– Some of the most creative signs used by beggars.

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Every now and then you encounter a panhandler begging for money. This is starting to become commonplace here in Pinellas County, Florida along US-19 where beggars hold up signs at traffic intersections asking for money. The signs they hold typically convey the message, “Homeless and hungry. Please help. Thank you and God bless.” Motorists have mixed emotions about offering donations. Some happily offer their spare change, others roll up their windows and lock their doors in fear for their safety.

The beggars of Pinellas Country are neophytes when compared to New York panhandlers who have turned it from an art to a science. It was in New York where the idea of cleaning windshields first started. Most people gave the beggars money, not out of kindness, but to keep them away from their cars. In New York, the beggars realize a simple sign like, “Please Help,” no longer works. Instead, they have to have a gimmick, such as holding a door open at a public store, or perhaps they dress in flamboyant costumes to entertain the public. Most though, have developed some very creative signs which makes pedestrians either laugh or think. The beggars know very well, a clever sign means big bucks. Here are some of the most interesting signs I have encountered:

“Family kidnapped by Ninjas. Need $ for Karate lessons.” – This is the standard sign used to amuse pedestrians. There are slightly different variations of it out there, but this is the bread and butter of signs.

However, there are many other signs reflecting some real ingenuity:

“I slept with Lindsay Lohan last week – Please help.” – (Yes, please.)

“Blah, blah, blah…Money. Blah, blah, blah…Food. Blah, blah, blah… Who Reads Signs Anyway?

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