Panhandling Part II
November 23, 2011
— #addictions, #HCV, #homeless, #newlife, #recovery, #streetlife
So for a while now I have dealt with some pretty heavy subjects and my brain needs a break so I will do this post on something lighter in nature. I want to talk about something that I wrote my last post about and we see all over, that is panhandlers. I can speak to this from a unique perspective as I used to be one of them. I will do this as a series and seeing as it is the second post on the subject, this will be the second part of the series.
Most people seem to be turned off by panhandlers. They may be viewed as offensive to the senses or disruptive or just a nuisance. Well what about billboards, bumper stickers and advertisements in written material, on radio or on television? How about salespeople in stores? Arent all of these just as offensive? You may shake your head and say, ”that is different”. Well I tell you there is no difference between a salesperson and a panhandler.
Let me explain my reasoning on this please.
Both have an understanding about the wherefore’s and why’s of the ‘dress code’ they must adhere to.
Both must put in their frontline time in order to make a living.
Both have to have some level of ‘people skills’ (although there are people from both professions that could use a course or two in customer relations).
Both involve dealing directly with the public.
Both require you to be extremely aware of the various logistics surrounding your job.
Both involve the use of tremendous amounts of psychology.
Now, you may laugh at the comparison of the two occupations and not be able to see the correlation, so what I will do is let you know what I had to do and then allow you to make the comparison yourself
I would ‘work’ between the hours of 6pm and 4am seven days a week complete with ‘smoke breaks’ and ‘lunch’. I would cover the equivalency of one city block throughout the course of one day by trudging slowly and making my presence known. When within earshot of someone I would ask for help of a monetary fashion. Continue asking said question to people who pass until day was done. Count up the money and get bills for the change.
My research indicated that my target population should be university students. As well, I found, the students tend to be more amiable towards ‘street people’ and they were also an excellent source of constant entertainment,( it was better than reality TV).
I have to admit that I did have an advantage over many panhandlers, having had a background in various forms of marketing I was a quick learner and it didn’t take me long to learn to adapt to changing trends. As well I had a natural aptitude towards understanding and following consumer trends and marketing logistics. I was also fairly good at researching and was able to do my own ‘hands on’ research in order to find the people, places, things, where, when’s, why’s and how’s that worked best for me in this business.
So after a few months of research I decided on ‘my spot’ that I would sit at night after night. The site I chose worked out for me stunningly because it supplied a high level of traffic within my targeted demographic, namely, students. As well as access to fresh food, shelter and drugs.
So why students you may ask. Well truth be told I found a large majority of students to be progressive liberal in their thinking, so they were more open to taking the time to talk to me, and we all know what happens when you let the salesman talk.
So here are just a few of the tools I had at my disposal:
Ability to instill and/or inflate pity
Ability and willingness to change Physical features and/or appearance
Knowledge to create and maintain a ‘Uniform’
Voice inflection and tone
Control of pace, stance, and speed of movement
Now I will not go into details about all the in’s and out’s of panhandling and how these tools are used. For more information just go to your local library, all you have to do is pick up any book on basic marketing and you will have your basic blueprint of panhandlers.