No shame in his game: Panhandler opposes effort to restrict where he can ply his craft

The Daily Free Press interviews a guy who seeks donations for opening the door at the Kenmore Square 7-Eleven on a proposed city ordinance that would restrict areas open to panhandling - specifically, the middle of the street.

"At least I'm doing something for someone,” Price said. "I'm not robbing or stealing. I'm only asking, and the person I'm asking can say yes or no. I've got no shame in my game."

City officials say they're not out to stop panhandling altogether, but want to address complaints about particularly aggressive panhandlers.



Free tagging: 



Now ask him how much tax he'll pay under the proposed Patrick plan.


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Turf Wars

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En route to a Sox game last summer, I saw the most amazing turf battle -- for the rights to open this very door -- between the guy presumably described above and an older woman who had been opening the door for a while.

All forms of begging should

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All forms of begging should be illegal, especially this sort of panhandling.

If a person is coherent and capable enough to get up every morning and spend several hours a day opening doors for customers, wishing them well on their way, that very same person is perfectly capable of joining society, getting a real job and paying taxes like the rest of us.

No shame in what he does? If he's so shameless, why doesn't he consider forking over 25% of everything he earns to Uncle Sam. At least then I'd have a shred of respect for these people. I may even tip them the dime I just got back in change on my way out.


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He'll definitely be able to nail that job interview! Especially with all that panhandling experience on his resume. Sounds like the perfect candidate.
If only corporate America would hire someone with those qualifications. Seems like the issue isn't the panhandler here...

sounds like he has sufficient

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sounds like he has sufficient experience to land a greeter job at Walmart, Target....

"All forms of begging should be illegal"

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How much jail time would you recommend for, say, the American Cancer Society, or the BC Alumni Office when they call looking for $$$$?

Or how about when a co-worker runs into me on my way to the cafeteria and asks me to buy him a cup of coffee because his wallet is upstairs at his desk? Would you let him off with a warning, or would you want to see him do some serious time?

You can't be serious... did

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You can't be serious... did you just compare the panhandling of useless homeless people to donations provided to the American Cancer Society?

Sure, give that waste of life who's opening your door a dollar for his cigarretts, so that he can then benefit from those life-saving donations to the American Cancer Society.

Then, once he's cured, he can get back to what he does best. Opening doors.

Massive hole in your argument, my liberal friend.

So how do you delineate

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So how do you delineate between the "useless homeless people" and "regular useful people"? How do you know? Typical conservative argument: marginalize poor/homeless/minorities to prop up your argument for a better place to live.

I'll do you one better. Your argument is a piece of shit.

No one brought minorities

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No one brought minorities into this other than yourself, buddy. My argument is "shit"? Way to play the race card right away.

And exactly how can you "marginalize" the homeless? Do they pay taxes? Do they vote? Respectively, the answers to those questions are no, and not likely. They marginalize themselves, and there's absolutely no way to argue against that.

I have no objection to the homeless living amongst us. There are programs in the city to help them, and rightly so. But then the able-bodied ones beg and sob-story their way into panhandling a decent yearly tax free income. And yes, I have a problem with that, which is why I don't fall for their efforts to separate me from my hard earned cash.

I would like to extend an open invitation to you

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Please feel free to message me here or tweet me if you'd ever like to help out at one of our many homeless shelters in the area. Perhaps if you spent some time serving them and getting to know them you'd change your mind.

I relentlessly mock of Sob Story Guy's stories but he's a scam artist. 7-11 guy - he's harassing people and should be arrested for that.


When you volunteer at a shelter or a meal program and serve dinner to a guest knowing that's the only food they've had all day, your perspective about the homeless changes. That's why I'm offering the opportunity for you to have that experience.

By the way, you're very gracious. I'm glad to read that you

have no objection to the homeless living amongst us.

I'm sure they have very little objection to you living amongst them.

What a wonderful and civil

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What a wonderful and civil response. I really appreciate when people take the time to write out thoughtful comments like this. In day to day life, we tend not to encounter people with vastly different opinions from our own and the internet has become such an important forum for discussing perspectives different from the ones we hold. Often, it's not civil. But comments like this -- that really elevates what could otherwise devolve into a typical, nasty string of comments that goes nowhere.

