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.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Why lie... I need a pie!

The coolest part of this project so far has been other people trying out panhandling themselves after reading about it here. Only good can come from walking a mile in another's moccassins, yes? The following was taken from TheEndIsNow.com. Enjoy, and please visit his blog and show your support. (Note: The hyperlink's to porno are my own. Don't worry it's SFW porno!)

I've talked about doing this for a while now and yesterday, since I had nothing better to do on my lunch break, I decided to try my hand at panhandling. My target: McDonalds. My goal: enough change to buy a baked apple pie.

Many moons ago, Rob Cockerham of Cockeyed.com posted a link to a panhandling banana’s blog. That blog was great, basically in a nut shell it documents his experiment on how much money can actually be made panhandling. His gimmick is the comedic sayings on the signs and his costumes. I found it really entertaining. Check it out, click his ads and be sure to watch the trailer for the documentary he's working on. When it comes out I'll be picking up a copy, you should too!

[ Word of warning: the link redirects to the domain of RockAss.net. My content filter at work blocks the domain stating the contents are categorized as "pornography." Either it was once a failed porn domain or it just tripped the filter because of "ass." But it's not porn, I swear! ]

Yesterday morning, before work, I made sure to grab the extra Pizzeria Uno box and some markers. I cut the box all apart, I kept the type-o guarantee section for the top and posted it on my cubicle wall. Can't waste that comedic gold. The bottom was used for the sign.

I imagine myself as a funny person. I can throw out one-liners and zingers with the best of them but when I try to be funny, I draw a blank. It was hard to come up with a sign that would invoke the giving of money ( a silver shower, perhaps?) as well as get its fair share of chuckles.

SUPERSIZED
BUT
STILL HUNGRY
I WANT PIE!
PLEASE HELP!
~GOD BLESS

I know, I know - McDonald's doesn't super size anymore but it sounded better than I "large sized" it. Also, the term "Super Size" is synonymous with McDonald's. I kind of miss the gigantic mound of french fries and the mighty bucket they filled with Coca-Cola. Those were the days... but then that damned documentary Super Size Me came out. While I found it very entertaining, I have to disagree with the way he went about it. That guy was a borderline vegan vegetarian when he started the experiment and dove right in to eating red meat and greasy food. Of course he'd have that kind of reaction! I, on the other hand, could easily handle a thirty day fastfood-a-thon but no one would pay to see that... would they? Oh, well.

[ Damn it all. You know what? As I was typing up this story, a better sign idea hit me! "I'm a mighty kid. Spare a buck?" Oh, well. Also, "Happy meal, not so happy. Brighten my day?" ]

I was on the late lunch this week, 1:35 to 2:05 but luckily that is still in the lunch rush time frame. As the clock hit 1:35 I packed up my camera, tripod and sign then made my way over to the Mohawk Trail restaurant. Before I setup with the sign, I made sure to check out if there were any no solicitation signs or no trespassing type signs. There were none! SCORE!

Standing outside with just the sign didn't work that well. I got a few looks and some chuckles but my pockets were empty.

The idea light bulb clicked on and I remembered that I had an old McDonald's cup in my car. That cup tipped the scales in my favor, friends. Panhandlers are generally regarded as dirty people that no one would want to be in actual contact with. I figured a cup would give them the ability of giving change without actually touching dirty ol' me!

I can't believe this actually worked! The first few minutes of smirks and laughs turned to at least ten minutes of sporadic change deposits!

My largest donation was from an old couple. They gave me thirty-five cents. A guy who dropped a nickel and some pennies in the cup asked me, "I'm not going to be on FOX news, am I?" I giggled at his little joke but suddenly I began to shake. The out-of-body spirit of William O'Reilly possessed my body. Out of control, I began spewing "You pin head! Pin heads! Everyone is a pin head! Pin head.. Pin.."

I regained control and thanked him for his donation. There were a few more clunks in the cup. I didn't have a clock but it felt like time was running out and my lunch break was almost over. I picked up all my junk and loaded it into my car. My take was.. get this... seventy-two cents!

Sweet! I had made enough for one pie! I entered the restaurant and purchased my prize. To the victor go the spoils! I put the rest of the money in the little donation bin - let them eat pie, too! Stay in school kids, and one day you can grow up to be just like me!

Today was Saint Patrick's day. This gave me an idea for another sign. A sign that could only work for a day like this. (Tomorrow I suppose I could have a sign stating "Lost the Luck of the Irish and my job. Spare a buck?" But the weekends are me time and that won't happen. )

I DONT HAVE THE
LUCK OF THE IRISH
SPARE A BUCK?
OR
GOLD DUBLOON
GOD BLESS

I chickened out on my lunch break. If I was really in need of the money, I suppose I would have just sucked it up and plopped down anywhere with lots of traffic. But seeing as how this is really just a joke, I really didn't know where I could go. I wanted a place that was high visibility. I drove around Greenfield trying to seek a suitable location. I thought maybe the Town Common but there was a bus that had just unloaded at the Town Hall and I lost my nerve. So I returned to my office unsuccessful.A co-worker suggested the Dunkin' Donuts on the Mohawk Trail. On my afternoon break I setup outside in front of the intersection. I got a few honks but no cash. Oh well. Maybe someday when I'm hankering fer a hunk o', a slab, a slice, a chunk o', if I'm hankering for a slice o' pie I'll try... again. Peace friends.