Friday, May 14, 2010

Cheeseboy's Guide to Overcoming Awkward Social Situations: Volume 3 - A Human Begs you for Money

Hobos are generally much more resourceful than we give them credit for. After all, they take our money from us in exchange for absolutely nothing. Nobody else in the world does this effectively except perhaps Celine Dion and Stephanie Meyer.

It's 2010 and beggars have come a long way since those trying days of traveling on trains with one of those bandannas tied to the end of a stick.

Folks nowadays don't just ask for money. No, they have other methods and these methods almost always involve startling me in a Walmart parking lot. It always seems to be the same story...

"I need five dollars for gas money to get me home."

If you are like me, and I know most of you wish you were, you do not hold a single cent in your wallet (or man-purse, pouch, handbag, and bursa) AND I am pretty sure panhandlers don't accept American Express.**

Now, I know there are varying opinions on whether or not you should actually give money to these mendicants and we could probably have a rousing discussion while slamming our fists on mahogany roundtables in anger. Of course, during in this hypothetical altercation, we'd all have to wear white wigs with tails and our obscenities would have to be in proper Oxford Style English.***

Let it be known that I, Cheeseboy, promise not to judge you based on your panhandler giving beliefs.

Let it also be known that I, Cheeseboy, do not give to panhandlers for one simple reason: I never, ever have cash on me.

What I am here to help you with is the awkwardness you may face during a rejection of a panhandler. Or, at the very least, I am here to explain what works for me.

1. Pat your pockets. This gives the panhandler the allusion of poverty. In fact, if you visit a poor orphanage in the Ukraine, you'll find a hundred children eating porridge while patting their pockets in unison.

I use this method all the time and it seems to have a fairly high success rate. Beggars see me patting my pockets and they either know I am broke or they think I am insane. Or both. Either way, I'm good.

2. Start making bird calls while looking in the sky. It is important to do this as you are walking to your car as it will ward off any logical beggar before they make their initial approach. Incorporating this method will save you a lifetime of embarrassment.

Besides the above, it is a little known fact that bird callers worldwide are never bothered for money by beggars. In a recent survey of bird callers, only 15% of bird callers had been bothered by beggars in the past year. However, the other 85% admitted to begging. ****

3. When they ask you for money, ask them if they have change for a $50.00. When they say yes, ask them if you can have it because you really need the money for gas to get home. They will be so confused, they will leave you alone.

I call this the "ol' cadger swap".

4. If approached by a supplicant beggar, tell them that you do not have any cash on hand, but you would be happy to give them a rabbit's foot for good luck. Then, pull a bloody rabbit's foot out of your pocket (both blood and rabbit's foot could be fake, especially if you are against this sort of thing) and attempt to hand it to the beggar.

Most of the time, the beggar will simply turns around and walk away. If they don't, you're only out a ketchup packet and a two dollar fake rabbit's foot.

I am convinced that if you incorporate these four easy steps, you will never experience an awkward or embarrassing moment with a panhandler again.

You're welcome.

** Although I am sure they will politely write down your credit card number if you offer it to them. Just be sure to give them the security code as well. They will need it for their online purchases.

*** Also, I'd like a few midgets wearing 16th century armor to be there to ensure tranquility.

**** Bird calling does NOT pay well.

49 comments:

Jason, as himself said...

This is funny stuff! Only I had to learn what to do the hard way:

http://jason-thejasonshow.blogspot.com/2009/02/human-turd-at-maggianos.html

Everyday Goddess said...

very good choices! i think i'll go with bird calls because i'm such a good whistler. seriously. you wish you could whistle like me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I like number three!

Petsitgal said...

Funny you should mention Walmart as the favorite beggar hangout because it's going on over in my neck of the woods as well! Beggars sure do not follow the popular addage "Beggars can't be choosers" when it comes to Walmart locations though as they know to hang out at the affluent neighborhood Walmart's and not at the scuzzy ones.
I often walk by and act as if I am deaf, annoyed, or in a big hurry but those tactics are getting old and overused so thank you for your advice. I will not use the bird-calling though as I am not good at whistling and I would make a fool of myself and we wouldn't want that especially in front of beggars of all people!

Beth said...

I'm still laughing at everyone wanting to be like you! :) I think the world only has room for one and only one Cheeseboy!

FabuLeslie said...

Oh, thank you! I hate that awkwardness... Here, in Austin, it happens in the grocery store lots. We have a grocery store chain called H.E.B., which stands for Hubert E. Butts. Seriously. Butts. Google it. Anyway, in the HEB parking lot, I usually just try to offer them some of the food I just bought because I never have cash either. Once I had a guy decline a granola bar, you know, "because of my teeth..." I guess the hobo dental plan isn't that great.