(And, no, I don't like being harassed. And Sob Story Guy annoys the hell out of me, too. And I also am really bothered by this one woman who always asks in this mewling voice "Can you buy me a cup a coffeeee???").

I would also recommend reading Nick Flynn's memoir, Another Bullsh*t Night in Suck City (republished under the title Being Flynn) about working at the Pine Street Inn in the 1980s and seeing his own father there. Reading that book really gave me some insight into what their worlds are like, as well as how their families are affected. I have worked with homeless clients and presently work in the South End (with very wealthy people) and encounter people who need the services of Pine Street Inn and other services daily.

I am FAR from being a bleeding heart leftist

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but what do you suggest society do with all it's 'useless' humans? Gas chambers and an oven? Die on the streets while you and others drive by with a smirk on their face, maybe snap some pics or video to post on youtube and worldwidehiphop? Many homeless people are in fact seriously mentally ill, should we execute or allow to die on the street schizophrenic homeless people? People afflicted with serious depression and PTSD? And what about the many excons [I'm not in ANY way defending their behavior and reasons for being excons] who literally can't get a job after getting out of prison, or find a place to live? Or just people who're genuinely down on their luck? Have you ever been down on your luck in your life and found yourself in a precarious situation? It's also usually people who whine the most about panhandlers and homeless that will at the same time mock and laugh at people holding down menial and lowly jobs. In other words, they're often just plain old assholes.

Seriously, as far as panhandling is concerned, it's THE LEAST of our society's problem. The MASSIVE level of fraud and corruption among especially our political and business elite cause FAR MORE damnage to our country and society than a homeless guy or woman panhandling. As far as young college girls, yuppies, or others getting upset with dealing with panhandlers, I'd strongly suggest they develop a thicker skin and realize the world is not Disney World or a gated tourist trap. And as far as it occurring especially in big cities like Boston, realize many if not the majority of panhandlers and homeless in general don't come from the city, in fact many were originally from suburbs, small towns and rural areas. Cities like Boston, NY, etc., are used as dumping grounds for societal 'problems' and it's 'useless' humans.

No hole in my argument

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Why is mine a liberal argument? I am arguing for personal freedom and against intrusive government control of conversation on the street.

And, by the way, I never give to panhandlers.

Someone made the argument that "all forms of begging should be illegal." *That's* the person who is comparing the panhandling of "useless homeless people" to the American Cancer Society, not me. *I'm* not the one arguing that they should be treated the same.

Put YOUR money where YOUR mouth is...

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I can only assume that you have a job to give him and are in a hiring mood. Please let us know when you've taken him on board, and how he's doing in your employ.


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"City officials say they're not out to stop panhandling altogether"

Why not?

Well for starters, it's

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Well for starters, it's protected by the first amendment.

this little thing called

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this little thing called freedom and freedom of speech i believe.

Why can't we stop

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Why can't we stop telemarketing? Because it's called the freedom of speech, bud. They aren't coming into your living room and begging at your feet, they are out in the cold and nasty weather asking for some help.

Broader perspective

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Ok, so you can't ban panhandling. Hooray 1st Amendment. But the city should still be taking steps to eliminate it (and the underlying causes of the panhandling). I don't think anyone wants panhandlers plying their 'trade' on the streets (from the panhandler on up).


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My guess is his pull is similar, if not more than that of working at McDonalds. Then there's the fact that it's much lower stress, less work, and more appealing (free time, own schedual, own boss).

These people panhandle quite often because of the way we structure our economy, not in spite of it. If panhandling is the better option and brings in similar wages as a real job, that says soemthing si wrong about Capitalism.


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I'm going to quite my job and live of you taxes and handout, shit im my own boss!

Hell yeah! SS and disability

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Hell yeah! SS and disability payments really entice me to just throw my hands up and never go back to the office again!

Why do conservatives keep pushing these falsehoods of "living off the public dole". You know who has a cushy life? Koch Industries.


