Saturday, September 15, 2012

10 Signs held by beggars

Begging is a time honored tradition that dates back to the Bible and earlier.  I knew a man in the Netherlands that claimed that he made as much money begging on weekends from tourists as he did working at his job in a bank. If you've decided to give up and try to skirt the system that pays you for not being able to work by begging for money you don't have to report, you might want to try some of these signs to help on lookers part with a bit of their cash.

1 - Will work for food - A classic.  Usually you'll find this one held by someone that appears to be able bodied, but is probably not clean shaven and maybe a bit grubby.  The idea is that somehow if you were to give this man a good meal, he would do some simple yard work or maybe cleanup on a construction site.  Of course it would just be easier to give him money.

2 - Help feed pete - A different take on the Work for food mentioned above.  This one features a grubby man that doesn't really look like he cares along with a dog.  The man's given up.  Life wins.  But then he must think about his poor companion.  Pete the dog.  What about pete?  Who will step up and take care of Pete? Won't you help the man feed pete?  I witnessed this one in San Francisco.

3 - Anything helps - Sure it does.  A man has fallen on desperation.  He has made every effort, but life has simply dealt him a 9 high in the pai gow hand of life.  The man using this sign just lacks any creativity.  Any assistance at all is appreciated?  This is really open ended.  Anything helps what?  helps who?  I guess a spare dollar will help.  I usually see the anything helps guy on the entrance to a wall mart or maybe a sams club.

4 - Help a vet - Many times, but not always a grizzled man in fatigues.  The military angle is popular because we know that there are people that have been injured and left behind that have given their very lives in military service.  I would like to think that a beggar wouldn't say this unless he was an actual veteran.  Then again, I would like to think that a veteran would have even more access to institutionalized help then the standard indigent.

5 - Ran out of gas - Just a regular guy that forgot his wallet or had it stolen.  I always wonder how this guy could lose his wallet yet have cardboard and marker to make a sign. This one gets better the more expensive gas is.  Once he's collected enough for a tank of gas he has to either fill up and go on his way, or clear the money out of his card board box so it appears he doesn't have enough for a gallon or two.

6 - Stranded - This guy usually looks ok, just a bit bewildered.  Though the fickle hand of fate he is stranded and only needs a new car part to be on his way.  A friend of mine offered to go to the parts store and help this guy out because him in the same place on the way to work every day for a few days in a row.  The guy didn't want that.  The next day he offered the guy a part again and he accepted.  They went to the parts store and he bought the guy a part and the guy wanted the receipt as well as the part.  clever.

7 - Beer Money - Regular looking man usually with a beer gut.  This straightforward sign was seen by me in New Orleans many moons ago.  I thought it was refreshing in the wake of so many that were willing to work for food.  Someone must have figured out that sometimes humor is just as likely to get you a donation as pathos.

8 - My baby is hungry - The only female entry in the list (yes I really only tend to see men with these signs.  Sometimes they bring their kids along to enhance the call of their need, but it's still a man with a sign).  I've only seen this with women in European tourist locations.  A woman will be sitting with a small (sometimes not small) child that is just enough to tug at the heart strings of the wives of husbands on vacation.  I would say it might tug at the husband's heart strings as well, but I'm going with the odds. here.  Everyone knows tourists have deep pockets.

9 - Help the 99% - Usually some kind of hippy dude with the matted dread lock hair.  I thought it was interesting because it put you in the temporary role of the 1%.  I know that while I'm probably doing better than your average sign beggar, I'm not really even close to a 1% er.  So I'm not really sure what the sign is saying.  By not giving, I'm still helping the 99%.

10 - New business seeks venture capital funding -  ha ha.  very funny.  Along the same vein as Beer money, but with a high brow approach.  I've never seen a venture capital seeker looking for a financial angel among the rank and file walking by.  He never mentioned what his venture was to be.  Probably a new kind of cardboard.

I understand the plight of the desperate and how they need help.  I will give you this bit of advice.  When you see a beggar carrying a sign looking for a hand out.  MOST of them are looking for money to feed the device that brought them to this point of their lives.  Now I could be wrong about some of them, if that's the case.  I'm sorry.  But if you feel that you should donate to these sign carriers even though your chances of helping instead of feeding more hurt is not very good; look for your local homeless shelter.  Give that institution a buck or two and know your money is doing some good.


christy said...

all very well, but what if the 'will work for food' guy is there by choice - someone who doesnt want to work a low-end job just to live a life that doesnt make them happy - and chooses to instead take his chances on the road, where like minded people will provide all he needs to continue (food, shelter, company)

just 2cents..

Macotar said...

2 cents that I wouldn't give to that guy.