The sign-holders are a minority among the [Detroit's] vagrants and homeless. They're the handful with enough drive and dedication to spend hours standing in one place, making a sales pitch. They could probably succeed at a real job somewhere with such determination. But who's going to hire a depressed guy with three teeth, a felony record and a drinking problem?
So sign-holding becomes their career. And it's a demanding one. They have to be sellers of something that's not a product, isn't a service, and has little benefit for the customer other than perhaps inner satisfaction. They have to sell their misery. And though almost none of them have actual jobs, make no mistake — this is hard work. Here are the stories they tell.
posted by mudpuppie
on Oct 10, 2011 -
The Accidental Panhandler I found a great corduroy blazer in a thrift shop and I loved it. I was out handing out flyers to drunk college boys that night in my lovely new coat and several of them each handed me a dollar. When a fifth person offered me a buck I asked why people were giving me money.
"Aren't you out here asking for money?"
"No. I'm here promoting for a film festival."
"Oh! Well that can't pay much."
"Dude, they rent me an apartment, a car, fly me all over the country and I make money o'plenty."
This guy who'd intended to be generous then turned angry.
"Yeah! Then why the hell are you wearing that stupid coat!"
He left his dollar and moved on. I was handed three more dollar bills that day and did not protest. Wanting to be true to the lifestyle I'd found myself in, I spent the money on fortified wine.
How much do panhandlers really make? Can you possibly make a living at this? How much of a difference does a funny sign make? Will people give to a guy in a banana suit? Does every sign have to say "God Bless?" Important questions. I aim to find the answers. Give me a dollar. God Bless. Panhandling Worldwide
posted by caddis
on Sep 5, 2005 -
Vietnam employs the Beggar Removal Hotline.
To promote a more healthy tourist experience, Denang is employing a reward system for citizens who report vagrants and beggars.Once they have been reported to the special telephone hotline, the people are taken to the centre where they have health checks and are classified according to need...healthy people are sent back to their home provinces, while those who have physical or mental illnesses are treated at the city's expense.
I feel strange saying this but I think the U.S. should adopt this system. I love beggars as much as the next guy, but cleaning up the streets and helping out the beggars...it's a win/win situation.
posted by gwong
on Feb 16, 2003 -
"I've done my part, now I need you to do yours.
I believe that this world is a good place, and if someone needs help, then they should ask for it.
SO I'M ASKING...
Please help me pay my debt. "
Karyn's done her part, people, by racking up $20 000 in credit card debt, buying Prada, and fancy coffee, and designer clothing. Isn't it time you did yours, by paying that debt off for her?
(link from Erika,
posted by kristin
on Jul 9, 2002 -
The Foundation for Internet Begging
or FIB has had a website in operation since August of 2000, and as always, they need your help to keep going. You can join
them in their noble, tried-and-true efforts; learn
more about the people behind the effort and their mission as it stands; and, of course, give
posted by moz
on Jun 23, 2001 -