Business Week this week runs a great story about a biz student whose internship project was to increase daily revenue of a panhandler through adjusting the emotional pitch of the cardboard sign:
"The concept behind the experiment: Marketing products through pricing or product features alone results in only one-time purchases. However, if a customer feels an emotional attachment to the product, there is a greater chance for repeat buying and loyalty. "My goal was to create an emotional attachment between people on the street and Amy so that they would become 'repeat customers,'" says Zimmerman."
I was writing a story for my undegrad newspaper once about how much money the panhandlers make. I went undercover, got me a wig and a tin can, and spent a day on a lively city square. Got about $8 in two hours. That's in Bulgaria, where the average monthly salary at the time was around $100.