Panhandlers....what should you do?

I just got a job in the downtown area of Charlotte and there seems to be alot of people coming up and begging for $$.. You know.... "can I get 35 cents for a phone call" which turns into "I don't want to have to fight someone for 35 cents". My question is when someone comes up asking/begging for money, what should you do? Tell them to fuck off, ignore them, give them money or what? Are these just people looking for spare change or setting me up for a mugging?

Any advise will be appreciated

PisgahMan ,

My 2 cents ... What about de-valueing (sp?) yourself in they're eyes ? This could be anything from what you wear out on the street to things like your intuition . If you can sense someone is about to make a play for cash , perhaps you can pre-emptively de-value yourself by asking 'them' for cash or asking them if they've seen a brown wallet with a black stripe down the middle etc etc . What about carrying the job section of the paper in a jacket pocket each week , with a few prospective menial jobs circled in red .. then crossed off . If they continue to bother you , whip that out and state if you only haddd a job , maybe then you'd be carrying a few extra bucks ...

If they are regulars you must pass to get to work , what about doing the route on a Saturday , when you're not in a hurry . Stop with each one of them and talk their ear off .. keep engaging them in conversation thereby interfering with they're regular panhandling . Maybe next time they see you they'll bugger off for fear you'll tie them up for 20 mins and then only cough up a quarter ! Who knows , you may just meet one that you genuinely wish to help , perhaps on a regular basis ..

As far as what to do if things turn ugly , I too look forward to hearing the PDR teams' ideas .

Cheers ,


I work in downtown Boston and encounter panhandlers all the time. I usually just say "sorry" and move on. I never let anyone get within my personal space and I will walk around them to avoid this.

Maintaining awareness of your physical space is very very important.

Downtown Atlanta here and I deal with the same shit. I get an adrenaline dump everytime I have to walk around downtown, it's not nice and you have to be constantly on alert. I just say sorry to the panhandlers too, though I don't know if that's the best response. Most of the time I don't even think about what I'm saying, I'm just studying the guy walking up to me while my heart is pumping like crazy as I decide whether or not I have to fight him.

I do carry a thing of mace in my hand, it looks like a pen. Maybe you should get one of those. Other than that, don't really know what to tell you. I just try not to walk around out there unless I really have to.

As for Varley's comments, they're not very practical, atleast where I live. I'm a college student so dress doesn't really affect anything, they're gonna ask me regardless because downtown Atlanta is made up of mostly campuses. That whole bit about starting up a conversation with them for 20 minutes is also unpractical because there's usually 4 or 5 of them standing in the hot spots(ie: where the most frequent traffic is). Not to mention, maybe you've never seen some of these guys but talking to them is the last thing I wanna do.

The newspaper thing isn't gonna work because they're not gonna be studying you hard before they ask the question. As soon as you get close enough to them they ask.

The wallet suggestion seems to be the best, might have to try that one, though most of guys that hang around in the hot spots are regulars so it might work once but it wont work twice.

Varley, you've misinterpreted the 'De-Value'
Principle as taught through the PDR program. It is
not a 'way of life' but a tactical ploy used to solve a
problem 'in the moment.' Sure proactive analysis
can help shift gears faster but the message and
tactical is about creating transitory flux in the
opponent so you can engage or dis-engage.

What you've done, at least in this post, is turned
the 'devalue' concept into a way of that
would contradict the essence of personal defense
as it relates to true 'fear management' other
words the suggestions you make dictate that
'another's' behavior has caused you to change
where you walk, when you walk, why you walk and
what you carry & say.

So while you may have averted a panhandling
question you've created a much larger problem:
you perpetuate fear by modifying your life to
accommodate another's. If you were teaching my
research you would be doing a great disservice to
the student. That is why I ask in my ROE's on the
opening page here for everyone to let people on
my team reply first and if someone not on the team

RECOMMENDATION: Always inject TCMS principles with a personal disclaimer, i.e. "A TCMS concept that I like is the
Devalue idea, this is my understanding and h
ow I'd apply it..."etc. etc. this saves me from r
eplying with all this and allows me and others on
the PDR team to inject ideas more freely.


What to do about Panhandlers??

Scenario dictates:

Sometimes you 'walk on by' , sometimes you must
defuse, distract or defend...remember, this TCMS
maxim: "you may win th efight, but your opponent
controls the fight"

In other words, the opponent controls where th
eproblem starts and how far it'll go.

Food for thought:

Remember your personal directive will
INFLUENCE the outcome: telling a homeless
person to 'get a job' might be funny in a
might get ugly on the street...

Further, does a comment you make trigger an
adrenaline dump so that the next person who
walks by eats a bottle from the bum you aggitated?

I'm not suggesting you stop for every homeless
person and ask them what you can do for them, Im
just saying (in the immortal words of Swayze in
ROADHOUSE: Be nice until its time to not be nice)

CONSIDER THE EGO: If you were walking alone
and 2 panhandlers asked you on a deserted
corner for some $$ for a coffee and they were big
and looked real cranky, Im sure that would
influence how you slid out of the situation...

Its interesting how the unconscious influences
bravado, something to introspect about.

Decide what your position is and why or when you
may give money and then let your intuition
influence your choices.



As Mr. Blauer stated in his first post, "the scenario dicates."

If you are going to strictly focus on de-valueing yourself you are fixating on a single strategy... tunnel vision if you will. There is an important concept in the PDR Manual which talks about "staying detached". What this does, is tells you, to continually monitor your situation and determine if your tactical choices are appropriate for that specific time and place. You must be able to lose a stategy at a moments notice and replace it with one that is more appropriate.

As an example, a panhandler may see you enter an upscale clothing store and position himself in a way to intercept you once you come out. The "de-value" card is probably not your most optimum strategy at this point. Strategies must be visualized rather than just habitual.

I would suggest that you and some of your friends get together and work on some role playing. Do not leave a stone creative in your dialogue, and your tactics. From this you will be able to see that many alternatives exist from a given scenario.

Robb Finlayson, PDR TEAM



To All,

After reading this thread all I can say is I'm humbled by Mr. Blauer's response to this question. To be honest, my first impression was pretty close to what Varley posted.

However, once I had an opportunity to read Mr. Blauer's post, it was clear to me that I have been guilty of memorizing responses as opposed to analyzing problems as I have in fact been taught to do.

I'm sure this lesson has been an important one for me.

Thank you very, very much Mr Blauer.


Thanks for all the responses. If I understand de-valueing correctly that may be a little difficult since this is happening where I work and I have to dress in business casual clothing. But, so far I have not encountered any panhandlers during "normal business hours", only at night on on the weekend.

The devalue principle is sopmething to be used
during a confrontation. Work it out a little so tha tyo
umay have it as a tool should you need it...

stay safe,