Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

A friend and I took our wives on a photo safari to The Plant City Strawberry Festival yesterday.  We met in a large parking lot shared by a Hooters and a McDonald's.  We left my car, and rode in his.  After dark, when we returned, I noticed a few people chatting behind a car a few spaces away. 

 As I was transferring my camera and tripod to my trunk, we were approached by man on a bicycle.  He interrupted our goodbyes and began talking.  My wife and my friend saw the “pan-handle “ coming and my wife quickly got in the car while my friend turned and said, “God Bless” before he too, got in his car. 

I asked, “You after money?”

He began telling me how he hadn’t worked in several weeks and was looking for money so he could eat.  I guess I’m a soft touch, and he seemed sincere so I pulled out my money clip and leafed through a few bills until I found a ”fiver”.  When I handed it to him; he said, “There’s a Chinese buffet up the road and I could get all I want for $7”.

I was caught off guard for a few seconds and finally, pointing at the group of people a few parking spaces away, I said, “Maybe you could get a couple of bucks from them”.

His demeanor immediately became sour and he began rolling away on his bike grumbling under his breath.  It  became clear to me that he now thought I was some kind of an asshole!

He went off in the opposite direction from the other people so I assumed he had already hit them up.  When he was about 10 feet away, I said in a loud voice, “You’re welcome!”.

No response.

Any of you have pan-handle stories?


Views: 2406

Comment by Barry Bernstein on March 5, 2015 at 12:40pm

I try not to make eye contact. Artists especially know what it is like to not have money. Maybe not photographers but potters definitely. You can always find some sort of work even if it is at Walmart or trash diving for cans.

Comment by Geoff Coe on March 5, 2015 at 6:35pm

Never let 'em see a money clip.  :-)

Comment by R. C. Fulwiler on March 5, 2015 at 7:11pm

Good advice Geoff!

Comment by Bert Herrera on March 6, 2015 at 8:25am

A couple of times I've offered to take them to McD's or the Mini mart and buy them some food. They've always declined, which, sadly, pretty much told me what they really wanted the money for.

Comment by Alison Fox on March 6, 2015 at 9:23am

Last yr I was in Milw at one of my wholesalers. Went to a gas station which btw, was right across from the police station. Older kid starts talking to me "Ma'am?" he kept saying over and over. I totally ignored him and pumped my gas. I'm walking into the station mart and he's still there, "Ma'am?" Still ignoring him he mumbles under his breath "bitch!".  Nice uh?

Comment by C Z Williams, Painter on March 6, 2015 at 10:15am

I once gave a panhandler a fast food sandwich instead of money only to see him throw it into the field as I drove away.  A tv channel did an expose' on panhandlers and a few years back one was seen pushing his wheelchair home.  Another channel followed a woman who lived with her parents in a nice home.  She would take the bus to her chosen spot for the day and usually made more than I made working 8 hours. You can probably google this one and find it on youtube.

While stopped at a major intersection my grandson said "LOOK"!  A beggar had a roll of bills about 3 inches thick and was leafing through them.

One point to remember is do not ever give to money to kids begging for money for their sports teams.  Our school board said they never send them out to panhandle and to call the police if you see them at any intersections as it is a serious safety issue.  They are collecting for themselves & I've seen them with gallon milk jugs filled with bills. 

Comment by becky blair on March 6, 2015 at 10:50am
We live in the uptown area of Charlotte, NC, and this happens to me almost everytime I walk up Trade Street. I do not ignore them or refuse to make eye contact. I rarely carry cash, so I just tell them "sorry, but I don't have anything" with a smile and usually get a "thank you, have a blessed day". A woman did the "Ma'm" thing to me near the post office one day. She told me I was the only one who had responded with eye contact to her in a couple of days... she was visiting in Charlotte (and not panhandling). She asked if everyone in Charlotte is racist. I explained that there is so much panhandling that people probably thought she was doing that... and that all the panhandlers in Charlotte are not African American. One homeless man caught me going into the market and asked if I could get him something to eat. I brought out a rotisserie chicken (I do not do this regularly) and it took me 5 minutes to find him! When i did, he asked about a salad from the salad bar!! I told him I couldn't get the salad and followed it up with, "you could say thank you." He did. We have had a number of experiences where a homeless person just said "have a nice day" and all they appeared to want was a return greeting. There is no guarantee in life that I won't end up in exactly the same place. I try to remember that.
Comment by courtney gillen on March 6, 2015 at 11:45am

 Where I live this happens on a daily basis. After twenty years or so it gets hard to be sympathetic. The best advice I can give is to keep a dollar or two in your pocket, never take out a wallet, money clip or open a purse. Be extra cautious when it starts with the phrase " can I ask you a question".

Comment by Leslie Turner on March 6, 2015 at 2:52pm

While I will happily buy food for anyone who tells me they are hungry, I very rarely give money. Anyone who insists on money instead of food is put on the list of folks to walk away from at first sight.

Comment by Anne Wooster on March 6, 2015 at 3:31pm
When I attended Maryland Institute College of art in Baltimore I was constantly asked for money. So my mom sent McDonald's 50 cent gift certificates. I had a crowd and they all wanted more. I felt bad. As a young adult I learned it is an endless pit. Most cities have food banks and soup kitchens.


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