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So you want to be an exit ramp panhandler....

 
 
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 11:18 am
If you are thinking of changing careers to the exciting world of exit ramp panhandling there are a few things you should know:

If you sign says "Will work for food" and I try to give you food and you say "No thanks" I will not be changing my mind and giving you money instead. I just spent all of my money of food.

If your sign says "Trying to get home" I will wonder why the people at "home" aren't helping you get home. Maybe they don't want you there because I think they'd try to help you if they really wanted to see you.

A dog can be a good accessory. Everybody loves dogs! However, you should not have a fancy pedigree dog that looks like it just trotted out of the Westminister finals. Your dog should be smallish and mutty looking.

If you are smoking you will not get my money. Cigarettes are very expensive. If you have money for cigarettes, you have money for other things.

If you litter you will not get my money. Part of your job as an off ramp panhandler is to pick up after yourself.

Yes, like many people I'm a sucker for the "Disabled vet" signs but really now, you can't ALL be disabled vets. (Especially you 20ish healthy looking guy, surrounded by litter, with your fancy dog, at the corner near my house, smoking.)




Does anyone else have career advice for exit ramp panhandlers?
 
Tryagain
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 11:39 am
Ahhh, I've always said, "Opportunity abounds in this country." Where else can you potentially earn in excess of $60 an hour for standing on a street corner doing nothing more than sticking your hand out? That's almost as much as Yours Truly earns as a lowly forum columnist. Hmmm, I bet I could dig up a piece of cardboard somewhereÂ…Oh, sorry, I'm getting sidetracked.

I've been told that most of these people prefer to be called SCAMMERs (Swindlers Cashing-in At Many Minneapolis Exit Ramps). Others prefer the term HOMELESS (Hustlers On Minneapolis Exit-ramps Lying to Extract Silver from Samaritans).

Although, the latter is a bit of a misnomer since the Minneapolis Police Department tells us on its website that many of the solicitors do, indeed, have homes--in addition to making up stories to get your money and using money for drugs and alcohol. Still, I am sticking with the old-school nomenclature of BUM (Bilking Unsuspecting Motorists).
0 Replies
 
Chai
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 12:01 pm
You know, I often wonder how much they make during a typical day.

Here, it's more Intersection Panhandlers.

I did see this one person that really broke my heart.

It was an old woman, and I mean OLD.

You know the drill where the person will stand on the side of the road or in the median, facing the traffic that's stopped? If they are at all ambitious they walk down the line of cars, timing it so they can make it all the way back to the intersection when the light turns green.

This woman was standing on the median of a heavy traffic road (for those in Austin, it was Lamar and Barton Springs, on the North side of the intersection, but she was standing with her sign facing South, so obviously no one could even stop if they wanted to, since she wasn't facing where people were stopped. I was going East on BS and was sitting at the light to make a left to go North on Lamar. I watched her, frightened she was going to get hit since the traffic whizzing by at 45-50 mph and it seemed to be confusing her and making her unsteady on her feet. If she had turned around, she would have been facing the traffic stopped in the South bound turn lane, but she just couldn't seem to figure out how this all worked.

When the left turn light came on, and I made a left, I passed within feet of her. She was sort of waving at cars, trying to get them to stop. There's no way you could have stopped there, it's just a big wave of cars. Not even to warn her. I'm sure I wasn't alone in feeling horrible for this poor lady, who, by the way she was dressed did not look like she was homelessÂ…she didn't have all the usual accoutrements. It was rush hour, and I couldn't get turned around to get over to where she was. I hope a pedestrian or police officer came by and got her safely out of there.
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boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 12:06 pm
I'm usually a compassionate person. I give a lot to various charities. I understand being down on one's luck. I'm not one to yell "get a job" at panhandlers. I know life isn't always easy.

But this new guy on the corner near my house makes me a little insane.

Maybe it's because he can't settle on a reason for being there - work for food, trying to get home, disabled vet - he's a true renaissance panhandler, I guess.

