I don’t know if this happens in your part of the country, but here in Washington, at many freeway exits, onramps, or stoplights, there are homeless looking people holding up signs. Invariably the sign is a variation of “Need help. Anything will do. God bless.” Sometimes the person has a dog, often there is a knapsack. The men are bearded, the women frumpy.
There was one female sign-holding panhandler I kept seeing at the same exit for a week or so. One day a man drove off the to the side of the exit in an SUV, from which the women disembarked to begin her panhandling duties. It was her job, you see. She was not homeless. She chose to beg rather than get a job.
Twice I have seen a panhandler walk across the street and get in a nice car and drive off. I have heard these people make good money as there are trusting, kindhearted souls who want to help. I hate to disparage but these sign holders, if they really needed help would seek out an agency. Some may be legit, but how many?
I thought one day, if my situation in life took a turn for the worse that I could be a sign holder. But my sign would be different. I would not have the ‘God Bless‘ phrase because that is pandering at the lowest form. My sign would be bigger, more legible, as the sign holders I see write on cardboard with a Sharpie, the writing an attempt to indicate someone barely literate, the printing small. I would write larger words for all to see. Nor would I write I was homeless, or a veteran in need. And I would not stoop to writing that I need money to bury my puppy killed by a car coming off this exit, said puppy now in my knapsack that I can’t look at for it is too unbearable.
No, my sign would offer something because I believe people should get something for their money. My sign would offer a short story for the unbelievable low price of $1.00, three stories for $2.00, five stories for $3.00 and eight stories for $5.00.
I may even hand out cards showing a link to my authors page at Amazon. And you lucky reader do not have to wait for me to be at a freeway exit. For $2.99 you can have my short stories “Cemetery Tales and other Phantasms” here http://www.amazon.com/Cemetery-Tales-other-Phantasms-Nelson-ebook/dp/B00G9JND9Q/ref=la_B00EEVHN38_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383669514&sr=1-3
Now that is a good deal. But I do need food and every little bit helps. And my dead puppy is still in the knapsack.