Big Boxes Want Cut of Beggars’ Take

(Montrose) Chain stories selling everything from boom boxes to burgers want a piece of the action. Everyday the managers of these Orwellian robot bazaars watch rough-looking, often dirty panhandlers pocket coin and currency right there on their font steps.

In small increments these no-overhead ragamuffins beat the carpet for enough to make it worth their while. Who knows what they gather in eight hours. Is it more than minimum wage? Are they legit or are they in costume? Is the veteran getting support? I thought the economy was booming, at least over on Wall Street.

Now the big boys want their cut. The word’s come down from the bullet-proof corporate offices that the stock holders are grumbling about lost revenue and potential profit marginalized by the presence of the distractions on the corner.

“We have expenses too and you are not paying the power bill,” said the night manager at one of 200 fast food franchises that pockmark the south end of the city. “These people are parasites who put in nothing and expect a lot in return. They sit there all days often with their dogs and look hungry and miserable. I bet they go through the dumpsters after I close.”

Meanwhile in front of Wal-Mart, Denny’s, City Market, Home Depot the same ancient alms mantra stretches out a desperate hand. “Homeless-Need Food”, Vet Needs Gas Money” “Single Mom Needs Groceries”. Never used to see any beggars before and nobody had a lot of money then either. What changed?

Whether the multi-nationals will succeed in wringing a few dollars from the tattered trousers of a few unfortunates is yet to be determined. One left-wing politician favors the immediate hiring all of these sullied solicitors at the city and county while a right-wing politician says “petitioning vagabonds” should be removed to a spot out in the desert where people who wanted to give donation could easily visit them.

In 2017 the City of Montrose banned panhandling in Zona Rosa, the glitzy uptown tree-lined blocks set aside for tourists and the wealthy. Since then the under-the-bridge brigade has descended on the culturally significant strip like camp followers or side show curiosities, engaging in the world’s second oldest profession.

Marketing whizzes in several mega-corps, engaged in the heist of the beggar’s gold, have released an overnight campaign aimed at convincing the public that they are really nice and all. Some are paying bonus points to beggars.

Several have promised to give back up to 10% of their profits to feed the homeless. Some are searching for future CEOs amid the rabble and the disenfranchised.

– Susie Compost

Filed Under: Lifestyles at Risk


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