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Random Thoughts (Blog)

Will consult for food/free

Posted on April 24, 2010 at 9:22 PM

While it has been described as being both “three sizes too small” and “cold and black” my heart has *yet* to be called “less.” Growing up outside of San Francisco and Berkeley – where you would literally have to step over young, able-bodied people asking for “a little change, man?” or where people try and take the food off your plate while you’re still eating – it is impossible NOT to become a little calloused to people pan-handling.

 

Look, I understand; this economy sucks. Many, MANY people have legitimately lost their jobs, their homes, their savings, their everything through no fault of their own. It’s awful, and it sucks. And I truly feel for these people, and for them I’m glad that government assistance programs and shelters and every other opportunity exists. And I’m absolutely sympathetic to those people that are in *real* need.

 

However, at the same time I have a really difficult time buying into the fact that standing outside a Wal-Mart all day with a sign asking for help is the best way to go or even the best use of a person’s time. Or that some of these aren’t just people trying to capitalize on good will at a time that many are feeling like digging deep into their pocketbooks to help out. Now, I’m a very Type-A personality. (As in both Type “Awesome” and Type “Ass.”) So, I have a hard time understanding why someone wouldn’t be just WAY more proactive in these circumstances, doing *whatever* it took to turn things around. Anything. Going to Home Depot or Lowe’s and asking people to mow their lawns for $20. Going around asking people to wash their cars for $10. Or going to managers at fast food restaurants and offering to sweep the parking lot in exchange for food they are going to throw away. (Or making that guy at the Piggly Wiggly hand over that sausage. You know it wasn’t no ET, man!) I think that people would be a lot more willing to exchange cash for a service provided instead of just, “I read your sign; here’s some money.” Between Custom Theater and writing, I work two jobs already and I don’t even have to; I do it because I *want* to. (Not to mention this little labor of love you are reading right now. I give, because I love.)

 

So, I can’t understand people like this young guy, probably mid-20s, we passed the other day holding a sign that said, “Single parent, out of work.” OK. Really? You’re a young single parent, so where did you drop off the kids while you decided to spend the day standing around with a sign and a giant soda? I guess the problem is that I just don’t believe a lot of these people. Call me jaded. (Go ahead; I’ve been called *lots* worse.)

 

However, “consulting” is in my nature. I can’t help observing other people’s businesses or just their daily lives and thinking of ways that they could do whatever it is they’re doing better. Ways to streamline or maximize their processes, eliminate excess costs, whatever. It’s a gift. (Or a curse if you happen to be forced to be around me all of the time like Dana.) So, today, when I passed another group of people standing outside our Wal-Mart with “Out of work. Anything will help” and “Homeless. God Bless!” messages, I thought about what they *should* write on their signs. As in, if I were holding that sign, what would I write on it for maximum effect?

 

OK. So be honest. When you pass someone holding a cardboard sign, you’re thinking, “Why aren’t you out trying to get a real job?” Right? I’m especially thinking this since the corner where these people are standing is within .1 mile of a Wal-Mart – probably one of the largest employers in the entire country – an Arby’s, a Wendy’s, a Subway, a Chick-Fil-A, a Sonic, two gas stations, and the usual cluster of small shops and businesses that orbit the Wal-Mart galaxy.

 

So, here is the perfect sign, “I’m not lazy. I’ve applied at Wal-Mart and others. No one is hiring. I’d prefer a job, but I’ll accept your money. Thank you.”

 

There. You just gave me a couple of bucks. And we both feel good about it. Thanks!

 

If you need any consulting on your business, just ask. I’m always here. I know. It’s a gift.

Categories: April 2010, Rants

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9 Comments

Reply Pkscia@aol.com
4:01 PM on April 25, 2010 
You and Adam share the same feelins about the "men or woman" on the street. He goes a little farther and checks out the shoes and finger nails and that gives him the REAL truth if they are truly homeless or not.
I might get a sign that says "Husband now retired and my grocery money has been greatly cut...HELP Please.
Harder now to get the Big Jug."
Reply Dana
9:31 PM on April 25, 2010 
You either love John or you despise him. There's no middle ground. I've chosen to love. It's a gift. (Or so I'm told.)
Reply yapr
3:07 PM on April 26, 2010 
many of these people like to broadcast that they are down on their luck, in other words, they're narcissistic by nature.
Reply HTI Guy
4:55 PM on April 26, 2010 
I have had great luck shutting down panhandlers with these five words, "got change for a twenty?"
Reply HTI Guy
4:58 PM on April 26, 2010 
This phenomenon isn't much different than the guys who rip your bags out of your hands at the airport shuttle drop points. I had one say, "hey man, I work for tips!" "Well, Mr. Carpetbagger, how is it on stains?" Guess he better work on his value proposition and his overall salesmanship, eh?
Reply John Sciacca
5:06 PM on April 26, 2010 
HTI Guy says...
I have had great luck shutting down panhandlers with these five words, "got change for a twenty?"

Oh, that's great! I was always fond of the guys that opted to hang out by the ATM. That ONLY dishes out $20s. Like, really? I'm gonna hit you with a Jackson? That's what you're thinking?
Reply T~Law
5:08 PM on April 26, 2010 
i once gave a guy standing outside of a mc d's holding a "homeless and hungry" sign a happy meal; he un happily asked if I had cash instead. i told him his cash could have been on the monopoly tear off playing piece on the cup that I just threw into the garbage along with his burger. i kept the fries and buzz lightyear toy.... berkeley will jade you.
Reply John Sciacca
5:35 PM on April 26, 2010 
T~Law says...
I told him his cash could have been on the monopoly tear off playing piece on the cup that I just threw into the garbage along with his burger. i kept the fries and buzz lightyear toy.... berkeley will jade you.

Oh, Trav! I think this is the funniest/best thing I've read today. Thank you!
Reply T~Law
5:52 PM on April 26, 2010 
Oh, Trav! I think this is the funniest/best thing I've read today. Thank you!
[/John Sciacca]

yeah, i like the "got change for a 20?" i'm going to drive my beemer straight to BART after my hard earned 8-5 and try that one.