Make That 180

by Jimsey

Chicago Tribune Article

Update to our friend from the last post. Apparently this time he’s been nabbed for being a little more than slightly aggressive. I wonder if this is representative of the other 178 arrests, or if this is rare and he’s more or less getting slaps on the wrist for just simply panhandling on the CTA?


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One response to “Make That 180”

  1. Mark State says :

    C’mon, Jimsey!

    There’s coffee out here to smell after you come out of whatever trance you’re in if you think this character has a family to support, etc. Panhandling aggressiveness is a definite sign of drug abuse and the frantic need to get cash a.s.a.p. to feed it.

    The wonder is not that this guy gets arrested for bothering people on public transit, (which should probably happen more often than it does) but rather that you are paying him any heed at all.

    Plus, he’s got no class. We’ve got a few regular panhandlers on the Toronto subway lines as well. I hate to pull a “better-than-thou” on you here, but ours are less unkempt and better-behaved. They range from a benumbed request for additional money for transit fare (yeah, sure, transit fare. Haw!) to a be-suited guy with a great line who only “needs” a dollar for some compelling purpose (he shows you the other two dollars to prove the point, and is so quiet and classy about his approach that you don’t realize you’ve been taken until he thanks you, gets up, and you watch as he goes over and sits down with an engaging smile beside to his next victim. (Net per day approx. $500.00…a buck at a time.)

    You want to write stories about panhandling? Find some guys/gals with class, with a shtick that makes them worth their $250-$800 per day’s earnings. But be careful you don’t ruin their businesses (oh, you didn’t realize panhandling is an entrepreneurial enterprise?) with too much exposure that might hinder their income. Photos and too much information is a no-no with the real pros.

    What do panhandlers do to earn their living? Some try to make a kind of entertaining encounter out of their approach for you. They give entertainment. Some give a religious person some feeling of being righteous by donating. (Their locations are festooned with religious artifacts.) Others at stoplights carry signs and may walk from traffic light to traffic light and along the car lineups there with a really interesting look of poverty and a battered paper coffee cup. In Toronto, there is a group of these latter panhandlers that own a condo in a very posh part of town and don’t look at all like that when they are out and about as themselves. I admire the work ethic of these guys; walking up and down those traffic lines all day long. (Net $240 -$500/day). Lately, they haven’t been working weekends and disappeared for a month or so around the cold snap.

    Still others have a regular location where they can be depended upon for a cheery hello and an interesting conversation. They know most of their customers by name and are conversant with their personal goings-on…like a friend or acquaintance one might meet daily. They even have daily donors and can tell you who won’t give them a nickel, and why. Our local mendicant of this variety has his own website: “”

    What those in the panhandling business all do is work long hours and face constant rejection and possible physical harm from their public. And the most difficult thing they all do is shed their human dignity. That’s extremely difficult work. Try it sometime.

    Stop regaling us with the bums.

    Meanwhile, don’t despair because our panhandlers have more class than yours, because our waterfront is imminently due to be piled up with privately-owned high-rise condos, and we will forever lose our current opportunity to become another Chicago.

    And your city’s planned beauty and concern for the cityscape enjoyment of its unborn generations shown by planning with the future in mind, by far, beats anything I can come up with to match you in any other category here in Toronto.

    But hey, we beat you in the panhandling department.

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