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.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Raining

Raining, raining, raining. And it will continue raining for the next ten days it seems. Now, I should be out workin' it. Hell seeing me in the rain with my sign and a trash bag raincoat would probably bring me BANK, ah hell, I may still do it. But so far I haven't been able to. For one I got a rotten stomach. It really makes you feel for the down and out folks to realize that when they get ill, if they're achy and sore they still got get out there and hustle up some dough. Hell, I'd be drinkin' or worse for sure if I had to be on the freeway offramp in this weather for more than an hour. So whether they choose to be there or not, on days like this it's gotta be a hard choice to live with. And if it was a choice initialy days like this probably make it hard to get out of. I mean, what comes first, the drugs or the homelessness?

I went to a continuations high school. It seems I was disruptive at the regular school. Yeah, go figure. Well, the kids at this school were supposedly the burnouts and druggies. Some were when they got there sure, but I watched many a sober kid come in and, well talk about a rough place to fit in, these kids would do anything just to bond. Smoke a joint, sure? No problem. I don't mean to get to graphic here but I saw kids come in listening to top 40 music and by the time they left they'd been turned onto to Motor Head, Sabbath, King Diamond and worse! ! !

Anyway my point is, the whole street people on drugs thing, it my be more of chicken/egg situation than we realize.

Now, do you want me listening to Ozzy and smoking out behind the dumpster? No! Then fork over a couple of bucks and help me get back on my feet. Thanks. (The donate buttons are on the right>>>)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Why Lie, I Need Milk and Cookies


I went out as Santa today using the signs that you folks suggested plus a couple of my own. I got out there and right away got a few bucks. People were laughing, but people were also giving me dirty looks. In fact I got more pissed off looks as Santa than I have in any other costume, but also more laughs?
I handed candy canes to folks as they gave me money. Again, mostly women, alone in their cars gave money. Exceptions were: A car full of Mexican guys who seemed pretty wasted gave me some change, a van full of young black kids gave me a buck and the dude in the back kept asking for more canes leading the girl who gave me the buck to give me another buck, a mother daughter and I think a couple of husband wife teams. One woman gave me a gift certificate for a POUND of See's Candy. YAY!

One couple stared emotionless despite their four year old ROARING with laughter. This kid just laughed and laughed and laughed. I've never seen a kid laugh for so long. And if the laughter died down, I'd wave and he'd laugh again!

Two women in a van looked sour and then the driver gave me the little L sign for "loser". I did it back and pointed at me with a questioning expression as if to say "Me? I'm a loser?"
She said yes and did it again, so I told her SHE was a loser. She shook her head and drove way having failed (or lost as in loser) at enjoying life.

The Candy cane in my beard just sort of happened. The beard grabbed it out of my cup and it stayed there. I thought it added to the disheveled appearance. The pants are my girlfriends. Again, added to the look to have pants that didn't match the costume.


Most all of the signs went pretty well. I think "Why Lie I Need Milk and Cookies" did the best. I must admit to not keeping good track. I'll get better numbers when we edit our video footage. That sign was by Robert at RetroCrush as was "Wal-Mart put me out of business". The Wal-Mart sign seemed to confuse folks. I think they thought I was seriously there making a statement because Wal-Mart had indeed killed my business.

I figured we'd make CRAZY money after clearing thirty bucks at the post office but we only made $17.24. Mind you this still breaks the old record set by Uncle Sam on the Fourth of July, and I'm definately happy with it. Add in the POUND of chocolate and we blew away Uncle Sam, but we still did better as non-descript guy in front of post office.

Strange that people seemed more pissed at seeing Santa's image messed with than they were when I dressed as Uncle Sam, our nation's symbol! Pretty funny. I had planned to give the thirty bucks from the post office to a homeless friend named Brother Jay but I can't find him. A homeless man who had a great Santa style beard was really enjoying my panhandling. I talked to him and he told me how funny he thought it was. I gave him the thirty and wished him a Merry Christmas. I hope he's having a nice night with it. I won't keep money if I think the people really thought they were giving it to the homeless.
Of course you folks know that the money goes to me, a deserving American performance artist. So hit them donate buttons and fork over two bucks. Happy Holidays.

