Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bum Talk

During my drive home yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to an amusing discussion on talk radio on the subject of bums. That is to say, people who remain homeless and/or panhandle for extended periods of time by choice. Not all homeless people are bums, and not all bums are homeless, but bums do exist. The talk radio subject was bums yesterday afternoon thanks to one Mr. Ben Rogovy. Mr. Rogovy is not a talk radio host, but rather a recent business graduate of the University of Washington who saw bums not as a nuisance, but an advertising opportunity for his new business. He's calling it "bumvertising."

Of course, it's not possible to do anything without offending someone, and Mr. Rogovy's inventive plot is no exception:
"They're better off advertising for me than not advertising, I wish I could help them more," says Rogovy.

Not so says Nicole Macri, co-chair of the Seattle King County Coalition for the Homeless. She says Rogovy is exploiting the panhandlers.
I would like to take an opportunity to congratulate Mr. Rogovy for an intelligent and resourceful marketing scheme. Not only is he getting cheap advertising from the bums, but now he's also getting free advertising in the form of media attention.

However, Mr. Rogovy's advertising method is really only tangentially related to the primary idea I would like to share in this post. When it comes to bums in general and panhandling specifically, most people consider it a nuisance that the world would be better off without. Now, this is not to say that the homeless are worthless and should not be helped. Quite the contrary, we should always do our best to care for the least among us. However, giving someone money so that they can support their chemical addiction and not improve their life is not helping them. There are many fine institutions such as Union Gospel Mission and Mama's Hands that truly help the homeless, and I encourage anyone who has a heart for the homeless to find such an organization near you and help.

throw dead rats in their carsUnfortunately though, no matter how good a job Union Gospel Mission and similar organizations do at caring for the homeless and helping them get back on their feet, there will still be bums out there that prefer the obligation-free life of panhandling. How can panhandling be eliminated? That, dear reader, is the true subject of this post. I admit that this concept is not my own, but in fact that of the notorious DaButtminster, but since he has no blog, I will post his ingenious idea here.

Stopping panhandling is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
  1. Gather a group of people at least equal to the number of panhandling bums currently on the streets.
  2. Pay them to stand at street corners and highway onramps with handwritten cardboard signs, just like real bums.
  3. When drivers attempt to give them money, instead of (or perhaps in addition to) receiving their money, throw a dead rat into their vehicle.
If DaButtminster's plan is employed, people will stop giving money to panhandling bums within 3 months for fear of having a dead rat thrown into their car, guaranteed. When people stop giving money to panhandling bums, the bums will stop panhandling. End of problem.

Your comments are welcomed.

P.S. (Check out the site I got the dead rat drawing from. The artist has wonderful drawing skills, in my opinion.)

Source: KOMO News
image sourceCategories: News, Local, Culture


Blogger DaButtminster said...

Ha ha ha . . .

I totally forgot about that conversation.

Every problem in the world has a bizarre, unconventional solution dreamed up by bored college students. This, I believe.

5:28 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Nathan said...

That . . . that is pure genius. I am honored to post in the same comment section as you, dabuttminster.

5:45 PM, August 11, 2005  
Blogger Erin said...

Dead rats... It's an unconventional solution to be sure, but a hilarious mental picture. Why do I feel guilty for laughing so hard?

11:48 AM, August 12, 2005  
Blogger Skor Grimm said...

Because you're a horrible, horrible person, Erin. Now get back to work at your non-profit job.

12:24 PM, August 12, 2005  
Anonymous Kiddo said...

What fun. Imagine the looks on people's faces...

And I don't think it would even take a whole month for people to stop giving to panhandlers. The word would spread pretty dang fast about the dead rats. Wouldn't you think?

9:18 PM, August 12, 2005  
Blogger Dove said...

And just where are you going to get all these dead rats, anyway? Are you practicing animal abuse, or are you robbing graves after they've passed away peacefully?

I sense a deeper plan.

5:09 PM, August 14, 2005  
Blogger Skor Grimm said...

I'd get the rats from people whose very job is to practice animal abuse. Exterminators, Dove. Exterminators.

2:06 PM, August 16, 2005  

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