Currently, the direct, humorous approach is in vogue. That’s why in
many cities today you’ll hear some version of: "I won’t lie to you, I
need a drink." Panhandlers also report that asking for specific amounts
of money lends credibility to pitches. "I need 43 more cents to get a
cup of coffee," a panhandler will declare; some people will give
exactly that much, while others will simply hand over a buck.
Oddly, the tips are offered on-line:
If it seems unlikely that a homeless person would surf the Web for
advice on how to panhandle, that’s exactly the point: many aren’t
homeless and are lying about their circumstances.
Anecdotal surveys by journalists and police, and even testimony by
panhandlers themselves, suggest that begging can yield anywhere from
$20 to $100 a day–though police in Coos Bay, Oregon, found that local
panhandlers were taking in as much as $300 a day in a Wal-Mart parking
lot. “A panhandler could make thirty to forty thousand dollars a year,
tax-free money,” Baker says.