Sunday, August 24, 2008

Panhandling as a Business

Barbara Bradley, an editor with the Memphis Commercial Appeal, moved into the River City’s reviving downtown about a year and a half ago, loving its “energy and enthusiasm.” But a horde of invading panhandlers has cooled her enjoyment of city life. Earlier this year, she recalled in a recent column, as she showed some visitors around the neighborhood, “a big panhandler blocked the entrance to our parking area and demanded his toll.” Now a nervous Bradley avoids certain downtown areas, locks her car when fueling up at local gas stations, and parks strategically, so that she can see beggars coming before getting out of her car. “When I hear someone call out ‘ma’am, ma’am’ anywhere in downtown or midtown, I run.”

Read the rest of Steven Malanga on professional panhandling .


Jeff said...

I'm not sure that New York City has kept panhandlers at bay as the article suggests. Maybe it's just me but I've noticed an increase in panhandling especially around the Penn Station area that I usually pass thru. And some of it is getting aggressive where you're approached head on. And it seems to cover a broad demographic - male, female, immigrant or non-, young or elderly, and so on.
I do give at times but admit it's also increasing my anxiety at the state of things in general.

Michael Wade said...

I've noticed more panhandlers in the Phoenix area lately. These appear to be predatory and not simply people down on their luck.

I recall one judge's opinion extolling the "knights of the open road." He clearly never met some of these characters nor did he have to run a business with a few of them camped out front.