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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

THIS is ridiculous and REALLY pisses me "free" America...

This is not second hand information, this is the adventure of someone I know personally.  He has been a Mr Mom for many years, raising his child, putting his career on hold since his wife had a stronger job and was able to support them.  As his kid got older, he took part time jobs for cash, and eventually opened his own business once his child was old enough.  His business failed, not by any mistake on his part, but an unfortunate zoning issue his landlord was unwilling to correct.

His child is now old enough for the most part to take care of herself, so he is actively either trying to get a job or start some kind of business, but the reality is, his domestic situation has changed, he is not being supported and he does not have any money, no job.  He would LOVE to work in a field that is enjoyable, or that he is experienced in, but is willing to take ANY job...ANY job.

Unfortunately, he lives rurally in a small town, and there are limited jobs close to the house.  He has exhausted most of the close resources and has been burning up the gas and his car by going and putting in apps and attending fruitless interviews.  He recently saw a job offer on the internet, and called me to feel me out about it.  I was kind of against it...seemed shady and too far to travel, but left it that maybe some money short term was better than no money at all.  I then said that marketing wise, it seemed a better idea to present himself to the greatest number of people by either using the net, or even better, standing on a street corner with a sign that said "READY TO WORK...Not Homeless" or something like that.  He is THAT desperate.  I figured maybe someone with connections would get his info, or a job offer would come out of it...or at a minimum, the TV station or newspaper would pick up on it.

So waiting to hear back from him today to see how the adventure went, I got this email (edited for privacy):

I went out to do what we talked about. I was in a shirt and tie, I parked off the highway, I was at a very busy 3 point intersection at the edge of ******* where a ton of motorists get stopped.   I was off the highway, I had the sign, it was simple it said,





Well I made it about 20 minutes and the  ******** police came, they gave me a rash of shit, they checked my license, registration, the whole bit, then they asked if they could search my car. I don't have anything illegal in there and I figured they'd do it anyway so I let them. They found nothing. So they told me I couldn't do what I was doing, apparantly they have an ordinance against those people begging for money. I told them  wasn't begging and my sign was clear that I wanted no handouts.

I told them everything we talked about last night.

Anyway, I asked them if it would be cool to do it on private property. They didn't actually say yes but they couldn't say no. So I moved to a plaza up the road. Well I was there ten minutes and they showed up again and said stop and leave or they would have to arrest me.

So I left. I should have gotten arrested. That would have made a good story on the news. I was scared though.

I seriously think they were just f****** with me, I cannot see how I was any great threat to them.

I seriously think it is a shame when a normal respectable person, willing and able and ready to work, cannot get a job, and is not allowed to make a desperate plea to the public without being arrested.  This just really chaps me.


Melanie said...

I'm not surprised at all--it's sad that police have nothing better to do. But here's what your friend might want to do:

1) Talk to Legal Aid in whatever county he's in, to see if there's some kind of "panhandling" ordinance and if what he was doing actually fell under that. Sadly, there are irresponsible folks who have ruined it for people like your friend, and a lot of cities and municipalities have passed such laws, but they vary by jurisdiction.

2) get witnesses prior to the police hassling him (if that's possible)

If he finds out from Legal Aid that these cops were truly just harassing him, and would have had no basis to arrest him, he should go back where he was, dressed like he was, acting like he was (this time, armed with a camera or video, if he's got one--or better yet, take a friend along) and set up again. If the cops come back, and threaten arrest, let 'em do it, and then call a lawyer or the ACLU.

Yeah, this chaps me too--that's total BS. You know what chaps me even more? I've been seeing a few Help Wanted ads here and there lately, noting "unemployed need not apply". Don't. Even. Get. Me. Started...

Good Luck!

Your long-winded queen of op-ed friend ;)

Jes said...

tell him to apply to's freelance writing work, but it's steady, and provides $15-20 per article...and there's thousands of articles titles to choose from...i've been doing this for a while now to get us through the tough times...