Ben filled me in today on his panhandling theories and ethics. He claims to be the best in the city--a city in which people can get arrested for panhandling for asking someone to give them the time.
Best place to be: Rosa Park Circle, though the police know it too.
People to ask: College kids, businessmen, couples (especially if they're on a first date, and look like they want to impress eachother)
People not to ask: Elderly folks, people with disabilities, moms with a lot of kids. That's just disrespectful.
Best score, recently: A $50.00 bill
Worst response this week: "Get a job and get off the streets, bum." But at least it wasn't handcuffs.
Worst response ever: A good solid beating.
How to approach a college kid: "Hey man, I really want a beer. Help me out?"
How to approach a business man: "Excuse me, sir, but my girlfriend and I stay under the bridge down here, and we're just looking for a meal. Can you spare some change?" Always use the food thing with the business guys, he says.
How to approach me, personally (we did a test. I pretended to be someone walking by, and critiqued him afterward): "Hello, ma'am. I'm just looking for 50 cents for some french fries. Help me out?"
My follow up questions:
What are you really going to use it for? Booze.
What if I bought you french fries? I'd eat 'em, and then try someone else.
Where can you even get french fries around here? We're in a pretty inconvenient location. That's how I usually get the 50 cents.
My answer: I want something out of this, too. I'll give you 50 cents for a really good story.