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Monday, June 08, 2009

Ettiquette Monday: How to Panhandle


We've all been panhandled. Most of us have given money. Most of us have also refused to give money. The difference between a successful beggar and an unsuccessful one is a fine one, and when you're in a pinch and need dough fast you don't have time to get good. This is a critical skillset to the modern human being; so you really ought to start practicing panhandling right away, using the techniques and methods described below.

First, what is panhandling exactly? According to the interwebs, panhandling is "to request a donation in a supplicating manner. Beggars are commonly found in public places, such as street corners or public transport, where they request money such as spare change. They may use cups, boxes or hats to receive the donations."

Panhandling is about getting money from people and getting nothing in return. Pretty sweet deal, right? Right. But less than 5% of people do it properly. Learn these methods, carefully perfected over many years of incredibly tacky poverty:

The View Blocker

Get up in the prospect's business and beg loudly and insistently for money until they give it to you. Do not attempt on men with tattoos or women with large purses.

The Passive Invite

Walk up to the person and stand about ten feet away, then stare at them so sadly that they ask you how they can help you. This method is much more effective on women.

The Vietnam Vet

You don't have to have ever been in Vietnam to be a Vietnam Vet. Just pull on a dirty green jacket, boots, and don't shave for a few days. Talk about how you can't find work because of wounds you sustained serving your country.

The Gulf War II Vet

If you're panhandling someone with an Obama bumper sticker, say you were wounded in Bush's illegal attack on Iraq.

The Public Charity

If you see a young couple on a date, tell the guy that he looks like the sort of upstanding charitable person who can spare some money for the poor. Without waiting for a response, compliment the gal on how lucky she is to have such a generous guy.

The Rehab Rat

Tell the prospect you need five bucks or they'll take you back to rehab. Surprisingly few people question this logic.

The Presumptive Close

Immediately thank the person for the five bucks they are about to give you. This is most effective on people who have just been in a car accident or are having an asthma attack.

The Matter of Great Urgency

Run up the prospect frantically and say you need five bucks. Be jumping up and down. Panic. Communicate that it's a matter of life and death. Clap your hands quickly and motion at the wallet or purse. Remind the person to hurry before it's too late. Then - and this is important - run like heck.

The Soon-to-be Dad

In a popular twist on the Matter of Great Urgency, tell the prospect that your wife is having a baby and you need gas money to get her to the hospital.

The Honest Abe

Tell the prospect that you're going to be completely honest with them, and that you'll use the money to buy drugs.

The Dishonest Abe

Tell the prospect that you're going to be completely honest with them, and that you won't use the money to buy drugs.

The Spy

Hold one hand to your ear. Tell the prospect you need them for a matter of national security. Lead them around a corner. Then peak around and say: "Rats! They followed me. Okay, quick - give me five bucks." When finished, tell the person to wait there because They didn't see your face yet. Then run like heck.

The Counterfeit Checker

After watching someone exit a store, tell them that a lot of counterfeit fives circulating in the area. Offer to to check theirs to see if they're okay. Then run like heck. This tactic is ill advised for prospects who can run faster than you.

The Concert Violinist

Tell the prospect that you're a world-class violinist who hit harsh times. You had to sell your family heirloom violin and now you're on the streets, but with a few more bucks you can get your violin back.

The Faux Lottery

Print out erroneous lottery tickets and sell them for a dollar each. Remind suspicious prospects that direct selling is "the old fashioned way."

These are, of course, just a few methods to get you started. Now go out and practice! Got your own ideas and methods? Comment below and help out your fellow washed-up readers.

3 comments:

Rachel said...

Sounds like panhandling could be my next full-time job.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the honest Abe!

Levi Bendixen said...

Haha! I had a friend just tell me about a bum he saw taking the Honest Abe approach! The guy was on a bridge in Vegas and held a sign, "Let's face it, I'm going to spend it on beer." He had a whole bunch of cups and buckets around him and apparently got quite a lot.