Panhandler Earns $50/hr

A Salt Lake City news station exposes a panhandling scam. Or, rather, one panhandler scammer -- a young woman who leaves her parents' house every morning to stand on a street corner and beg for money. She tells people she was kicked out by her boyfriend just a week before Christmas and she's trying to earn enough to buy a bus ticket back to Seattle:

It reminded me of Alan Abel's long-running "School for Beggars" hoax, from the 1970s and 80s. He claimed to be running a school that taught people how to panhandle professionally. The media, of course, ate it up because they love to play on people's fears that beggars are taking advantage of them.


Posted on Tue Jun 10, 2008


I don't usually give money to panhandlers because unfortunately, girls like this make people wary of whether they actually need the money. I tend to donate to charities where I feel more comfortable that my money is being put to good use.
Posted by DC  on  Tue Jun 10, 2008  at  08:41 AM
Imagine how much I could be pulling in with my two homeless babies!! $50/hr would be nothin'! 😉
Posted by Maegan  on  Tue Jun 10, 2008  at  09:30 AM
Charities are scams with their 6-figure "executives"...

You are best off just helping someone you know in need without expecting repayment in all honesty.
Posted by WD1  on  Tue Jun 10, 2008  at  02:35 PM
If you go to the city and ask a bunch of strangers for a dollar throughout the day, you could probably make at least $100 a day. $1 isn't a huge deal, and if you act like it's an emergency and you absolutely need it, it wouldn't be that much of a stretch that you could find that many people who would be willing to give you one.
Posted by Sakano  on  Tue Jun 10, 2008  at  03:04 PM
I had the pleasure of playing "Omar's" bodyguard for some of Alan's media appearances back in the 70's. I was working at the time as a security guard for the Yankees, Mets and Madison Square Garden so I had a police uniform.

When I was asked why Omar needed a bodyguard, I said that he carried a lot of cash on him and a lot of people resented what he did so I accompanied him when he went to the bank night drop. They bought it.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Tue Jun 10, 2008  at  06:15 PM
A friend of mine was working on the roof of a shopping center one afternoon, when he noticed the scraggly beggar on the corner with torn dirty clothes, sitting on a crate with a beat up cardboard sign begging for money. The guy got up, gathered his stuff, walked into the parking lot and beeped the alarm on his big expensive SUV and got in and drove away. Just another day at work for him too, I guess.

I think people's fears that beggars are taking advantage of them are well justified.
Posted by Kristen55  on  Wed Jun 11, 2008  at  01:39 PM
Stories like that are the stuff of urban legends, Kristen. is full of them.

A person could create a YouTube sensation by faking a thing like that on video.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Wed Jun 11, 2008  at  07:08 PM
I heard it first hand from someone I trust without hesitation, so not just another UL. You have the right to doubt it though, since you don't know me 😉
Posted by Kristen55  on  Sat Jun 14, 2008  at  01:57 AM
Until this January I was working at teh food pantry of my church. I got friendly with several of the homeless who were regulars. Stories about making a lot of money were common among them. However, they all said it was before Tucson outlawed using the medians to beg/sell. Out in Pima County it is still legal I think but I haven't been out in the county much recently so I don't know if anyone still does it.
I gave $5 to a woman just recently as she said she needed to buy gas and I was feeling good at teh time. Just as I was walking away a cab pulled up and she got in and it drove off. I think I got took.
Posted by Christopher Cole  on  Sat Jun 14, 2008  at  05:04 PM
To Alex Boese
Any word if Marlon Brando's School For "Learning How To Lie For A Living" was real?

This story on "Panhandler Earns $50/hr", made me think of a small newspaper account about Brando renting out a space somewhere in New York and getting together his acting buddies(I remember DeNirro and DeCaprio being mentioned) and making a "how-to" video course. Brando went outside and picked up a "bum" and brought him in and taught him the proper ways "according to Marlon"

Any merrit to this?
Posted by Diogenes  on  Thu Jun 26, 2008  at  07:55 PM
o.k. a couple of days have passed..
no answer..well I found that the "lie class" did exist, as far as published reports go.but, De Niro, may not have been involved.
I still wanna know if Brando, paused from his teaching and went out and picked up some guy off the street- and taught him .if not then I am in the wrong place obviously.
Posted by Diogenes  on  Sun Jun 29, 2008  at  08:42 PM
No turn over on the life span of comments , eh?

so what does it matter what I say...or if I say anything at all?

Street acting is mega monies waiting to happen...or the replica of "palm reading $10" neon pass by--- on every corner.
Posted by Diogenes  on  Thu Jul 03, 2008  at  07:14 PM
gave a girl who had "run out of petrol" $40 once, she said thankyou so much and walked off, as soon as she started to walk off i decided to follow her, she rounds a corner so i run to catch up, look around the corner and she's sprinting off into the distance looking back at me.

fucking bitch. i've lost my faith in humanity.
Posted by kemeny  on  Wed Jul 23, 2008  at  12:35 AM
Kemeney - Maybe she thought you were going to hurt her? That's why they call me Miss Gullible. I try and see the best in people, but it doesn't always work out. I think most beggars really are in need. Part of me thinks the girl in this post is a real idiot, but another part thinks if she has the guts to do it, then why not?
Posted by Catherine  on  Wed Aug 13, 2008  at  06:28 AM
This is really saddening even here in my country a lot of people would easily fall prey to beggars claiming they need help. I donate to church where I know it would be fair in spending for some charities.
Posted by Local Security Guard  on  Thu Oct 07, 2010  at  02:55 AM
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