the figure market. This is a relatively new creation, since Covid got a lot of adult fans into the hobby and searching for rare and nostalgic figures. Cue a bunch of absolute jacka$$es going on EBay and buying specific figures in bulk because they think they’re the new r/wallstreetbets.

They will coordinate their attacks, going after somewhat rare but not impossible to find figures like Bail Organa or Captain Rex (this problem is uniquely pernicious in the LSW community which has several very terrible influencers in it) and “sending them to the moon”. Captain Rex is not a genuinely rare figure. He was in one set, yes, but it was a cheap, mass produced set a LOT of people have. His price should be somewhere around 35-40 dollars, like Grand Admiral Thrawn was before a certain M plus R character bought a bajillion. Instead, both Rex and Thrawn can go for upwards of a hundred dollars. It’s fucking mental.

They’ve totally f**ked the third party market, treating it like a damned stocks game when all the general public wants is some cool toys. The Lego Insta and YT communities are absolutely terrible. Surprisingly our Reddits aren’t tho, with the exception of the sales ones (predictably) which have very strict guidelines but still fall prey to drama around counterfeiters and catfish.

4. It’s literally dark.

Astronomy / stargazing.

People will drive for hours just to get to a dark sky, with minimal or no light pollution. And light pollution is getting worse and more widespread every year.

Marines 2003. Was on a flat top carrier in the middle of the pacific working night shift and all the ships worked under wartime night ops. So no white lights. All dark. Only green or red dim lighting. We were on the equator. No moon. My mind was fucking blown.

As a civilization we lost something losing that kind of a view normally.

3. There’s a lot of money involved…

Truffle hunting.

My professor used to talk about how he knew guys that would get murdered just because of truffles.

Or how if you find a way to grow a mushroom like the morel in a farm, people would get murdered over that as well.

2. I’ve seen Whiplash.

I don’t know about a dark side to it as a hobby, but music.

Great hobby, awesome creative outlet. But professional music and music academia is toxic. Expecting students to work for 12+ hours every day, constantly being compared to others in negative ways, the massive drug culture that surrounds music students – I don’t know any music student that wasn’t at least taking Adderall to study, if not coke and other drugs at times too.

And professional music, at least professional orchestras and big bands, require such talent that you basically just have to practice nonstop for decades to get into them. Which you learned how to do in music school – just pop some pills, do nothing but play your instrument, and have no life.

It’s getting better in a lot of schools and for a lot of people, thankfully.

1. Adult toy collectors.

I collect a few different kinds of toys for the nostalgia. And let me tell you, adult toy collectors can be terrible, entitled brats. Contrary to what they believe adults are NOT the target demographic! The companies are catering to children! Stop harassing them on social media! Stop bullying literal children over it!

Scalping can be a huge issue as well. People would buy whole shelves of things just to re-sell at a markup. Adults who aren’t into it sometimes assume the worst of you (and the”worst” varies). I’m just an adult who spends some of their fun money on cute colorful things. Sometimes you’re just trying to make friends and you stumble into a kink community!

People can do what they’d like as long as it safe, sane and consensual, but you can get surprised by it or have it pushed on you. The most frequent kink grosses me out actually and I really have to watch who I interact with.

I honestly can’t say I’m surprised, but I definitely had no idea.

What niche hobby do you have inside knowledge of? Drop the secrets on us in the comments!