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Advancing the fine art of CTA begging

Last month I asked you to share the most clever CTA begging lines you had heard. Since then, I've had a few more notable experiences with beggars. It seems like I can go months without seeing one, and then there's a veritable beggars flood. Blame the economy this time?

Putrid potheads. Last Thursday, a beggar guy came barreling through the door between cars. I do mean "barreling through" because this guy was built like a barrel. And his expensive clothes and body just reeked of marijuana smoke. After he had passed, two college kids standing next to me commented that the previous week they saw a guy board a train with an unlit joint dangling from his mouth. At least he didn't violate the no-smoking rules.

Creative beggar retorts. Then, just before Christmas, I heard an exchange between a beggar and college kid. The beggar asked if he was having a nice day.

"No," said college guy. "My grandmother just died."

"So you're having a good day?" said beggar guy, obviously not listening. "So can you give me some money?"

"Listen man, I told you my grandmother just died, so I'm having a shitty f***ing day. And I won't have any f***ing money until I get the inheritance."

"Oh man, I didn't cuss at you, so no need for you to cuss me," said beggar guy, as he walked away.

Then college guy started snickering with his friends over his creative, lying retort to beggar guy.


Could have just been a hand-rolled cigarette...

college guy = asshole.

Agree with ames. A simple "sorry, but no" works just fine, although I admit it doesn't leave you with quite the smug sense of superiority.

A couple of weeks ago I was on a NB red line and this guy was hosting a shell game. And then another guy comes on the train trying to sell poetry. The guy trying to sell his poetry gave up on that particular car and moved to another car.

The college guy was rude, but I think calling him an asshole is taking it a bit too far. Sometimes I also don't feel like interacting with the people around me and just want to be left alone.

I had a interesting reverse discrimination incident the other day while getting off a 22 Clark at Clark/Chicago and Howard. If you don't know it, I'm a stocky white guy....3 younger african-american guys got off the bus with me...as we all approached the stop light to cross the street, there was an older african-american guy who went right past everyone else and came up to me asking for money. I told him I didn't have any (I was in sweat pants and just had my ID, chicago card and ATM/Debit/Visa Check card.

One of my traveling companions called out to the panhandler, "We see how you treat the brothers and just so you know, I would have given you something had you asked me first."

As we went across the street, I said, that I felt discriminated against and everyone had a good laugh.


I was on the Foster bus one night last week when a guy got on at Clark and asked everyone on the bus for money. As each passenger boarded, he would ask them for spare change and ask all the other passengers again. There were several off-duty bus operators riding back to North Park. After he asked them a second time, one driver said, "Man, are you really that stoned? You just asked me and I said no. The answer ain't gonna change no matter how many times you ask."

I was really annoyed at the guy, not for his begging but because he distracted the drivers from their conversation about RonH leaving CTA. I love bus operator gossip!

I'm surprised they didn't kick him off the bus. The announcement clearly say no soliciting and it's easier to stop the bus and make someone get off.

Go college kid! Don't give beggars positive feedback, it only encourages them to come back for more money.

[Go college kid! Don't give beggars positive feedback, it only encourages them to come back for more money.]

Dude, these guys get turned down, cussed at or ignored 1000 times a day. Sure, they make a few bucks, but make no mistake. This encounter meant a hell of a lot more to the college kid than the beggar, who most likely had no memory of it 15 seconds later.


I understand your point, but discrimination is discrimination. There's no reverse about it.

Also, I hate that poetry guy. Although God knows he probably recites better than Blagojevich.

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