Is there really a difference between peddlers and panhandlers?

Just another panhandler?

Cory Madville had a great post today about freedom of speech, getting a job, and panhandlers in Sioux Falls. They have turned it up a notch over the past few years, and one of their favorite spots is the off ramp of I-29 and Louise, which I have to go thru on occasion.

They have various signs they hold (always on cardboard, not white erase), I’m sure you have seen them. “God Bless” “I’m a Veteran” “I don’t know what a shower is or a job application”. One guy today had a cig hanging out of his mouth while taking money from a car. His sign should have said, “Almost out of cigs, out of beer, and out of luck, please give a f’ck!”

I don’t have a problem with giving to those in need, but seriously, if you have the energy to stand on a corner and ask for money, you have the energy to get a job, any job. Panhandlers in other parts of the world will clean your windshield for a buck.

Of course the good Christians of our society argue that a panhandler could be the 2nd coming of Christ, so we should give . . .


Yeah, and that lotto ticket I accidentally threw away 5 years ago was the $100 million dollar winner.

But, I ask a bigger question. What’s the difference between panhandlers and Girl Scouts standing on a street corner and peddling cookies? Seriously? I drove past the intersection of 12th and Kiwanis last year to see Girl Scouts lunging at cars. True, the Girl Scouts are actually selling something, but what if you don’t want cookies? I see no real difference between a panhandler holding a sign and a Girl Scout holding a sign on a street corner, they both have the right to be there, whether you like it or not, but someone should tell mayor Huether. He may know what what state he lives in, but he seems to struggle with the country;

“This is just not the way we do things in Sioux Falls or in South Dakota, it’s not reflective of our people and our values. We can’t allow this to happen on the street corners of our town.”

Maybe we should ban panhandlers from texting while panhandling to?

But Isn’t a FREE society great!? Where we can sell cookies and ask for cigarette money on a street corner. Gawd I love America. Land of the FREE, broke, and constantly annoyed.


#1 larry kurtz on 09.02.12 at 8:17 am

On any given day in Santa Fe there are 15 people selling various publications at busy street corners: many of whom have cigarettes hanging from their lips.

My hope is that the people in SooFoo doing those jobs of shaming otherwise ‘productive’ South Dakotans into thinking about the brutality of humanity actually result in winter gigs far away from the sentences being served by working stiffs during Minnehaha County blizzards.

#2 Elaine on 09.02.12 at 1:37 pm

I like how Barthel hopes to have a proposal for the city by December to make panhandling illegal. At that point, panhandlers have already gone south and will not pose an immediate annoyance again in these parts for months. Sure, it will be nice to not see a 20-something with a dog begging for money in 100-degree heat next year, but will it really take three months to draft this?

#3 Joan on 09.02.12 at 8:24 pm

When I was a kid in the forties-fifties, there were panhandlers in the downtown area of Watertown, SD. They would be sitting on the sidewalk with their backs against one of the buildings with some kind of container, and just plain asking for money or selling pencils. Then there were the hobos that would come to our farm and offer to work for a meal. My mother sent them to the end of the drive way and told them she would fix them an egg sandwich and bring it to them along with the coffee pot, and she poured coffee into whatever container they had with them. In some cases they can be annoying, like in the apartment complex where I live the manager sent notes out earlier this summer warning people to keep their garages locked because homeless people had been caught sleeping in some of the garages. I haven’t noticed that it helped the garage door problem any.

#4 anominous on 09.02.12 at 8:48 pm

Perhaps if they would dress u in gorilla suits and hold signs for local businesses it would be more acceptable to the city elites.

#5 l3wis on 09.02.12 at 9:50 pm

#6 sd-cpa on 09.02.12 at 10:25 pm

While we’re at it, let’s write ordinances banning door-to-door anything: frozen foods, Christmas wreaths, make-up, religion… After all, they’re plying their wares in public, just like the Girl Scouts in the hardware store parking lot.

#7 Detroit Lewis on 09.02.12 at 11:47 pm

That’s just it, and why I adore Cory and his postings. We live in a society that we have to be exposed to certain things. It is wonderful. While most people want to turn their heads in disgust, I enjoy the ‘little things’ that make America what it is a true melting pot of some really weird people.

#8 Testor15 on 09.03.12 at 9:18 am

How about banning any life the majority wants to do away with? Force the Vets with shell shock to live under bridges or in forested areas so we ‘clean’ people don’t have to be bothered with them.

Oh yea here’s a better idea. Let’s make living in America penniless a crime and lock them up. This way proper society can exploit their ability to perform laborious jobs for little pay in our prison industries. Now they’re not a dredge on proper society. It’s a grand two-fer, hide them away while exploiting their labor for a profit!

What a bunch of hypocrites. Destroy their place to live, destroy their jobs, give them cheap video lottery with alcohol to suck the life out of them and pretend it’s the fault of the bastard using what’s left of his mind to just survive.

Just look at the disaster in Tampa last week. Pretending to be better than the guy panhandling on the street corner. Listening to attendee interviews, most of them are just one or two paychecks away from standing right next to him.

Why do you think the dude driving the Blue Plate Special, F350 4×4 tries to run him over? The dude needs to clean the intersection, so it’s available next week for him to panhandle for the next payment.

#9 Pathloss on 09.04.12 at 4:33 pm

Gone is the time when Huether volunteered at ‘The Banquet’. He doesn’t recognize you unless you fly him to the Super Bowl on your Lear jet. I’ve thought about professionally printed signs and green/blue Statue of Liberty costumes. Hire sign holders and teach them sign flipping. No, just give these people white No Home Rule jackets for warmth this winter. Arrogance not, sympathy yes. White shows dirt and gets noticed. Red circle with slash. HOME RULE in center of circle on front and picture of Huether in center on back.

#10 Craig on 09.05.12 at 9:38 am

I tend to agree something has to be done. I’ve actually been on the 26th street exit and have seen traffic held up because someone wants to give the person a dollar… meanwhile you have traffic backing up onto the Interstate creating a dangerous situation which has been an area prone to accidents in the past.

Plus, after watching the KELO story last year about how much these people pull in per hour it actually disgusts me. Not only are they making more per hour than most people who drive by them on their way to or from work, but they don’t pay any taxes on their income either.

Plus I’ve seen someone last spring with a sign saying they were cold and hungry. Someone gave them a blanket so they could keep warm… and you know what they did? Tossed it on the ground and left it there when they left that evening. The blanket stayed there on the ground by the utility box for weeks until it either blew away or was picked up by maintenance workers. That guy didn’t need a blanket to keep warm – he just wanted sympathy.

As far as peddlers keep in mind if someone is going to sell something door to door like magazines or vacuum cleaners, they need a peddler’s permit from the city. There are some exceptions for organizations who have registered with the city (which is why people can peddle their religion on your doorstep without paying for a permit), but for the most part if someone is selling something they need a permit.

Thus, a law can easily be written to outlaw panhandling, and if those people try to start selling something they would need to have a permit on file with the fee ($35) and they need a $1000 bond. I’m guessing that would all but eliminate anyone trying to sell pamplets or pencils.

I’m all for supporting those who need help, but let’s direct the energy and funds towards organizations that can make a difference. Giving a few bucks to someone who may spend it on smokes or beer isn’t helping the situation and just promotes the mindset that it pays to sit on a corner week after week and ask for a handout.

Now once this is all taken care of we need to pass a law outlawing those carnival barkers who masquerade as kiosk salespeople in the mall from accosting us as we walk by.

(And yes that last part is sarcasm… mostly)