kottke.org posts about homeless

How panhandlers use free credit cardsAug 31 2010

A reporter for the Toronto Star handed out prepaid credit cards to panhandlers and waited to see what happened.

"Can I trust you with this?" I said, handing him a $50 card and telling him to buy what he needs, but that I need it back when he was done. He nodded and scrambled to his feet. He said he would be back in a half-hour.

He came back right on time, slurping from a large McDonald's soft drink cup -- root beer -- and with sweat on his brow. He wanted to have pork and rice from a Vietnamese noodle joint on Spadina but they wouldn't take the card. So, he scrambled to McDonald's. Lunch was a double quarter-pounder with cheese.

The reporter's offer was frequently declined, which seems surprising at first. But panhandlers are savvy businesspeople. They didn't want a short-term and potentially risky venture interfering with their main panhandling income stream. Eyes on the prize. (via the browser)

When Terry Gilliam checked out of aAug 16 2005

When Terry Gilliam checked out of a NYC hotel a few minutes late, they charged him for a whole extra day. To get back at the hotel and do a good deed, he tried to find a homeless person to stay in his stead but couldn't locate one. (via gf)

Jorn Barger, homeless in SF?Jul 05 2005

Jorn Barger, homeless in SF?. Barger denies this version of the story; he's the editor of the still-excellent Robotwisdom.

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