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Santa Panhandles Tomorrow

Yep. At my usual spot on 16th and W, unless someone's already there. We'll see. I'll start around 1pm. Should be a good day. Maybe we'll hit closer to the mall. If I change the location I'll post it here. For now though, them donate buttons are starting to rust. Come on internet community! You're looking mighty shabbby. Gimme two dollars, save the world wide webs tarnished reputation. God Bless.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

New Record! Thirty Bucks!

Pictures soon. Jonathon will send stills from his video camera of both this adventure and the church panhandling trip. Don't worry. I'll be SURE to get pictures when I go out as Santa on Sunday.

We wanted to panhandle where there would be a lot of poor, unemployed type folks, to see the difference in what we made. We did not achieve this.

We went to the Unemployment office in Roseville but unfortunately it shares a parking lot with the post office and everyone's doing their holiday mailing. I don't think I saw many poor folks today. I was dressed pretty normal, except that I wasn't wearing a jacket despite the chilly weather. My sign read "Please Help. H.S. Drop Out. God Bless."

I got one dollar almost immediately from a woman who told me she was poor herself (so I swa at least one) and couldn't give me more. Next a woman rolled down the window to tell me that I should go in the unemployment office and get a job. I thanked her. I then wished I would have asked if she meant it compassionately or if she was a bit put out to have to tell me the obvious. Not becasue I bore here any ill will either way, but because I was curious.

Then the money came rolling in. More donations than usual and larger donations too, nothing under a dollar, several five dollar donations. I wasn't surprised too often. Mostly single women gave me money. Men tend not to give and women in cars with men do not give. The only exceptions to the single woman trend were two elderly ladies who gave two dollars, one young couple also passed me two bucks, a guy in a van who gave me a fiver and a mother daughter who gave me a couple of couple of bucks and about a dollar in change.

A lady handing me two dollars responded to my thanks by telling me that it was from Jesus. I told her to thank him for me. Another woman handed me a littlee leather purse with over four bucks in change and five one dollar bills, my biggest single donation to date. She didn't mention Jesus but there was a card in the leather pouch reading "I can do all things through him who STRENGTHENS ME. Philippians 4:13. This may sound lame, since I do think these are good people, but I almost like it more when I get money from people when it's just a human transaction with no religious duty or obligation. Yeah, I'm one snooty beggar.

Snootiness aside, I always feel bad when I'm not in costume and I'm eliciting undeserved sympathy from people. I couldn't believe how much money I was making, and I knew that I'd have to give it to someone who really was homeless, or at least was managing to fool me just as I had fooled these nice people.

A black woman who I would guess was in her forties came out and told me that I had to go. She wasn't in a postal uniform and I'm guessing she was the Post Master. I asked her why I couldn't stay and she told me I was on private property. So I asked whose property I was on. She answered that it was postal property. That's not privat property, that's federal property I told her as I assured I was going nowhere. She said she'd have to call the police and I welcomed this. Feeling like a bit of a freedom fighter I started singing "This land is your land. This land is my land." Nothing like some Woody Guthrie to make taking a stand fun for everyone. A cop car drove by 15 minutes later but didn't stop.

I hooked up with Jonathon and Jon and counted up the dough. They filmed it all from a good hiding place across the street. While they loaded up the camera equipment I counted up my money and was amazed when it came to $30.15. I didn't see any panhandlers to give it to on my way home so tomorrow I'll give it to my friend Brother Jay who lives next to the railroad tracks. I'll have to write more about Jay sometime. He's pretty amazing.

I can't wait to panhandle as Santa Clause on Sunday. I bet I make BANK! and I will have no guilt about keeping it. Woo hoo, er, I mean, Ho Ho Ho.

In the meanwhile, those donate buttons aint a joke. Can you spare two dollars? God bless.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Santa Clause Panhandling

What would Santa's sign say. I know you all will come up with some great ideas. Remember to give me your name and or website address so I can link you if I use your suggestion, and everyone who makes a comment will recieve an autographed picture if they supply an address. The picture can be of me panhandling as a banana, or of my colon (photos taken durring my first colonoscopy), You're choice.

Of course printing and postage aint cheap. I have to buy the 19 year old at Kinkos a six pack in exchange for free printing. Can you help out with a little donation? God Bless.

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Also, buy dumb crap

http://www.cafepress.com/beggar
Several folks requested overpriced crap. Here it is. Now stop shopping and just give me two freakin' bucks! Damn. God bless.