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.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Applying for the job

Position Sought: Panhandler, freeway offramp/carboard sign guy

Education: I dropped out of High School, and I dropped out of Junior College which I belive qualifies me for this position.

Previous Experience: I did some panhandling as a kid. It seemed like a punk rock thing to do and being punk rock was very important to me then. Plus there was a lot of room for creativity. The honest approach worked. Haggard old guys would say "Why Lie, I need a beer." I'd say, "Hi. I'm from an upper middle class family and I'm panhandling in a pathetic attempt at 'Keeping it real." or "Pardon me, I have enough money for some booze, but I need a couple extra bucks to pay a homeless guy to buy it for me since I'm not 21. Can you help out?" These lines worked pretty well in smaller cities like Sacramento, Stockton, etc. But it's in San Francisco where you really get the trial by fire. Competition is fierce and the panhandlees have heard it all.
I did observe durring my youthfull excursions into panhandling that black woman seemed to be the most generous. One older black lady hearing my line about being upper middle class walked me to her cousin's car and made all three woman in the car give me a couple bucks. I almost felt bad since I was probably born with way more advantages than these women, but the fact that I told them the truth allowed me to feel alright. And since I enjoyed getting turned down as much as I enjoyed getting a dollar I didn't go out of my to target them.
White woman never gave me any money and black men would often get hostile. One man at a bus station in SF told me that a healthy white boy should be ashamed of himself asking a black man for a handout. I agreed but he still wouldn't give me a dollar. He did offer to give me a kick in the ass. I declined.

If Hired Are You Willinng To Relocate: Yes, absolutely. Any corner, anywhere. I'm willing to hitchhike, but I won't spend money on travel that I did not earn panhandling.

Full or Part Time: For now I will panhandle on the streets, freeway offramps and on the internet parttime. If enough money comes in to pay the rent and buy silk sheets I will go full time, though the health plan leaves a bit to be desired.

Whew, that's a lot of typing. I could use a soy cappucino. Can you help out with a couple bucks...

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