I also carry packages of cheese and crackers in the car for the roadside awkwardness that I feel when I don't want to give them cash, but don't want them to be hungry either. I've since dubbed this type of packaged crackers, "homeless crackers" because I give them to the homeless guys that ask me for cash. Or the ones whose signs claim, "anything helps."

Green-Eyed Momster said...

I blogged about this same thing when I was unemployed.
There are some advantages to being poor

I love your take on it.....

Esther said...

Once a homeless person asked me for money, except he left off the "Can I have. . ." part and only asked "Five Dollars?" I just told him "No Thank you." and kept walking. I left a very bewildered homeless man feeling rejected for accidentally offering me five dollars.

sammy said...

haha, seriously, the change for a $50 is priceless. there is no way that cannot work.

once a homeless guy in california asked me if i would give him a dollar to verbally abuse his wife....i'd break a $5 for that!



(you know im kidding with that last bit right)

Hope Chella said...

I love the bloody rabbit foot idea :) haha

Great post!!!

Nubian said...

Love #3 ~ now every time I see a panhandler your blog will come to mind ~ hmmm could this be the intent? ;D

RawknRobynsGoneBlogWild said...

Great strategies. You leave me with just one question: Where can I buy a fake bloody rabbit's foot?
xoRobyn

DeNae said...

Wanna hear the best panhandling story EVER??

I was at a gas station near my home, when two guys pulled up and began asking customers for money. "We just got into town, and we need cash for gas," the one guy said to me.

I looked him in the eye and said, "Why don't you ask your mom?"

He said, "What do you mean?"

I said, "Obviously, you don't remember me. My daughter went to school with you, your mother is a good friend of mine, and if you like I could drive you to her house three blocks thataway."

Stunned silence. Then I went in for the kill: I called him by name and said, "Idiot. Next time try panhandling more than two blocks from your own house!"

Oh, it was SWEET!!

Mr. Stupid said...

HAHA. This was hilarious. I liked number 3. Seems to be a good idea. But you better watch out for a hugely built guy. It might land a punch on your face...:)

Toodles!

Niki said...

um I've never seen a real-life beggar!!

ScoMan said...

I think #3 was my favourite, and I'll use it if I ever see another beggar.

The only other beggar who has harrassed me I gave money to because he knew my name, because I was wearing my ID from a thing I'd just been too.

It's hard to say no to beggars when they call you by name, and I'll never let it happen again.

Queenie Jeannie said...

LOL!

The Invisible Seductress said...

I may be a panhandler soon with the way this economy is...sigh..now I know what giving "scams" to avoid....laughing..

unmitigated me said...

Many people in the comments seem to be enjoying #3. I am a big fan of a good #2 myself, and I'm worried now, that I don't even know what a #3 is! Maybe I should see the doctor.

Geof said...

True story - the other day my wife and I were at an entrance ramp to a freeway and there was a hottie dressed in a bikini begging for money, sign in hand at all. I mean, she looked like a stripper, with the heels and makeup...it was surreal. Must have been a scam or something, but this post reminded me of that memory.

Connie said...

I've actually said, "NO" to panhandlers before! It works every time!
Last month, while in Salt Lake, the hubs and I were walking back to the parking lot when a woman came up to us and asked for some money. We told her no, followed by a sorry and continued walking. She then took a puff on her cigarette (she must have bummed that off someone) and proceeded to text on her cell phone! Poor, homeless, gal!

Martha said...

My handy dandy tool to deal with panhandlers is the word, "No". Works everytime!

smArtee said...

Haaaa...I used the "do you have change" one once..it was the truth though...My hubs always gives a couple of dollars..I do if I'm scared and alone...I heard that many make in upwords of 200 a day in NYC...Mmmmm should I change jobs..!

Joann Mannix said...

You are cracking me up with the crack ups today!

I think you and my oldest college girl were born under the same star. She calls them hobos, too and I'm always, "Hey, back in my day of the covered wagons, hobos stole rides in train cars."

Hobos.

And they are all over our Walmart. It's the Hobo's Delight in our Walmart parking lot.

And my daughter references midgets, all the time. So, there you go.

The jewel was number 3. I might actually use that one.

Oh, and one more thing. I gave you a shout out on my blog today. So, if you have any weirdos trolling your blog today, you can blame it all on me.

Sadako said...

I just want to say I love your image--it's awesome.

And your rabbit foot idea. I have to do that!

Karen said...

Awesome tips. We don't come across to many beggers here.

I'm your 179th follower, I want to see the video when you hit 200 as well.

mintifresh said...

One time, I think I was coming home from the temple or something spiritual like that, and I had to stop to get gas when this lady pulled up and said she needed gas money to get to California and her car was packed to the ceiling. I happened to have some cash and thought, okay, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. i gave her money and she promptly left the cash station without getting gas.

I think I will employ your methods from now on.

Ally said...

