Squeegee kids -- criminalize them?

Now I’m generally very left-wing, and I’m sure this question doesn’t even warrant consideration from right-wing people.

Squeegee kids (you know, the ones that come and squeegee your windshield at a red light) are being criminalized in Vancouver, and were criminalized a few years ago in Toronto. Here is a link to a Vancouver story. The squeegee kids are “unionizing” for respect and change (man, that’s a bad pun).

Panning, busking, and flea marketing are noninvasive. I never give to panhandlers because I don’t support panhandling as a lifestyle. But I support the right to panhandle (reasonably). However, the apparent attitude that the SK’s (squeegee kids) have that they are doing noble, decent work seems way off to me. As a business practice it’s manipulative and disrespectful, and I have no sympathy for their gigs getting shut down.

Does anyone disagree with me?

I don’t have a problem with squeegeers (?) if they ask if they can wash my windshield. I may say no of course. If on the other hand they just walk up, spray it and wipe it off without asking anything, I won’t give them anything, because I don’t appreciate them touching my car without my permission. That sort of activity should be stopped.

As far as unionizing, how does that really help? How much more likely is it that people will pay them for “guerilla wiping” if they have a union pin on? It wouldn’t make any difference to me and it will probably end up costing them in dues.

It sounds silly to me.

By the way, I think I know what busking is, but what’s panning?

Squeegee kids, under ancient principles of social interaction, are invaders. They are NOT workers. A worker is HIRED by an EMPLOYER and does not impose himself upon a victim. What they do is not a “business practice”. It is identical to an old scam that was long ago outlawed. The scam works as follows:

1: Send unsolicited goods to the victim via US mail.
2: Demand payment for said goods.

In addition, it is US law that, if you are in an airport or other public space and somebody just walks up and gives you something, unsolicited, you cannot be compelled to give payment for it. Thus, the kooks handing out flowers can’t legally require you to pay.

US law is that if somebody sends you unsolicited goods through US mail, you are not liable for payment. What the squeegee kids do is 100% identical to this scam. They perform an unsolicited “service” upon a victim and then demand payment. The basic premise of any true business interaction is that the CUSTOMER is free to decide to initiate the purchase or not.

I say that the squeegee kids are NOT running businesses, they do NOT deserve the title “workers”. They are criminals and should be treated as such.

Busking: Street musicians.
Panning: Begging.

Hey! You keep away from my kids!

Well, first of all Dogface, we’re talking Canada here. The union seems to be a bit of a radical joke. (I’m of the opionion that anarchists make reasonable hard-lefties look like angry fools.)

Panning = Panhandling.

I have a slightly different take on SKs and Panhandlers having spent a little over two years in Toronto. I want both practices banned, outlawed, and made fully illegal; my reasons stem purely from paranoia. Let me elaborate on both cases:
Its 1am and I’m driving home. I stop at a red light and a man walks towards my car. Should I just assume that he has good intentions and wants to see my window clean? Allowing SK means that anyone at any time can walk up to my window with something in their hands, and I don’t like that feeling. There are too many carjackings to condone squeegeeing.

There is a Salvation Army between my girlfriend’s house and her university. Every day she has to walk past an intersection flooded with panhandlers. And every day, several large men will approach her and her roommates asking for money. This is not a safe practice, and causes them a lot of anxiety every day, and makes it extremely difficult to stay at school late.

I can also make the stardard safety case for the SK. On more than one occation I’ve nearly hit a SK as they dart across several lanes of traffic trying to get to the next red light. Since Toronto has banned the practice, SK have simply ditched their squeegee and continued to approach cars with simply a cup.

Depends on how they go about it, doesn’t it?

Scenario 1: SK comes up to your car, sprays water on windshield, wipes windshield, sticks out hand. This act was unsolicited by you, and constitutes an “invasion”.

Scenario 2: SK comes up to your car, and asks you “Wash yer window, mister?” You nod. He sprays water on windshield, wipes windshield, sticks out hand. You pay him. This is, by your definition, employment, since you hired him on the spot to do the job.

I’m not sure it really depends on how they go about it. Basically it’s panhandling with a veneer of ‘working’. If they had a stand on the side of the road with ‘window washer’ emblazoned on it, and washed the windows of anyone who pulled in, THAT is a service.

By coming up to your window at a red light, they are counting on the intimidation factor, not the desirability of the service, to get people to give them money. You are trapped at the light, they are free to approach or leave. They are standing over you (depending on the car, of course) and you can do nothing about it without either running them over or crashing into another car.

At least on the sidewalk, with normal panhandling, you can walk away.

If I want my windshield washed I’ll do one of 2 things

  1. Wash it by hand myself
  2. Go through the car wash

I don’t need some scruffy individual taking upon himself to give me a service I did not want or ask for.
Whenever one of these merchants has dashed out whilst I’m at a red light and swiped his squeegee across my screen I usually hit the washers, one of which I have angled away from the screen and to centre.
I can usually manage a hit right in the kisser of the squeegee wielding dipstick.

