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.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Uncle Sam Needs You! (scroll down for story)

Click on the poster for larger pretty version!
The lizard boy made me this poster, and Decades Costumes lent me an Uncle Sam outfit, so this weekend's panhandling was a blast.

I printed the poster at work, on a regular consumer grade printer using the print poster feature, a feature I'd never seen before. The poster took four sheets of legal size paper which I taped together.
Luckily the boss left for 4th of July early so I could get away with misusing the office equipment and supplies. Of course he reads this blog, but what's he gonna do, fire me? He knows I'll just laugh. I've got my lucrative career in panhandling to support me and mine.
I added a "God Bless" to the bottom of the sign. Always the God Bless, it's panhandler gold. Who wants to give money to some godless commie on 4th of July.

I called James and Jonny at Decades Costumes and they had a few Uncles Sams left, but I couldn't pick one up until after they closed on July 2nd, just in case a paying customer came in before then wanting one. Luckily, there was still one left when I get there, and it works out great because the junkiest looking costume will always be the one left. Junky is perfect for my uses. I want to look like I need a bit of help.
It was unbearably hot, not so much from the coat, but the hat! My god, I was sweating buckets. The first half hour only yielded a couple of bucks, and not many smiles or laughs. I couldn't figure it out, but the second half hour rocked. Folks were cracking up and the money was flowing. I think it's all a matter of me relaxing out there, getting the eye contact down, etc.

Of course not everyone enjoyed it. An older couple shook their heads at me. I shook back. It's my policy to agree with everyone. The woman than told me I should be ashamed. Again I agreed and they went on their way.

A psycho young man kept screaming "F*** America" over and over. The girl with him was asking him to stop. Continuing my policy I gave him a thumbs up and was delighted to hear him saying to her, "See! See, he agrees. Do you not SEE THIS?!" What a nut. ("F***" is because moms read this too.)

Most people just had a good laugh, and many were willing to pitch a couple of bucks for it. There were still a few of the "I'm not going to look at you" folks. If you ever pass silliness and you're not even willing to look at it, get help. Life should be more fun! These freaks of nature were the rare exception. I made $14.50 an hour. That's a record so far. Two bucks (thanks Max and Lindsey), and an ash tray full of change (Thanks Mr. and Mrs. Verona) came from friends, but even subtracting that, I had a great day, and made more per hour than I do at my day job.

Why don't you follow the example set by those generous folks out there today and donate a couple of bucks. Maybe we'll set a record for online earning today too! Life is better when you give me money, and your sex life will improve too! God Bless.


Anonymous Cockeyed Fan said...

How bout a sign that says "Bet you can't hit me with a quarter." Watch out for flying coins though...

6:31 AM

Blogger thepanhandler said...

I knew a kid that used to do that in SF, and he was AMAZING! He could catch these coins, every one of 'em, as they were hurled in his direction by passing motorists.

8:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in New York City, and I love the subway. Part of the fun of riding the subway is trying to remain standing without holding on to any of the poles or rails, or stepping on the toes of fellow riders. I always thought it would be neat to get on the A train to Far Rockaway (the beach-front section of Queens and a long ride from Manhattan) dressed in a three piece suit. When the doors closed, strip down to swim trunks and roll out a mat painted to look like a surfboard on the train floor. Next, pop a tape of "Wipeout" into the boom-box and surf the train to the beach. Shortly after thinking of this I decided it would be more entertaining if a pretty girl dressed in a bikini did the surfing, and a guy in trunks played the bongos during the song. I don't know how much money it would make, but it would be interesting to see.

1:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the best panhandlers I ever saw where two young, teenagerish, girls with a sign that said, "NEED MONEY FOR POT." Every single car was giving them money.

Might be worth a spin.

4:54 PM

Anonymous wombat said...

hmmmm... "need money for pot"? the teenager girls i'm sure pulled it off with flying colors, as a banana i'm not sure you carry the raw sexual appeal (notice how i worked hard to not spell appeal "a-peel"). once you've seen one stoned banana, you've seen them all.

11:20 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont know about panhandling but first job was a uncle sam on a streat corner for a tax company. I have never had so much fun at a job.

2:56 AM


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