Friday, February 11, 2011


Officially, I don’t condone panhandling. I feel like you should do something for the money you’re given. And I don't think that it's a good way to spend time if you're claiming you'd rather have a job. This is why anytime I’ve been asked by people who they should give money to or where to donate, I suggest shelters, kitchens, other local homeless programs, and as far as individuals goes, people who are doing more than standing or sitting with a sign. I like people who are out there playing an instrument. As a wannabe musician and a music lover, there are few things that make me happier than unexpected live music. So it’s my opinion that people should donate to the people who are doing something more than those who just stand there with a sign.

With that said, I’ve watched, talked to, hung out with and been one of those people. (I panhandled twice in order to get the experience to be able to intelligently write about it) So first off, for those of you who are a panhandler, here are some simple rules of ethics. Why do you need ethics in panhandling? People are more likely to give you money if you're not a total dick. I've seen people walking the streets screaming about no one caring about him, but he was really making it hard to want to help him. Yesterday, I watched a man panhandling at the way out of a parking lot. I watched for a while as he explained to a man that he couldn't get a job because he's an ex-con. I don't know what he did to go to jail or prison, but I have a hard time feeling sorry for him. He was talking back to people who didn't give him money and to another homeless man who was panhandling in the same area, which brings me to the next ethics rule.

Don't overcrowd an area. If you have a spot that you like and one day you get there and someone else is there, don't try to fight him for it, respectfully find a different place for that day and get there earlier the next day. Don't fight for "turf", you don't have any.

I've already talked about it but do something. You're less likely to be looked at or treated badly if you're doing something that people would want to tip you for. Everyone has a talent of some kind; use it. I've obviously come in contact with people playing music, I've seen people selling art. I've been told jokes and spent time with people who make tips telling jokes.

The point is if you're going to beg, realize that you're going to be looked down at, don't get mad, don't fight over a street corner, and for goodness sake, do something. 

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