Makes my day!!!

Spogga, what make of car do you drive that you can angle the wiper blade away from the windshield without it snapping back into it’s proper place the first time you hit a bump, or merely accelerate?

I can’t see why anyone, in the US or Canada would make this criminal. But they should go after those nasty little girls who shove cookies at me when I go into K-mart.

j.c., I think he meant that the washer was angled away, to spray the dude with washer fluid. Not really cool, since that stuff can’t be good to get in your eye.

I think it’s criminalized for the intimidation factor. Please don’t tell me you’re concerned for your safety when little girls have a cookie table at K-mart. Many people get concerned when a scruffy dude knocks on their window as they sit in traffic.

Snerk Even down here, in liberal-minded laid-back Southern California, 95 out of 100 drivers have mastered the “ignore the panhandler by your car” glare within the first five minutes behind the wheel. Ain’t no intimidation at work here.

And I thought New Yorkers were supposed to be tough… :wink:

The squeegee kids are wrong…they do not have the right to impose their will on people at lights…Thou Canada is very liberal so they may win…but it is a crime…no one has a right to impose their will on anyone else…they do not have the right to clean your property without your consent

Dude, do you know how tough our bums are? They don’t spend their time at Starbucks eating avocado and granola sandwiches like California bums, nosiree!

Things were a lot worse back in the pre-Giuliani days, being stuck on the exit for the 3rd Ave bridge was a scary thing. Rudy cracked down on ‘quality of life’ crimes and it’s really a lot nicer going in and out.

One of the first things Giuliani did here was crack down on the squeegee men (almost never kids) at intersections, mostly on and off-ramps. We have long lights and entrances to our few highways are usually in desolate neighborhoods. The men were intimidating and often would not take no for an answer; often they’d soap up your windshield and not rinse it off until you gave them money. Imagine being a woman, in the South Bronx waiting to for one of the Manhattan bridge crossings to open up, having to open your purse surrounded by large guys and then hand them money out the window.

The re-appearance of squeegee men has become something that no mayor from now on will be allowed to tolerate. Don’t get misled in Vancouver. If you allow these kids to do it, they’ll soon be muscled aside by aggressive homeless or worse, believe me.

How in the world can they criminalize it?

Give a kid a ticket. Kid has no money so throws it out.

Give kid another ticket for not paying the first one. Kid throws out ticket.

Repeat as necessary.

What could happen eventually? The kid could lose driving privileges. What driving privileges? The kid could go to jail. Who wins? Is s/he going to emerge from jail a changed person, deciding that they were wrong to be poor, and go get an apartment and a job? Gee whiz, it’s a good thing there’s prison to teach us what to do with our lives !

What makes you think you know what’s best for the kids, better than they do?

The reasons I have heard to criminalize it are basically “they intimidate me.” Does our society now decide what’s legal based on what’s intimidating? Furthermore, I know that in this society, the comfort of the rich is often deemed to be more important than the lives of the poor, but I refuse to go along with it.

Look, these kids have no money. Although squeegeeing (sp?) may, from the comfort of your car, look like a glamorous way to make easy money, I can assure you that it is not.

It also amazes me that the same people who don’t give to panhandlers - “Go get a job, you’re able-bodied” - are so often the same people who won’t give to squeegee kids, who have a job. They do work, they get paid for the work they do. It is not a job you would have chosen but again, they are not you. If they were they wouldn’t need to squeegee.

And again it needs to be pointed out that threatening you, stealing from you, etc, are already illegal. If you don’t want to pay them, for the love of god, don’t pay them ! I understand that you may feel threatened as you sit in your car. Guess what? I feel threatened by things quite often, and never do I have the right to say “Hey, I feel threatened ! Make that illegal !”

“That guy is making me nervous - arrest him !” is an acceptable thing to say if he’s living on the street?

Some more food for thought:

A study from the University of Guelph

And finally, although I risk being dismissed as a smug leftie, I need to point out that I have never once been bothered by a squeegee kid, although I live by the lakeshore in Toronto. It’s quite simple. I don’t drive.

I find this discussion interesting, as my medium-size city is having a similar debate over squeegee kids lately (although there are very few of them here).

Interestingly enough, in my local newspaper, a squeegee kid was quoted as saying that he can make $80.00 in half a day’s work. My first instinct was: Holy Crap! That’s more than I take home in half a day after taxes. I should get myself a squeegee!

Seriously, though, I am baffled as to why an s.k. would say something like that. Frankly, he is doing himself no favours by stating that he is making more money than most people. Wouldn’t this make people less likely to give them money? (Although I certainly am not ruling out the possibility that the newspaper could have made the quote up.)

I see Mssr.Vipond has not had one of those little urchins slop filthy and grimey water on his freshly washed and waxed car.