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Ten grand a year will buy a lot of beer.

That's right: $10,000 per year for SSD.

Too bad it ain't enough to rent anything decent.

So you've tried to live on this?

First of all, try to find someone who will rent to you for 2/3 of your income a year.

That's quite a trick, dear.

Now buy food and transport and pay for your medications and utilities.

Now, decide if you want to have all your teeth pulled - on credit -because your insurance doesn't cover dentistry but the medications you take destroy your teeth. Never mind dentures - can't afford them.

That, my friend, is a Female Dog Called Reality for people living on Disability. This is what somebody who pays in for many many payroll years gets when they simply cannot work anymore. Unless, of course, you have family willing to step in and assist.

So just shut the eff up. Please. You have no idea.

You missed by a mile, Swirly

Love ya, but you're not arguing with me on this. I didn't say living on a 10 grand annual disability payment is easy, I'm just pointing out that rent in Boston isn't close to 10K for many folks. Plenty of Boston west of Mass Ave that people forget about.

What does this even mean?

Mike Ross :

“If we’re going forward, it’s to stop people from walking on dangerous roadways.”

How is stopping panhandling going to accomplish this? What does one have to do with the other?

i believe its in reference to

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i believe its in reference to the panhandlers that go up to car windows at red lights such as the intersection at Mass Ave and Melnea Cass ... They basically wander in and out of cars and when the light turns green half the time they are still standing in the middle of the road. I had a guy sit on my hood one time after the light turned green because I wouldn't give him any money.

Worcester is going through the same thing right now. They have to figure out a way to curb panhandling and keep them from getting to aggressive and out of the road ways without infringing on first amendment rights ... its a fine line

Off ramp panhandler

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Twice now I've seen the same woman panhandling IN THE MIDDLE OF AN EXIT RAMP FROM THE PIKE. Specifically Exit 18 into Cambridge, which is a mess anyway. Both times it's been near dusk, and when I'm exiting the Pike, I'm just not looking for pedestrians ON THE RAMP, y'know?

I called the police once. Didn't call the second time, but probably should have. Pretty sure that's considered being a danger to oneself and others.

I used to valet at eastern

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I used to valet at eastern standard and spent a bit of time talking to these people. It is usually the same three (usually two a man and woman) people. They all have apartments and would make more than me every single night. Ive seen them get 100 dollar bills before, and during redsox games it wasnt uncommon for them to make 3-400 in a night according to them. They "own" this corner and make a ton of money off of naive tourists who assume they are homeless and down on their luck.

As for " at least im doing somethhing", if youve ever gone to this 7-11 you know that they are actually just trying to guilt and intimidate you into giving them money. They basically yell at people until they give them something, both on the way in and the way out. Snce a lot of peope are unnecessarily frightened by black people for whatever reason, it usually works. They seemed like nice enough people when i talked to them and i dont give a shit about their not paying taxes because the amount of bureaucratic waste in this country (and at the municipal level) is atrocious, but they certainly dont deserve or have a right to this portion of a public way for their own personal gain.

It is protected speech, but

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It is protected speech, but it is also a revenue-generating commercial activity performed on a public way - therefore, it should be taxed. Everyone wins.


Court decisions have been made that require people to register with local governments if they want to go door to door and solict money. The same goes for standing on public sidewalks with clipboards to solict money.

If you want to go door to door and convert people to a religion, you don't need to register. If you want to stand on a sidewalk and hand out flyers for the Democratic Party, you don't need to register. If you want to walk around a public place and hand out literature and talk to people about your cause, you don't need to register.

But if you want to ask for money, I think you should register with local governments, and there should be some sort of standard:

-You can't walk down the middle of the street.
-You can't have convictions for violent crimes and/or crimes involving money (Scams/larcenies/forgeries)
-You can't stand on a sidewalk and ask for money.
-You should fill out a W-2 or be registered with some sort of tax deduction program.

Just my opinion, but they bother me. Not so much the homeless guys sitting on the sidewalk, but those guys with cans that stand in the middle of the street walking up and down intersections (West Roxbury/Dedham line near the Old Ale House) bug the hell out of me.

