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The Entrepreneurial Spirit!

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Street-begging has become so sophisticated that some Web sites and blogs offer "market research" for panhandlers, with tips from wizened "pros," according to the Summer 2008 issue of City Journal. Current begging techniques (which apparently spread nationally, at least for those non-homeless, non-mentally-ill beggars) suggest humor (e.g., "I won't lie to you. I need a drink") and specificity of amount (e.g., "I need 43 more cents for a cup of coffee"), which often produces a larger donation. Local TV reporters in Memphis, Tenn., and Salt Lake City, among other cities, have found panhandlers to routinely earn $10 an hour and sometimes substantially more.

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