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Old 06-27-2018, 12:05 PM
Location: Here
1,694 posts, read 1,493,429 times
Reputation: 1332


Maybe it's just me or where I live but over the last five years I have seen a lot more panhandlers than before. Every high volume intersection in my city (Columbus, Ohio) seems to have a panhandler. Sometimes I wonder if they work in shifts. I write this now because I just got back from shopping at a Meijer department store and was hit-up in the parking lot by a woman who drove up alongside me as I was walking. She proceeded to give me a sob story about how she needed money because her car did not have much gas and she had to travel 50 miles to care for her sick, pregnant sister who was alone. I had heard almost exactly the same story, nearly word-for-word a few weeks earlier from a different woman in a different parking lot. Neither got my money. You can thank all of these people for your reading this post.
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Old 06-27-2018, 02:15 PM
Location: Mars City
5,091 posts, read 2,136,536 times
Reputation: 7505
I never see panhandlers where I live. And I know of no laws against it either.

Must be a regional thing...
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Old 06-27-2018, 04:19 PM
Location: Florida -
8,760 posts, read 10,832,098 times
Reputation: 16632
Over the years in street ministry, I watched panhandling move from a way to raise a few dollars when one is hard-up ... to an industry. Many guys from the missions in various areas have food, shelter and clothing, but, use panhandling as a means of raising money for cigarettes, alcohol and misc.

The "will work for food" signs at the corners are easily fabricated (as are the 'homeless veteran, need help') - but, typically meaningless. They know perfectly well you are not going to stop what you're doing, invite them into your vehicle and take them home to mow the lawn or paint a room ... which is why they are there, instead of at the day-labor office.

I'm all for helping people and have done so for many years, but, throwing money at people on the streets is easier than getting involved, yet, doesn't really help anyone. Many, however, do that out of a sense of 'guilt' over not substantively getting involved (financial or time) elsewhere.
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Old 06-27-2018, 04:59 PM
26,304 posts, read 12,831,657 times
Reputation: 12549
I stopped giving these people money a while back. The horrible thing is-some of them really DO need the help. But the con men and women, and the lazy have found a new place to make money.
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Old 06-27-2018, 05:20 PM
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,372 posts, read 21,218,356 times
Reputation: 24196
I read a biographical book of a homeless person in Austin, his years on the streets. He never, ever resorted to panhandling as there was no need for it. Only the laziest panhandle, particularly for food.

He astounded me with the treasures he'd find dumpster-diving every day, his best catches around college dorms, as many of these students come from middle/upper class families and they're always throwing away things of value, particularly at the end of a school term, when all gets thrown out, even liquor!

He'd even find pharmaceutical drugs thrown away, which he sold to other homeless people for extra money. He'd go to pizza places after they closed and find uneaten pizza's thrown in the trash, or to 7/11's where, at the end of the day, sandwiches would be thrown out. Completely safe to eat!

His take on the panhandlers was a good number of them used the money for drugs/alcohol. But never get fooled by those that say they're hungry, starving.
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Old 06-27-2018, 06:48 PM
Location: A tropical island
4,566 posts, read 4,432,455 times
Reputation: 11210
I can't remember where I read this, but yes panhandling has become an industry. Some of the people you see at intersections with their cardboard signs have a boss. The boss assigns intersections and takes a cut of the donations.

Maybe I'll Google later to find some links.
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Old 06-27-2018, 07:20 PM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
29,750 posts, read 54,373,866 times
Reputation: 31045
One was interviewed that worked the freeway offramp in upscale Bellevue, WA, with face blurred on the TV news. He claimed making an average of $300/day, tax free. I pass 15-20 a day in Seattle, and most of us that work in the area ignore them, but the summer tourists and cruise passengers often give them money.
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Old 06-27-2018, 07:46 PM
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
2,817 posts, read 1,004,343 times
Reputation: 2847
This will only decrease when the older people who haven't gone cashless stop driving around.
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Old 06-27-2018, 07:53 PM
Location: State of Denial
1,907 posts, read 957,275 times
Reputation: 10168
There is a major intersection near my home that I pass frequently. There are panhandlers on all four corners and frequently in the medians.

I have seen them being dropped off from a van during the day and picked up after the evening rush hour is over.

Sure sounds like an industry to me.
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Old 06-27-2018, 11:14 PM
Location: Charlotte, NC
4,761 posts, read 6,433,910 times
Reputation: 5271
Originally Posted by DKM View Post
This will only decrease when the older people who haven't gone cashless stop driving around.

I recently read something about a panhandler with a credit card reader on their phone. I wouldn't assume the panhandlers won't evolve.

As far as it being an industry, I absolutely think it is. The nature of my work takes me to some parts of town that many would consider unpleasant, poor. The panhandlers have, over the years, changed their tactics. They'll bring out kids. They'll have a dog. The sign stays the same and they try to pull the same scam on people day in and day out. $2-5 every time the stop light cycles can add up to some real money. They're not just in the bad areas now. They have set up shop in the upper income areas because they feed on the "rich guilt", we'll call it. The "oh, he looks so sad" factor really rakes in the cash.

Add in the 'pimps" that drive them to and pick them up, yep, it's a booming business. I call them pimps because I really don't have a better word at the moment, and it really does seem to fit.
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