Giving Panhandling Bums What For

As sunny weather begins to return to the Northwest, so do the problems associated with warmer temperatures, including one of our area’s most troublesome nuisances: panhandlers.

The street beggars have begun their yearly migration back to the green utopia of the greater Seattle area, and by mid-June you’ll hardly be able to drive three blocks without being accosted by dozens of their carefully crafted cardboard pleas. It used to be that they stuck to downtown street corners, but surveys in recent years have found panhandlers in over 87% of Puget Sound neighborhoods.

You’re a compassionate person, but you can’t give them money every time you drive by. Most of the time you’re forced to avoid eye contact and stare shamefully at the steering wheel of your Prius as you wait for the light to change.

Keep in mind, we’re not talking about the homeless here. We’re talking about the bums out there that turn down real help from organizations such as Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, and instead choose to stand around on street corners looking scruffy and holding up a sign asking for handouts. We’re also not talking about the bums holding those condo for sale signs. While buying a condo in today’s housing market is a lot like giving your money away, the condo sign-twirlers are being paid an hourly wage for their “work.”

Some cities are taking measures to reduce panhandling, such as a plan in San Francisco to install “homeless meters” that can collect your spare change and direct it to organizations that are equipped to help those that are truly in need. A ridiculous scheme such as that is doomed to failure, which is probably why no Puget Sound city has announced similar plans.

So do we just throw up our hands and surrender our cities and towns to the swelling ranks of unshaven pity-mongers? Of course not! Thankfully, there is a solution—one that regular citizens can implement all on their own.

Here’s how you can do your part to stop panhandling in your neck of the woods:

  1. Organize a neighborhood meeting. Tell everyone that you have a foolproof plan to end panhandling.
  2. Set up a schedule where everyone takes a shift standing at nearby street corners and highway on-ramps with handwritten cardboard signs, just like real bums.
  3. When drivers attempt to give them money, instead of (or in addition to, if you like) receiving their money, throw a dead rat into their vehicle (partial decomposition optional).

Within a month (maximum) word will get out, and drivers will stop giving money to panhandling bums in your neighborhood for fear of having a dead rat thrown into their car, guaranteed. When people stop giving money to panhandling bums, the bums will stop panhandling. End of problem.

Some may ask: “Just where are we supposed to get all these dead rats? Should we practice animal abuse, or rob graves after they’ve passed away peacefully?” Good question. Fortunately, there is no need to abuse animals or rob graves. Simply get the rats from people whose very job is to practice animal abuse: Exterminators.

So there you have it: The perfect solution to end panhandling, no government money required. After you eliminate the panhandling bums from your neighborhood, be sure to throw a parade or something to celebrate your ingenuity. You’ve earned it.

About the Author

Martha Kostyra

Naked Loon Living Editor

10 Comments on "Giving Panhandling Bums What For"

  1. That’s pretty weird, guys.

  2. I have this picture on my computer. The really creative people are the homeless guys with the best signs (like the included picture).

  3. Ninjas killed my father also. I accept PayPal.

  4. What if, after trying out this obviously simple scheme, people find that they actually enjoy panhandling, and realize that throwing rats at people is actually bad for their newly discovered enterprise. We may have people quitting their day jobs to free them up to work the lucrative rush hours. This reaction could potentially flood Seattle with with wannabes, and increase competition for the best locations. Not a pretty picture. That guy better learn karate fast.

  5. I once saved an application from a fast food restraunt. I put it in an envelope and stuck a pen inside it. The local mall was where bums begged at the traffic light. I happened to come out of the mall one day and saw a beggar. The light was green, I slowed down and reached for the envelope. I handed it to the bum, He said “God bless you buddy”, and I drove off. I often wonder if he filled out the application, got an entry-level job and is now a franchiser somewhere, but I doubt it! (True story)

  6. Or you can give the panhandler an internet blog.

    He can start a “Fundraising Drive” and use Google Checkout to collect “donations”.

  7. Papa Ford | July 9, 2008 at 1:38 pm |

    I thought this was a spoof on news site. I must say this was a great article and could easily be published in a legitimate news magazine. These ideas should be implemented everywhere immediately.

    Keep up the good work.

  8. Tom, that was a low blow…

  9. I am ashamed to say this and please dpnt judge but im a panhandler. I undetstand why people hate us. In my case i tryed the homeless programs but i always got a million and one reasons why i cant be helped. Im a healthy young male and everyone just looks at me blankly and gives me exuses why i cant be helped. It seems unless ur an addict, mentally insane, etc ur stuck
    I want help and a job. If anyone is willing to help contact me
    I really want help

  10. wow you are retarded

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