Plus, I can't help but wonder about the old guy who used to work that corner. I used to slip him a buck or two now and then. I hope he just rotated corners, or found some help, and that he's okay.
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 12:09 pm
I thought about being a panhandler if squinney and I ever broke up. For 32.99 I could keep up my membership at the gym and go in every day to work out (because you have to be in shape to be homeless) then shower, using their shampoo,steam room, shave cream, mouthwash and towels. For an addtional 10.00 a month I could store my clothes in a secure locker.

All I'd need is laundromat money, razor, toothbrush and toothpaste out of pocket. Eating and sleeping at one of the homeless shelters.

Not too bad a gig. I'd park my bike in a hidden area and lock it up so I'd have transportation, and store my karaoke gear and guitar at one of the clubs I work.

Hell I'd be under the radar and probably even have a little discretionary money.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 12:11 pm
Ouch, Chai.

Those are the ones that really get to me - the ones that look completely baffled about how they came to be there.

Well, jeez, Bear, darling. You've got it all figured out. You could give lessons!
0 Replies
 
Tico
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 12:25 pm
I'm conflicted. Panhandler or trophy wife? Panhandler or trophy wife? I just can't make up my mind on a career path.
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 12:29 pm
panhandle all day... make the tax free money... then off to the gym where you get cleaned up and ripped with their toiletries and equipment... then home to the loving and waiting trophy wife.... work the system dude, this is America...
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 12:31 pm
Additional cues that lead one to believe they might not be as down on their luck as they say:

FAT dogs.

Bottled water.

Good shoes.
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 12:33 pm
...and if you have a baby that's hungry, get your ass to the shelter...
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Chai
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 12:46 pm
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
I thought about being a panhandler if squinney and I ever broke up. For 32.99 I could keep up my membership at the gym and go in every day to work out (because you have to be in shape to be homeless) then shower, using their shampoo,steam room, shave cream, mouthwash and towels. For an addtional 10.00 a month I could store my clothes in a secure locker.

All I'd need is laundromat money, razor, toothbrush and toothpaste out of pocket. Eating and sleeping at one of the homeless shelters.

Not too bad a gig. I'd park my bike in a hidden area and lock it up so I'd have transportation, and store my karaoke gear and guitar at one of the clubs I work.

Hell I'd be under the radar and probably even have a little discretionary money.


I've thought about how one could have a good job and just choose not to have a home.

I knew a guy who rented an airconditioned storage unit and slept in there when it was really hot. But he didn't work. I don't know if you can do that anymore, they probably watch out for that.

But like bear said, you get up, shower and stuff at the gym, if you had a job you good eat at restaurants, use public transportation, walk, bike, just have a place to store your clothes...it'd be great if you had a job where you could wear jeans and t-shirts. You get a PO box for mail, and do all your business on-line. You go to the library to read, or a movie, etc.

Man, you could really sock it away.

My only thing is...where could you sleep if you didn't want to stay at a homeless shelter, and couldn't rent a airconditioned/heated storage unit?
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DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 12:49 pm
My brother has a motorhome, which he parks at my dad's.
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 01:59 pm
Don't be a young lady who has graduated from an expensive private college that mommy and daddy paid for. After finishing your day you then get in your new car and pick up a "blind" man - who by some miracle is then able to drive your nice new car to your suburban apartment that you rent.

<yes this is a true story - when walking by this poor women - holding a hungry please help sign - my girlfriend said I graduated from college with her. Then I read in news article that this reporter saw this car (after describing the couple to a T), wrote down the license plate and was able to track them to their suburban home. He called and she came clean to him on the phone stating just because we have a nice home and live in the suburbs doesn't mean we don't need money - we are saving to buy a house.>
0 Replies
 
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 02:00 pm
I always wondered why there would be homeless people living in cold areas during the winter. I would think why wouldn't you start walking south in the fall - like some birds do. It would be much more comfortable to be sleeping in Florida in February than in New York. Its not like you have anything else to do or anywhere else to be.
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shewolfnm
 
  3  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 02:23 pm
I posted this earlier and thought it didnt fit, but now I am re thinking my decision.

I have said many times, I was homeless.
there is not a person I know, who does not know that about me except my some of my clients.

