On The Money
Financial Advice for the Middle-Class
Around here, the grocery stores have had real x-mas trees for sale for a couple of weeks already. I don’t know why. Anyone who put up a real tree on Veterans day, will have vacuumed most of that tree off of the carpet by X-mas eve. Either they will have to buy a second tree, or they’ll put their gifts under a spindly, dry, brown piece of kindling.
I’ve seen X-mas decorations in stores since before Halloween. I even saw some crossover: Count Santula and his bat drawn sleigh scared the hell out of me at one store this past October..
It seems like everyone jumped the gun on X-mas this year, but Friday marks the official start of the X-mas shopping season. Black Friday, as it is called, also coincides, not coincidentally, with “Buy Nothing Day”, sponsored by Adbusters Magazine. Now that AdBusters has unleashed Occupy Wall St., maybe “Buy Nothing Day” will really take off this year. Lord knows that people sure don’t need most of the crap that retailers have on offer, but those shoppers have money burning a whole in their pockets.
November 25th also turns out to be the official start of the professional panhandling season. The Salvation Army deploys brigades of Santa Claus impersonators, who will ring the “opening bell” on the Holiday panhandling season, and suck up all of the easy spare change until Dec. 25th.
This means that if you want to make a living panhandling this holiday season, you are going to need a story, and you are going to have to work it. Like this guy:
Go ahead and give it a try. I encourage everyone to panhandle professionally this holiday season. Find a shopping center with a lot of traffic, and get started. X-mas is all about the spirit of giving. You can give holiday shoppers the opportunity to be genuinely generous, just by pretending to be needy.
Try to get them to give you at least $20. Use a story like, “My mom’s in the hospital back east, and I just need to raise enough to fly home to see her before she dies.” A little story like that, told with abundant (fake) sincerity, can turn X-mas into your most profitable time of year as well. And, not only can you participate in “Buy Nothing Day”, but you can help people feel the X-mas spirit of giving, without letting the retailers act as middle-men.
Personally, I’m not leaving home until next Tuesday.