My question is why? Gifts

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My question is why? Gifts are non-taxable income, therefore, would a dollar to a homeless man not be a gift? Too many ambiguities.


When you get 175 one dollar "gifts" a day, it probably isn't really a gift anymore.

But according to the law, it

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But according to the law, it is. This is the issue. What about the 175 "gifts" given to political campaigns and medical research societies a day? I'm not saying giving to these places is akin to giving a dollar to a homeless man or woman, but according to the law, it is.

And don't get me wrong, I

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And don't get me wrong, I hear what you're saying (and actually somewhat agree). I tend not to give money but actual things, like today when someone asked for donuts outside the DD's at Haymarket. I got her a few. Would that need a W-2?

I'm not a taxguy but.....

I'm willing to bet that if you panhandled every day and got $200 a day in "gifts", you would legally owe taxes on that 73K at the end of the year. You would at least need to explain where that money went.

True, but would the IRS have

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True, but would the IRS have to track down the people who gave the "gifts"? It's just a nasty grey area that you don't want to get into. I agree with getting nasty aggressive panhandlers off the street, but usually this is an issue with drugs or mental health (which is the reason for the majority of homelessness). We should treat the root problem versus marginalizing them. And plenty of people get 73k gifts, it's called mommy and daddy. You can give up to 5 mil and not get taxed on the estate federally. See what I'm saying? Another poster had the France quote, and that sums it up.


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I'm no accountant, but I'd guess the IRS would take the position that the panhandler is receiving compensation for work ("work") and therefore it ain't a gift.

7-Eleven's door is private

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7-Eleven's door is private property.

Just like the manager can make someone leave the store, they should be allowed to tell a panhandler to stop opening the door for people, and get police intervention if the panhandler refuses.

The guys outside the 711 at

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The guys outside the 711 at kenmore don't come off as particularly intimidating to me. Anyone that really has a problem with these guys not paying taxes or not having a job needs a reality check.

Panhandlers are raking in the dough!

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Do you guys know the panhandler who sits outside the Starbucks on Boylston across from the Common? He confided in a friend of mine who regularly gives him money. He rakes in $40k/year just sitting there with a cup all day. Since he pays no taxes on it, his "take home pay" is about as much as the average worker in the Boston area!

I know Michael

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I know Michael, and I know social service people who know him well, and I believe the original poster is understating Michael's income.

Yeah, that's not a citation either. It's not like there's generally a lot of supporting paperwork in this line of work.

Last summer while waiting to

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Last summer while waiting to meet a friend I overheard two of the panhandlers from that corner (Boylston x Berkeley) discussing the quality or lack thereof of the blowjobs they'd been paying for lately as they sat at the al fresco tables at Au Bon Pain enjoying their freshly-prepared sandwiches. I can't really afford the sandwiches at Au Bon Pain, which I have priced, and while I haven't priced blowjobs I'm going to go out on a limb and guess they cost more than Au Bon Pain sandwiches. I make less than 40k a year. Their hubris discussing their "business" in full view and earshot of their "clientele" was more amusing than galling to me because I wasn't ever going to give them money anyway.

Cite as "anon (not verified), personal communication".

I'm as liberal as the next

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I'm as liberal as the next Massachusetts-ite, but, I have to admit, Bloomburg cleared the streets of Manhattan and it changed the character of the city. It feels so much safer.

Cleared the streets of NYC

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Really? and here I was thinking all along it had been Rudy Giuliani and Bill Bratton. Pretty impressive of Bloomberg to have accomplished the transformation, given that it had been already widely praised and widely discussed years before he ran for Mayor.

I see this guy every day

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And every day I think to myself that there's no way I would ever go to that 7-11 or the Dunkin' next to it because they don't even care if panhandlers are scaring away the customers. No matter how thirsty I am, I know I can hold out until I get to Mass Ave.

For what it's worth, I'd also like to see the charity muggers (Red Cross, Children whatever-the-hell, Greenpeace) banned from Kenmore. Fuck off, already. Can't I just walk home in peace?