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I did some panhandling today as mentioned in a previous post. I sent a press release out via PRWeb.com and sent it via email to some of the business editors of the Oregonian (our local paper.)

A reporter called me today and did a phone interview and said she was going to pitch it to her editor and see where it goes.

I went to one of our busy intersections today for my first day of panhandling, but realized it wasn’t going to be safe doing it there because it was a 4 way stop and very busy, so I risked averting someone’s attention from going when they shouldn’t and/or vice-versa.

So, I went to a major intersection just off I-5 and stood at the light. I was dressed nicely and I smiled to everyone and held up the sign that is linked on the previous post.

I only stood there for an hour or so. I’ve determined I’m a fair weather beggar. 🙂 It was getting a bit too warm for my tastes (79 degrees.) Okay, so I’m a wimp.

It’s weird standing on the same corner that I’ve seen vagrants standing, begging for money. Sure, I was dressed nicely and I drove to the spot in a 1994 Lexus LS400. I also had a cell phone hanging on my belt and my sign was professionally done and I was asking for substantially more than your average vagrant. But for all intents and purposes, we were there for the same reason. We needed money.

The most striking thing about holding a sign for money is watching people’s reaction to your entreaties. Some don’t have any qualms looking at you and yoru sign and in some cases smiling at you. You can tell that others would rather lick a cow’s tailend than look at you. Most were pretty much indifferent. I expected many more “oh-my-God” smiles and pointing. I did get lots of “thumbs up” as if to say, “I know how you feel and good luck.”

Out of the 1000 or so cars that went by me, though, only ONE person gave me a “you’re disgusting for doing this” look. Only one. I was kind of surprised. But then again, I really didn’t expect it since my sign was obviously not asking for money like normal panhandlers do. Maybe she didn’t assume it was a request for an actual loan. But, dirty look, I got anyway. (As Yoda would say it.)

Two people actually beckoned me to their window and asked quickly what kind of business I was needing money for. I politely told them the 10 second synopsis and then pointed at the sign when time was short and suggested they visit the website.

This was about 4 hours ago, as I write this. No one has contacted me yet from today’s begging session. I’ll keep at it, if for no other reason than just the experience of it. If you’ve never done something like this, I highly recommend doing it. Perhaps just hold up a sign advertising your business, or some other message. It’s a great way to watch mankind at its best and worst.

More updates forthcoming as this project unfolds. (It’s supposed to be getting into the high 80s and low 90s the rest of this week. I might put it off until next week. Not sure yet.)

Meanwhile, my Post-It idea is taking on a life of its own.

I love America.

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