Honesty vs. need?
Just tell me the truth! Everybody needs money, EVERYBODY, and everybody (even me)has a story. If you want to go get a drink, just say that! Don't give me a story about being a tunnel rat in Da Nang, or being burned out of your home, or about having to steal for food, or whatever. The truth will set my change free.

- Greg

Who's the best panhandler you've met?
Eddie from Toronto, Canada always had a smile, always had a witty line (ex: he would sometimes ask for bills, then clarify "but I don't take phone bills..."). Sometimes he would just be funny ("Spare change to buy a purple elephant?") just to give people a chuckle. He would ask pretty girls to spare a smile or a phone number, he would talk about the news, he would open doors for people....

- Marijke

Is panhandling like your job?
I think panhandling is harder. After you have done away with any pride and self worth you may have had, you then decided to "just take the money from those bastards" you can move on to panhandling. Panhandlers are predators and people that give (feel good, man how PC can you get) are the scared bunny caught in the head lights.

- Jim


There's been days that I am a little wrinkled, but I'm clean. There's been days when I came to the bank with heels on, my hair curled, dressed! And I asked for money, and I made it, and some people would say, "You dress better than me!" And I say thank you. And a lot of people would say, "Well, you don't look homeless to me," and I'd say "Thank you, I try not to." I never would look homeless.
- Prim
Sometimes I get out here, and my first hour I won't make anything. People going to work will give to me on the way back. They want to see what type of behavior they can expect of me. They see if I'm not making trouble or anything. 'Cause there's a lot of people out here that are homeless and are troublemakers. And you don't want to give anybody money that's just making trouble for other people. A lot of times you don't mind helping someone if they don't mind helping themselves.
- Gary
When people ignore me, I say God bless you. I'm only speaking peace, love and happiness! That's all I'm saying! And God bless you! And love the Lord! Praise the Lord, that's all I'm saying.
If they desire not to, I ask God to bless them. That's all. If they don't, God bless them anyway. I don't stop nobody. Amen. I don't stop nobody. If a person comes and throws a penny in, I say "Thank you, brother, and God bless you."
- Robert S.


Panhandler Focus:
Customer Focus:

Between the two, who would get your spare change?
""Joseph"", wearing dirty rags"Robert", wearing clean clothing and a tie

NeedCom is a project of Web Lab, in association with PBS Online.
All content copyright 1999, Cathy Davies.
Contact Us | What Do YOU Think?