Are buskers better than panhandlers?

How do you feel about busking vs. panhandling? On the same level, or is one worse than the other? Does it matter if the busker is a good musician?

Personally, I find buskers much much better than your average panhandler. They are at least providing something in exchange for your money (whether or not you asked or enjoy it) and are less obtrusive. For example, there’s a woman who stands outside of the Holocaust museum every day, harassing passersby with aggressive yells of “You got a dollar?!” Then there’s the guy who sits outside of a pizza place down the street Friday and Saturday evenings who is so good you’d think the restaurant hired him to provide entertainment. He’s got a good repertoire and does requests, and plays a mean guitar. Of course, there are varying degrees of talent and rudeness among both buskers and panhandlers, but even the more aggressive or untalented buskers are still funny, like the guy I passed once singing an impromptu song about how is someone didn’t give him any money he was going to eat his dog.

What do you think?

I don’t give to panhandlers. I do give to buskers who have done a performance which I think is cool and deserves a contribution. I don’t give to all buskers, however. If I did, I’d probably have to start doing some busking myself!

At least Buskers are trying to provide something in exchange for money. I generally ignore panhandlers but I like to ask them for money right before they’re going to ask me just because it pisses them off. One time a woman asked me for seven dollars. Jesus lady what makes you think I would just give you seven dollars, shooting a little high aren’t we?

A bit of a hijack, but I thought I’d share:

Yes, that is Dr. House in a former incarnation, busking…

Depends on the quality of their performance. The “statues” I saw on Fisherman’s Wharf in SF who did nothing but stand there frozen - less than panhandlers for my money. I would rather give to someone who just asked me for money.

But a good performance will get *more *money from me.

I’ll give to buskers who aren’t talented because, by God, they’re trying to do something!

Exactly! I will give to buskers but not to panhandlers. I donate to a food bank instead.

Were you intending the title to read “Are buskers better than panhandlers?”?

Buskers are at least offering something in return for asking for money. And up front, too.

Some extraordinarily talented buskers have gotten as much as $5 or $10 from me at a time. On the other hand, there have been some so awful, and yet located in a place where I could not avoid or escape them (i.e., a subway platform for a train that is part of my commute), that I had to fight down the urge to go over to their open guitar case and take a cut for my suffering.

Ditto what everyone else said. There’s an international busker’s festival every year. I’ve never heard of an international panhandlers festival.

I don’t give to any of them because you know what? I didn’t ask you to block up the sidewalk with your robot act or breakdancing routine or whatever. And I certainly didn’t ask to be serenaded on the subway.

Generally I will give to buskers over panhandlers, though to be fair I don’t give much either way. I would much rather donate to a charity. However the only ones I absolutely WILL NOT give to under any cirumstances are the ones that get on the subway and perform while you ride. There are breakdancers that I see doing this probably once a week or so (though I am sure they do it every day and I just don’t happen to catch the show) who I have seen accidentally bust lights in the subway, I saw them kick a woman in the face, I saw them step on some guy, all in the name of breakdancing on the subway. Then after scaring the bejeesus out of you they say, “Any donations folks? Your donations keep us out of 2 houses, the jailhouse and your house.” So you kicked a lady and now you are insinuating that if I don’t give you a quarter you will rob me? Great way to earn some cash, guys. The drum players/singers/beggars on the train are just as bad, but at least they don’t kick people. If you perform on the platform and give me a chance to either come over and listen or walk away should the mood strike me I am much more likely to give you my spare change.

I’ve never encountered a street performer personally, but I’ll give a bit of spare change to a panhandler if I’ve got it. I’ve been there myself, and am a firm believer in what goes around comes around.

Anyone remember this story? I’d like to think I would have been one of those who stopped to listen, but that’s probably just ego talking.

What the hell…

I AM a busker. I certainly feel I’m better than a panhandler. I have a act that takes time and effort and props. I want to entertain people enough so that they give me money. I don’t just ask for money for nothing.

Yes, something like that. Hadn’t noticed. :o If you wouldn’t mind changing it, would you please?

I give to buskers often, and I’ve been known to give as much as a fiver if I really like their performance. I never, ever give to panhandlers under any circumstances.

I once saw a string quartet performing in San Francisco. I gave them some money. The performance was of the highest quality.

I share the OP’s opinion that at least buskers are giving something for their change. Hey panhandlers! You might get something from me if you read poetry from a library book (or hell, something you made up), sing a song, blow bubbles, do simple yo-yo tricks, SOMETHING. Don’t just sit there with your cup.

Does it change your opinion if it’s in an enclosed space like a subway car where I no longer have the choice but to listen to them?

I mean, I agree with this general sentiment if it’s on the street where I can simply walk away, but when I’m in a subway car I don’t want to hear your steel drum, I don’t want to see you do backflips to bad synthesizer music and I don’t want to hear your new rap. I’m all for street performers trying to make a few bucks as long as I’m not a captive audience.

I vaguely remember hearing about this, but thanks for the link - that’s extremely interesting. And funny as well. I’m surprised even one person did recognize him.