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.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Your sign ideas

I'm going out carboard signing it this weekend, no costume. Hit the comments link here and suggest sign ideas. I'll pick a few and report back on how they do. If I know your identity I'll give ya credit. That's some claim to fame, eh?

And hey while you're at it, I need to freshen up my Soy Cappuccino, can you spare a couple bucks? God Bless!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The End Is Here! :arrow pointing towards edge of cardboard:"

8:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Pregnant and homeless, please help."
God Bless, of course.

If girls with square-shaped pillows under their shirts can get away with it in SF, so can a guy, right?

8:57 PM

Blogger thepanhandler said...

These are both great. You're both anonymous. Oh well, so much for glory.

9:39 PM

Blogger Rob Cockerham said...

How about "Last Homeless guy for the next 30 miles".

1:09 AM

Blogger Rob Cockerham said...

"Employees must wash hands after using the restroom."

1:10 AM

Blogger Rob Cockerham said...

Oh oh, I know!

"Golf Lessons"

1:10 AM

Anonymous A fan of said...

If you're going to use Rob's suggestions be sure to add "pule" at the end.

5:27 AM

Blogger thepanhandler said...

I knew Rob would have some great suggestions. Expect to see at least one of these used.
What's "pule"?

6:15 AM

Blogger Mad Guru said...

How about:

"I was Katie Holmes' boyfriend before Tom Cruise.

God bless...Bastard Scientologists."

7:31 AM

Blogger Scott said...

A blank sign. I've wondered if people really read them.

There's also pictograms, mathmatic equations or non-western alphabets.

8:41 AM

Blogger Rob Cockerham said...

Oh man. If you were dressed up as a Pharaoh, or a Mummy, with a sign with some big hieroglyphics. That would be priceless.

9:08 AM

Anonymous Pluck said...

Just stand there and yell, "Please help, need a piece of cardboard and a pen, God Bless."

9:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about finding a piece of cardboard that simply says "This Side Up"?

11:01 AM

Blogger thepanhandler said...

So many good ideas here.
I'll use a bunch of them, and you can most definately count on seeing a mummy out there soon.
I should have new pics up by Monday.

More, give me more!

God Bless!

11:22 AM

Blogger Simon said...

"Don't give me any money"

Reverse psychology at its finest

11:26 AM

Anonymous ooga booga said...

how about "psychiatric help: 5 cents"? Sit beside a turned around cardboard box and wear a blue dress

or "Two for the price of one!" and don't specify what's being 'offered'

or "I was in the (list here favorite calamity/event of the year) and all I got out of it was this lousy cardboard box"

12:46 PM

Anonymous ooga booga said...

how about "please spare me from the fate worse than death of having to numbly sit in front of a computer screen in a taupe cubicle feeding my starbucks habit in order to subsist on a handful of personal hours a week and a marginal paycheck..."

ok, that's long. And rambling.

12:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

from When-di: had a picture of a guy whose sign read "Ninjas killed my family. Need money for kung fu lessons," followed by smiley faces.

Is panhandling text copyrighted?

1:04 PM

Anonymous rjk said...

"Starving. Please help." With a big chunk of the cardboard bitten off.

1:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you don't give me money, I will kill this defenseless toilet."

2:47 PM

Anonymous Adam said...

What about getting some of that silvery mirrored cardboard, like you get with some microwave pizzas and stuff? Can you get that in big sheets? You could shine the sun in their eyes if they tried to ignore you...

2:49 PM

Anonymous adam said...

Or what about sitting in front of a big man shape made out of carboard boxes, and then writing the message on your shirt? "Stop recycling boxes, I'm getting lonely" or something not as crummy.

2:53 PM

Anonymous Dave Norwood said...

"Veteran dyslexic, help need. Bless doG."

3:20 PM

Anonymous dave norwood said...

"It's either this or welfare, I'll get your money eventually."

3:22 PM

Anonymous Seth said...

Expanding on ooga booga's thoughts,

"Two for the price of one!

God Bless, God Bless."

or how about "Single Bum looking for Green Dead President to share dinner with, maybe more."

3:43 PM

Anonymous JackJack said...

"Voted for GWBush (twice)"

Be sure to attach a little American flag to the sign.

6:15 PM

Anonymous JackJack said...

"Need Extreme Makeover"

or, in honor of your poor put-upon mother, "Need Bail Money 4 Mom (god bless)"

6:23 PM

Anonymous Leperflesh said...

Use AOL-standard speak:

"pls can u don8 $ 4 a p00r dood? god bls"

6:42 PM

Anonymous Leperflesh said...

Use a nearly-dead marker to make a sign where the letters gradually fade into nothingness:

"Almost out of ink please help god bless"

6:43 PM

Anonymous JackJack said...

Along the "god bless" line...

Put a Bible verse reference on your sign (ie "John 14: 18")(only the reference, not the actual text). It should be something that will reach out and slap them silly later if they bother to look it up. Or maybe something completely nonsensical to confuse them.

Hey, I know! A verse from Job would be great, because a)there's lots in there about being down on one's luck, etc, b)it'd have the additional benefit of a panhandler with the word "job" on his sign, and all the subconcious signals such would generate, and c)"Job" fits on a sign much better than something from, say, "2 Thessalonians".

6:47 PM

Blogger Deron said...

I think you're missing the obvious "Insert money here" sign.

Also, "Exact change only" might go over well.

PS - I click on your ads every time I'm here -- Rob's site too! :)

11:40 PM

Anonymous Coolio said...

