27 November 2012

Panhandlers' income

MADISON, Wis. - Panhandling in Madison can be more lucrative than the jobs of many people who donate, a WISC-TV investigation revealed...

WISC-TV went undercover for two and a half hours Nov. 9, first on the corner of Gammon and Watts roads and later at Gammon and Odana roads on the city's far west side. An employee posed as a panhandler, and donations received during that time included $80 in cash and change, a box of granola bars, a banana, pizza and a soda. In total, the money and food obtained equaled $36 an hour, or more than $70,000 a year without paying taxes.

The money, plus a matching donation from WISC-TV, will go to the Salvation Army of Dane County to help with the agency's family shelter program...

McCaw broke panhandlers into two categories: those who are actually homeless and need the money, and people who sometimes have houses and jobs and prey on generous members of the public for spending money...

Police and the leaders of charitable organizations urged Madison residents to give to charities that provide meals and shelter to the homeless. 
Further details at Channel3000.com


  1. "...more than $70,000 a year without paying taxes."

    Assuming a 40 hour work week with an average of $36/hour.

    A pretty big assumption.

    1. o.k. cut it in half and it's still as much as a teacher's income.

  2. On a bit of a tangent, but there is an article from Pentagram papers about the signs that panhandlers carry. Here is a link to the site; I think you will enjoy the forward, written by Texas musician Joe Ely.

  3. Oooh, this fries me on several points.

    First, the donation to the Salvation Army makes them look kind, while the severe drop in donations panhandlers get because "they make more than me" response of those who hear of this story. Which actually makes them pretty mean.

    The panhandling was done during the start of a new ban on such practice, so competition was probably very low. And who/what/location the panhandler's effort counts too.

    A dirty black guy with an empty coffee cup as shown in the beginning of their video ain't getting $80. A woman with "Need money to feed my daughter" along a busy road is what their actual panhandler was.

    For comparison, here's a one-armed black guy in Chicago being interviewed who's only got a quarter so far that day. (And check out a couple more videos by Invisible People, its great stuff.)

  4. This reminds me of the Sherlock Holmes story "the man with the twisted lip".


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