The "spilled sandwich tray": a novel way to make money in Bogota

 
On the streets of Bogota, beggars are resorting to imaginative new techniques to get a few pesos out of passers-by, as one of Observers explains below.
 
According to a study published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, more than a third of the population lived under the poverty line in 2011.
 
Colombia also ranks second in the world in terms of internal displacement. Nearly 4 million people have fled armed conflicts within its borders. Many of these people flee from the countryside to major cities, notably the capital Bogota, where they often find themselves without resources.
Contributors

"Even if you don't feel sympathy, consider giving them a coin for ingenuity and acting”

Mike Ceaser is a tour organiser working in Bogota. He runs the blog Mike's Bogota Blog
 
So, one day you happen to be walking down a street behind a guy carrying a tray of drinks and sandwiches, apparently hurrying to supply some office, an art gallery or something.
 
"Oh, the terrible tragedy of it all!"

But, suddenly the man trips, scattering the food across the sidewalk. He kneels and sobs tragically. His whole afternoon's work is lost, not to mention the ingredients and the delivery contract.
 
Sympathetic to the man's bad luck, you reach into your pocket and pull out a few bills. 'Tough luck. Hope you do better next time, mate.'
 
"Attracting a crowd (and my dog). How can we help?"
 
But stop for a moment and take a look at that food. The 'sandwiches' are just pieces of cheap white bread stuck together with a bit of butter or mayonaise. And the 'drinks,' if you could taste one, would be coloured water, I bet.
 
The food spilling manoeuvre must be pretty effective to make it worth all the trouble in preparation and the cost of the materials, although I bet the guy gets discarded bread, which he reuses over and over. Water's free and mayonnaise is cheap.
 
"A helping hand."
 
Another theatrical beggary I've noticed recently around Bogota are guys armed with shovels and hoes to give themselves an industrious, hard-working appearance. 'Give me money, since I'm ready to work, as you can see.' Sure, they look out of place amidst the cement and asphalt, which require a jackhammer instead of a shovel. But I imagine there's an unconscious psychological effect.
 
I've also seen more energetic version of this, in which a man stands by a pothole and industriously fills it - probably only to empty it again after you've past by.
 
Even if you don't feel sympathy, consider giving them a coin for ingenuity and acting.
 
 

Comments

good article !

good article !

very good article!

very good article!

Disagreement with assessment

I disagree with the assessment that this is a common practice in Colombia. While I do not deny that it might happen (as photographic evidence proves), it is not by any means a common ploy to gain money from passersby.

Furthermore, the information on Colombia is inexact. While it effectively ranks second in the world in terms of internal displacement, it is not the third poorest country in Latin America. As you can see in the ECLAC's 2012 report, even depending on the indicator you consider, the assessment is incorrect. In terms of poverty, Colombia has 37% of the population, which is less than Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Dominican Republic and almost the same as Mexico. In terms of absolute poverty (12%), it is lower than in ten other countries. It is one of the Latin American countries with the highest inequality (Gini coefficient), but that is another story.

This is the report: http://www.cepal.org/publicaciones/xml/5/48455/PanoramaSocial2012DocI-Rev.pdf

Not true

Before writing please get facts straight . Bogota is one of the richest cities in Latin America. Colombia is second strongest economy in South America. It replaced Argentina last month.

Don't make things up .

Close