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A note to Philadelphia’s street population

I don’t want to make light of the homeless situation here in Philadelphia. There are lots of homeless people in this fine city, and I am sure there are a myriad of reasons why this is the case. As you might expect, some of Philadelphia’s homeless population ask passersby for change for food (or what have you).

I’ve live in Philly for awhile now, but at heart I’m still a New Yorker and as such I have no problem ignoring/saying no to panhandlers. However, I guess I have a kind face or look like a sucker as most panhandlers see me as an easy mark, so I often get many requests for money.

A good tactic for begging is trying to create some sort of a bond, either real or imagined. Someone who looks kindly upon you will have a harder time saying no. I get this. Sadly, most people who ask me for money often take the wrong tact.

Picture this: It is a spring day in Philadelphia. Our hero Scott (that’s me!) is walking across Rittenhouse Square with a song in his heart and a spring in his step. As he meanders across the square a fellow makes eye contact and initiates conversation. It is clear to Scott that the man wants money.

‘Hey, big guy! Have any spare change?’

And there you have it. Panhandlers of all types call me ‘big guy’ in the hopes that I will look upon this nickname with fondness and take out my big guy wallet with a grin on my big guy face and give them all my big guy money and be on my big guy way (no doubt to a big guy destination).

Here’s a tip, Philly homeless people, drawing my attention to the fact that I am a ‘big guy’ isn’t a service I consider worth paying for. Generally speaking, pointing out someone’s shortcomings isn’t the path to riches (Dr. Phil is an outlier here). When you see a short guy do you call out, ‘Hey! Short stuff! Gimme money!’

I bet you don’t.

In conclusion, if you want me to give you money don’t call me fat. And you can take that to the big guy bank.

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