"Sign Made in the USA! - God Bless"

6:39 AM

Anonymous Coolio said...

Pan handlers with pets make more than regular pan handlers (people feel guilty letting a dog starve but not a person... go figure).

You should try having someone in a bannanna costume on a leash with a sign that says "Bannanna Hungry. Please help - God Bless"

6:42 AM

Anonymous Coolio said...

Try "Terrorist Plots are expensive - Need Money - Allah bless"

But watch out for the beer bottles.

6:43 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go to a straight neighborhood and have it say:

"Anyone who doesn't give me money is gay"

"God Bless"

or, if displaying anywhere...

"Need money for more cardboard, building homeless mansion, God Bless"

8:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Please keep off this sign."

1:22 PM

Anonymous GenerationBob said...

"Do not remove this tag from mattress."

2:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dress like Mr. T and hold up a sign that says, "I pity the fool that don't give me a dollar." (I just like the idea of a pasty, white Mr. T.)

12:49 AM

Blogger alcazabedabra said...

Immitate the nearest road sign?


"Please give me money, or 'God Bless' doesn't apply."

Carrot and stick, right?


"I'm a welfare whore. Give me money or I'll keep sucking up taxpayer dollars"

5:17 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

United Negro Pizza Fund

11:59 AM

Blogger thepanhandler said...

I was 20 years old and in SF the first time someone panhandled me with "United Negro Cheeseburger Fund." I was in a higher state of conciousness at the time and I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever heard. Between myself and the three guys I was with the panhandler probably got 10 bucks.

12:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

401K plan

4:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just escaped from box factory, please help!"

7:42 PM

Blogger qacdefeej said...

Cardboard Free to Good Home.

God bless.

4:21 PM

Blogger qacdefeej said...

Get some friends and set yourselves up 20 yards apart:

If you can spare
Some change today
All my woes
Will go away.

Burma Bless.

4:25 PM

Blogger qacdefeej said...

"The Tiniest Little Division of Hallmark."

"I Won't Do THAT Again."

4:31 PM

Blogger qacdefeej said...

"Forgot PIN"

4:40 PM

Anonymous Stumpy Pete said...

"This sign for sale"

10:01 AM

Anonymous Stumpy Pete said...

draw a big dot with an arrow pointing to it and text that says
"Lick This Spot"

10:03 AM

Anonymous Stumpy Pete said...

"My other sign is in the shop"

(very small) "If you can read this you are too close"

"Made you look" or "What are you looking at?"

or write the message and letters backwards and walk behind the cars and hold it up so they can read it in their rear view mirror (like on ambulances)

10:07 AM

Blogger thepanhandler said...

"Made You Look"
Ha ha. That ones great.

10:25 AM

Anonymous Stumpy Pete said...

put on sunglasses, get a white cane and hold a blank sign.

"Now hiring"

"Guess what I have in my pocket and win a prize"

"I'm undressing you with my eyes"

"Just a hobby"

"Current Time" and attach a flip pad to the cardboard where you can change the hours and minutes as they pass. You could also add "Current Temperature" as well.

"Ask Me About Refinancing"

"Herbalife werks!"

"Adopt Me"


"404 Error - Food not Found"

"Get off of my earth"

attach a spinning hypnodisk, and the text "Give me money"

"I need a hug"

10:34 AM

Anonymous Stumpy Pete said...

I can't believe I didn't think of this earlier - "Advertising space available"

"3 more payments and this sign is all mine!"

"What, in God's name, is that smell?"

Make a cardboard dog to stand beside you.

"Ate Taco Bell, need money for toilet paper...URGENTLY!"

"Guess your height or weight, $1"

10:48 AM

Blogger thepanhandler said...

"You're Ad Here" has been on my list,
but I think I'll actualy sell the ad space via e-bay just to take it all the way.

11:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


"This Child Left Behind. God Bless"

"More Broke than Bernie Ebbers. God Bless"

"Grokster stole my indie masterpiece. God Bless"

"John Bolton's underling. Need therapy. God Bless"


"Spent my last on 'War and Peace'. God Bless"

"Please help a metapanhandler: Give so that I may give to another panhandler. God Bless"

"Writing the 'Tween Lit masterpiece. God Bless"


"All your $ are belong to us. Katz Bless"

"This is not the panhandler you're looking for. Give a $, and move along. May The Force Be With You"

"Programmer looking for a Higher Source Code. God Bless"

12:19 AM

Anonymous rjk said...

In big text, "Good news!" and then in smaller text, "I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico."

"Look out!"

"Saving up for posterboard. God bless."

1:51 PM

Anonymous Fojar the All-Noing said...

"Do not encourage the panhandler"

With all these great sign ideas, i might go into this myself.

4:14 PM

Blogger myste said...

first get ahold of a wheelchair. then write your message (doesnt really matter what you say, veteran God bless, would work fine) on a tiny piece of cardbord in itty bitty print.

sit on the offramp in the wheelchair with the sign in your hand and when motorists strain and squint to read what your sign says, walk over to their car and hold it up close to the window whilst holding out your paper cup for the cash.

4:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wal-Mart employee. Anything will help. God Bless."

1:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Written in barely legible ink:

"Need $1 for new pen. Will you help? God bless."

1:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Tire flat? Blow for a buck."

Have a bike pump with you, just in case.

1:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Gave away house and home to follow Jesus. I'm cold and hungry. Help? God bless."

1:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Achoo! God bless you.

6:44 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Need money for Kleenex.

6:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"got karma?"

1:35 AM


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