Wednesday, September 27, 2017

How to Stop Panhandling Without the Law

Well hello friends, I hope that you are all doing well!

Panhandling, people standing on corners, "flying their sign" and asking for your money.

Over the course of the last two years that I've been involved in helping panhandlers get off the streets and showing the public those that are just after your money tax free, educating everyday citizens about the effects of giving a couple of bucks and how that can become more money than you make in a year, we've seen positive change!

While we're starting to see an effect in Roanoke and surrounding communities, I wanted to talk about the root of the problem and how YOU as a citizen can join together as a community and stop panhandling from overtaking your streets and your neighborhoods without use of having a law.

The Simple Step to Stop Panhandling

You may have heard me state it many times in my articles, speaking events, Facebook posts, etc. but the one simple key to stop people from panhandling is to stop the cash flow.

If you stop handing out cash; they will stop panhandling. 
Yes, its true. One of the reasons that people panhandle in the first place is because people hand them cash, it's called enabling. When you enable someone for behavior, be it good or bad, you are rewarding them for what they are doing and thus, it makes them feel as if what they are doing is a good thing.

As long as people will hand them cash (and the cash flow is enough for whatever they are seeking, be it drugs, booze or to cover funds to live a normal lifestyle) they will be there. And with good reason too....

Say that you work a normal job, a 9-5 like most Americans do. You get a wage every couple weeks or once a month. You work hard for what you do typically.

Now lets pretend that you just wake up one day and people feel badly for you because you held a sign. People started giving you cash, enough to cover what you make working that 9-5. While you might be standing there, it's easy free money. Why would you work a job to make the same when you can manipulate peoples emotions and make a quick buck?

Enabling people keeps them doing what they do, thus why panhandling has become a problem, we, citizens hand out tax free cash to those on corners and they continue to stand there asking for it, it's a cycle.

The Manipulative Play

What I mean by panhandlers and how many can manipulate you is sort of a tricky issue. See, there are REAL people in need that panhandle, however there are MORE that panhandle just to make a living; they simply don't need to panhandle, they choose to do it.

Where the manipulative play comes into effect is the way they dress, what they're sign says and how they come across.

See panhandling within itself is a choice, there ARE programs out there that help the homeless and those in need, trust me, there are plenty in Virginia and beyond. Take Roanoke for example, there are at least 5 dedicated programs for homelessness in our area and many more that support those programs such as our Blessing Bag Program.

If someone has gone through all the programs within that region and has failed them somehow and turned to panhandling, that says there is a problem with the panhandler, not the programs.

Where the manipulation comes into play is much like broadcasting, advertising to be more specific.You see, in marketing there are two methods that can open up ones wallet or pocket book, emotions through the heart and emotions through the wallet.

Emotions through the Heart Strings

This is very simple. You FEEL for them. Panhandlers use signs, pets, sometimes children in order to play on your emotions, to make you feel sorry for them. Advertisers use this alot in the world of television, magazine ads and the internet.

Take any prescription drug ad you might see on TV. Usually, the ad talks about the new drug and the wonders of how it works, some side effects and the like. BUT they are showing you images of happiness, people together smiling, doing activities together. in real life were not all smiles all the time twirling around in slow motion circles, but there is a play going on, an emotional one.

It says, if you use this drug you're life will be happy again. Much is the same about panhandlers. If you give them a couple of bucks, they'll be happy again in life.

While it's true, what you're not seeing is the reality of what they are doing, getting YOU to open your cash-flow to them. You believe that you are helping them get off the streets and you think you are doing good... and you are.... to enable them to get what they need so they can continue to panhandle.

Panhandlers use signs mostly to relay the emotional struggle and most signs are simply lies to begin with. Others, as you may have noticed use pets. Samuel, a known panhandler in the Va Beach area uses his children and minivan in order to score cash. Parked often at a Walmart or other shopping center, they use the "Need gas money and money to feed kids" type signs to get people to bit.

Emotions through Your Wallet 

The other way to get people to open up your wallet or purse is through your wallet. Savings. If you see an item that you through about buying but didn't there might be good cause, it's too expensive for your taste.

Where the emotion comes into play is the item being on sale. 30% off for example.

Take a look at the image below, which fridge would you purchase if you had to choose between the two?

The ONLY difference in the fridge and the ad (found on Lowe's website btw) is the price. One ad shows it being on sale while the other lists the MSRP price. Only a stupid person would buy the full price one on the right. It's a simply marketing ploy to get you to buy the one on sale. In the world of business, sale items might seem like a wonderful thing and they can be, but the sale item would also be an overstocked model, one that doesn't sell very well or one they are trying to get rid of because of known issues. Either way, paying $1699 is better than paying $2299 for the same thing. Sales, promotions, BOGO's are all examples of emotions to the wallet. This part has nothing to do with panhandling but I wanted you to be aware of the two differences, heart and wallet emotions that is.

How to Stop Panhandling In Your Area

While we tend to focus on South Western Virginia, can be applied nationwide.

While some people argue panhandling is Freedom of Speech, let them argue that. If you want to beat them at their own game, educate people into stop giving out cash. TRUST ME, if the cash flow stops, panhandlers will stop too.

Think about it like this. Say you had a yard sale in your home. You setup tables, put your items out there, put up flyers, Facebook event and you setup everything just right.... and NO ONE shows up. Would you keep having your yard sale, all day? All weekend? Actually, most people will shutdown early if they see no one shows up and actually buys stuff. However, if you had alot of people and a steady flow of foot traffic and people buying your stuff, you'd keep it going as long as people are buying stuff. Companies operate the same way.

Education is Key

Education is key here in the panhandling issue. Educate your friends, neighbors and family. Some will listen, some will simply complain. However if enough people join together and pledge not to give cash, panhandling will stop.

You can make use of this website. We encourage you take pictures and alert others where panhandlers might be located at to educate them. We also do speaking engagements through our non-profit, Blessing Bag Program for a donation.

Share our website or Facebook Group with your friends and family. 

If You WANT to Donate

There are plenty of local and national non-profits that focus on those that are truly homeless and needy.  They are able to literally stretch a dollar MORE than you can by handing out a couple of bucks. I highly recommend that you donate to those groups or better yet, if you can donate your time to volunteer or both!

For the Doubters and Complainers

If you have those that give you a hard time about making a post about panhandlers or if someone is uneducated about the issue, read up on how to address the doubters and complainers.

While a law is helpful, it's really not needed if you can setup and address panhandling within your own area. It might take a while for it to take effect but trust me, when people join together and stop handing out cash, people will suddenly find themselves with a cleaner, safer and better looking city.

Be sure to click on an advertisement on our website here, 100% of our ad revenue goes to the Blessing Bag non-profit that we run.


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