Sunday, April 11, 2004

Panhandling Do's and Don'ts!

I realise salesmanship is a virtue that not all possess.
Take American foreign policy in the hands of George W. Bush, for example.
Or, on a more metropolitan scale, panhandling.

There are certain strategies I have observed around town for soliciting funds that are more effective than others.
For example, smell.
That's a "don't".
Be polite.
That's a "do".
Offer some of your Scope in exchange for a quarter or two.
That's a "maybe". I've had days where I'd have killed for a swig of Scope to keep me keepin' on.
Offer to "smack" someone if they don't comply with your request.
That's a "don't".

A practical application of these rules of thumb can have a positive or negative effect on your cup balance at the day's end.

Recently, an acquaintance of mine from Timmins (or was it Sudbury?) strayed a bit from my 'common sense rules', and his freeform panhandling was both unorthodox and unsuccessful.

A- (approaching me outside Union Station)"Hey, buddy! Can I speak to you for a minute?"
B- "Sure!"
A- "Look. I'm, I'm real embarrassed to be asking you this, but I. . ."
B- "Sorry, pal. I know the schpeel you're going to give; not today. Have a good one, though."
A- (to my back as I walk on)"Fuck you!!"
B- (amazed; turning)"What did you say?"
A- (amazed that I turned to face him)"Fuck you!!"
B- "Look, buddy, I was trying be polite and all you can do is tell me to fuck myself?"
A- "Trying to be 'polite'!" (mimicking my voice, like a girl's) "I know the schpeel! Fuck you!"
B- "Look, asshole! I do know the schpeel. You're real embarrassed, but you need some money to get a train ticket back Timmins, or Sudbury, or wherever, and could I spare some change. Am I wrong?"
A- (silent, a bit confused)
B- "There's no reason for you to tell me to 'FUCK OFF!' just because I don't want to give you money."
A- "I've got $30 already!" (shows me a ten and a twenty)
B- "Can I have some money?"
A- "No! Fuck you!"
B- "Fuck you! You've got more than me!"

I began to walk away again, when A tried to get the last word.
No one gets the last word with me. I hate having the second to last word!!

A- "I should smack you."
B- (turning to face A again)"You should what? Smack me?"

I was getting pretty indignant. This dude was trying to get money out of me in all the wrong ways.
And, I feel it is important to note that he was no bigger than a benchwarmer on an Eighth Grade basketball team. Now I'm by no means a goliath of a man, but if I can see someone's pattern baldness, I begin to feel at bit bold.

B- (nearly chest-to-chest)"If anyone is going to do some smacking it's not going to be you, little man! Try using some manners, asshole! This approach is getting you nowhere fast."
A- "Whatever!"

He started to walk away, but I felt proud because he kept looking over his shoulder in what I construed to be a 'fearful' manner.

Afterwards, it dawned on me that I should have given him some money to get back to Timmins or Sudbury as part of my civic duty to clean up the manners of the city.

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