I am literally just going to cut and paste from something I have said before as Im too lazy to type out the same story but --

Quote:
I am not going to slam the woman who was begging, but.. I gotta put
this out here..

I was homeless for a period of my life.
I too used to be one of those people who stood on the corner with a
sign in hand.

I used to shower at shelters, live under bridges, sell drugs, even my
own body to buy food.
I have spent years addicted to many drugs and have been raped more
times then I can remember anymore.

Out of the THOUSANDS of homeless people I have ever met, I would say
less then 1% of the people you see standing on the curb are there to
benefit their lives.

9 times out of 10 they are the drug addicts.
And I can tell you for a fact that I have had kids stand with me
I have had dogs stand with me
I have stood next to broken down cars claiming it was mine
I have pretended to have been raped......... you name it......
it got me money.

I was 15-19 years old.

I worked my way out of homelessness by getting off my ass and making
a living.
I started by cleaning windows for businesses for 10.00
then I went to cleaning out ash trays for 10.00 and on and on and on
Then my family stepped in after they saw me REALLY making a diffrence
and helped me.


From my personal experience, the real TRUE homeless people are NOT
the ones you will see.
They are the ones who have tents and cars ( broken down) that they
live in so that they can sleep to get up to find work the next day.
They are in line at the daily labor places

not standing on the corner smelling of alcohol or shaking of cocaine
overdose.
If you really want to help people, understand that 5 dollars does
nothing in their hands.
But a bag of clothes to a center helps a woman/man have an outfit for
a real job.
Soaps, razors, volunteering time helps people get a stable place in
society .

If you own a business, PLEASE give them an opportunity when they
apply at your company.
Manytimes, I as a homeless person applied for a job even as a
janitor, to only be turned down because everyone knew "that address
was a homeless shelter" and they didnt want my kind there. Even
though i was willing to work.

Dont do your good deed for the year by handing out cash that will buy
ONE meal, or ONE bag of dope.

Do a good deed by helping them get started by going directly to the
homeless shelters and assistance companies.

Chai
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 02:24 pm
DrewDad wrote:
My brother has a motorhome, which he parks at my dad's.


Does he run an electric cord into your dad's house? Very Happy

Motor homes cost a lot of money. Where could you sleep and be cool in the summer and warm in the winter for minimal cost?
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Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 02:31 pm
Thanks shewolfnm - coming from some one who has seen it and lived it first hand - others can understand the best way to help. I know I have doubted whether to give money or not. When I worked in downtown, there were so many people begging, I ignored it. Now that I don't and do not see it so often, I tend to hand out more money.

Next time that happens, I will pocket the money and put it aside to donate to a shelter instead.
0 Replies
 
caribou
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 04:32 pm
I have always been willing to hand out whatever food I have with me to someone that needs it more than me. Money? Never. Edit: change that to never again.

My 2 Cents on advice for intersection beggars:
If you are using crutches and begging for money. When you do get some, please have the courtesy to use them until you round the corner.

If you are holding up a sign that says you are pregnant, don't use the same sign for two years with no change in stomach bumps.

Taking off your shoes while begging is a good idea, especially when it's cold out. But pulling them out from their hiding place in full view of commuter traffic when you are done for the day, bad idea.

shewolf, I'm so glad you are where you are now. And that you can share where you used to be.
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 May, 2007 04:39 pm
I once decided to make a living selling my body. It's what made me homeless.
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Diane
 
  1  
Reply Sat 3 May, 2008 11:37 pm
Shewolf, it was good of you to share your story again--it helps remind us that volunteering and donating money to places that really help, are the best possible ways to make a difference.

It can be a tough decision though, because there are people who will not stay at homeless shelters either because they are frightened--for good reason--or because they don't want to feel trapped or because they are simply insane. So many of them have been broken for so long that there is little left to rehabilitate. Where I used to live, there were people like that that I began to recognize. They had so little in their lives that I figured a dollar was little enough to give them one moment of pleasure or even of stupor to get them out of their lives if only for a few minutes.

My point if that they can't all be categorized. They are still complex human beings and sometimes their needs aren't easily seen, but they are still deparately needy in innumerable ways.
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