April 12, 2011

The Customer Service of Panhandling

Over the past couple of days I've really started to take notice of panhandlers because they are part of my every day urban life experience. sometimes I offer to share my food with them or. Buy them something to eat. I always offer a smile, unless they look aggressive, and try to say hello, at least making eye contact.
Yesterday there was a particularly dapper man on my street and when I said I had no extra to offer he called me a "white bitch" which only made me laugh since I certainly wasn't going to suddenly reach in my pocket.
Today, in Hayes Valley, a homeless man reading a book actually stood as I was passing - part of his customer relations plan. I didn't offer anything and when I passed him again later he didn't stand. Well, I guess we all have to evaluate the ROI.