Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Business Plan for Street Beggars

I think street beggars would maximize their daily "takes" if they displayed a suggested donation schedule. It might read something like this:


When contributing to my bowl if you say the following while making eye contact: $.25 per drop

1. "Have a nice day" or,
2. "I hope this helps" or,
3. anything along the lines of 1. or 2.

Saying 1., 2., or 3, without eye contact: $.50 per drop

Saying nothing with no eye contact while passing by at a leisurely pace: $1.00 per drop

Saying nothing, no eye contact and racing by: $5.00 per drop

I believe that making a personal contribution, rather than a "fly by," indicates a genuine concern for the other person. The not so down on his luck passer-by in this case, cares enough about helping the less fortunate, that he looks for signs that he has helped (like looking the beggar in the eye, for example), as well as recognizing the humanity of the "struggler" by communicating his good wishes. His contribution in this case helps feed the spirit as well as the belly, and so he is entitled to a deep discount. There's less of a discount when the motivations of the giver are a little more cloudy and by the time you get down to the "fly-by" it's clear Mr. Charity is doing this 100% for himself. It makes him feel better. Well, if the beggar has provided the value, it should cost the "giver" more for services received rather than rendered. Get it?

Here's the thing. I will bet you anything that less than one out of ten contributors will make the eye contact and verbally express good thoughts at a leisurely pace, because over 90 per cent of us donate in order to feel better about ourselves (especially in public); so that in that case, we are in our own service.
As for those who only have to fork over $.25, if they are in sales, they are off to heaven.

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1 comment:

  1. Bob, these posts are starting to feel very Zen. Perhaps that's your intention.