Sep 6, 2008

Career advice: panhandling

A new website, Need.Com (“Market Research for Panhandlers”) offers to get people “thinking about panhandling as a realistic economic activity, rather than thinking that panhandlers are lazy or don’t work very hard.”

Is it better to look filthy or clean? "I'm gonna tell you, the ones that's real filthy are and laying on the ground with a blanket, acting like they're freezing and stuff like that, get more money than a person that's like me" says Lanette. Gary disagrees: clean gets you "more money. Cause I came out here clean, then I wore clothes with duct tape, and I got more money. For real!"

What do you do to get less people to ignore you? "You know what I do?" says Robert G. " I ignore them just like they ignore me. If they don't want to acknowledge me, I'll let them walk by, like I don't even see them. I'll talk to my friend. We ask the next person that comes by." Robert S takes the polite route: "When people ignore me, I say God bless you. I'm only speaking peace, love and happiness! That's all I'm saying! And God bless you! And love the Lord! Praise the Lord, that's all I'm saying."

Signs? "People want to hear you. A sign don't do nothing. You make more money without a sign. 'Cause people want to hear you verbally," says Robert S. Greg recommends the direct, humorous approach. "Just tell the truth! Everybody needs money, everybody, and everybody has a story. If you want to go get a drink, just say that! Don't give me a story about being a tunnel rat in Da Nang, or being burned out of your home, or about having to steal for food, or whatever."

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