I don't see many beggers in our area, but the kids are always outside stores looking for donations and honestly, I never have any change on me anymore. We use our debit cards for everything!

When I lived in NYC, I would pretend I was on my cell phone or had headphones on and look away. They're clever in Manhattan though. They stop you and have funny things to say such as, "Lemme ask you something!" you stop and say "huh?" they say, "What's the best nation in the world?" you say, "huh?" They yell, "The dough-nation!!!" Get it "donation" ugh...

MiMi said...

I never have money. Ever.
Sometimes I'll offer food or something. They no likey.
Whatever.

Krista said...

Thank you for the tips! Just see if I ever talk to you at Wal-mart again. Gosh, you end up blogging about me. Keep the change.

blueviolet said...

I never carry cash either! I do like this bird call distraction method. :)

Unknown Mami said...

Hobos? Who says hobos anymore?

Your strategies are all very wise, but they presuppose that the "hobos" are within their right minds. Where I live they would be encouraged by such behavior and some would like a bloody rabbits foot. Panhandling is so big here that pretty soon they will be accepting PayPal.

The Empress said...

I have no fears since I have no money in my pockets. Ever.

That settles that.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Chaka said...

The last time a guy asked me for money because he was hungry I told him I'd take him to the Burger King across the street and I only had $4 on me, but we could each get 2 items from the dollar menu. He said he doesn't eat often and when he does he likes to go to Golden Coral so he turned me down. Who said beggars can't be choosers?

Dan said...

I can think of a whole lot of things that we give money to for absolutely nothing - it's just that most of them are politicians or government agencies. I've tried #3 on them, but it never seems to work.

Tammy said...

I (like many other comment-ers) LOVED #3! That's hilarious! And I also enjoyed reading the other comments. Those are some really funny stories!

When we had to find money to adopt Elizabeth I seriously considered panhandling. After all, shouldn't everyone want to give to a mother standing with a sign saying "Need $25K to adopt a child"?

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

Great stuff Cheeseboy! You forgot that after you pat your pockets, you have to shrug your shoulders with an sympathetic look on your face....

Teachinfourth said...

Whey have a sign proclaiming that they're hungry, I swing in at a store and buy a few items which I hand to them. They always express appreciation for fresh fruit and a sandwich. Of course, I'm sure many of them would prefer cold, hard cash as perhaps I might have not bought their favorites…

Women holding signs with a kid will always get me to hand them a few bucks. I guess I am a sucker.

Adoption of Jane said...

I am a sucker for the homeless. Maybe because I spent most of my early 20's on the borderline of losing it all. I am such a sucker I know most are gonna buy alcohol and I think... hmmm if my life was that messed up I'd wanna be drunk too. Yup, I'm a sucker!

onlyoublog said...

LOL! Where I live, the panhandlers/homeless all hang out by the highway or whatever that road is called right before you turn into the shopping centers. I typically avoid eye contact and this is the trigger for my husband and I to lecture our son about the importance of doing his homework. Apparently they did a segment on these guys on the news once - once they are done with their shifts they run behind their trees where they parked their minivans and drive back home.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

I never have cach on me either. So, *whew* I'm safe!

Pedaling said...

thank you so much- i really needed these idea's and am going to try them---really, i am.
i'm embarrassed to say i gave $5 in the parking lot once.
Once.

on you sidebar poll you should have included rarely- that's the one that fits me best.
should i just vote sometimes?
that's what i'll do- but, rarely would fit better.

does that sound selfish?
i could go on to my reasoning-
maybe another time.

Aunt of 14 said...

You know what I really hate? I hate those people who pretend to be deaf and beg for money because they're deaf. That is an insult to me. *I* am deaf, and I have a job! Now if you're begging for another reason, fine, but if you're doing it "just because you're deaf" then don't come to me. Just... don't.

Once in the mall, a deaf girl/lady/whatever handed me a little business card. On it, it said I'm deaf. Please help me.

So I started using sign language. That lady was so confused she shook her head and fled.

There. Problem solved.

Lori said...

Hmm. Do you think these strategies would work on the guy who tries to sell me a taco out of his trunk in the Walmart parking lot? Not a "hobo", but just as awkward.

mama-face said...

LOL

The patting the pockets technique works well with friends as well.

Aunt Juicebox said...

Have you got any tips for solicitors at stores, trying to sell you siding, or bathtub surrounds?

Powdered Toast Man said...

I was wondering when my bloody rabbit's foot would come in handy. I don't do bird calling. I prefer lizard clucking.

tiburon said...

I am soooo putting the Ol Cadger Swap into effect.

Plain Jane said...

I MUST tell a story. I live in LA and there were several different beggars who hung out by the freeway on-ramp. As I was stuck in traffic one day I watched one work his way down the line. When he got to my car, he said, "That is one ugly car" and moved on. I guess he figured if I had any money I would have painted my purple neon some reasonable color.