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November 28, 2009

Are Baltimore bums getting more innovative?

parking ticketYou know the old standbys: The scruffy dude on the corner with a wad of newspaper and a bottle of blueish water, offering to wipe your windshield -- or the guy banging on the overturned bucket.

But the other day, I saw something I'd never seen before.

I had parked on Broadway in Fells Point, and was walking up to the automated parking kiosk when a panhandler approached me with an offer:

"Four hours, half price," he said.

At first, I didn't get what he was saying. Then he stuck out his hand, which had a couple crumpled parking slips in it.

Oh, I thought. I firmly but politely declined ...

Who knows if his parking slips were even the right day. He could have fished them out of the trash can the day before.

Still, the incident made me wonder -- has the recession made bums more innovative? That's the first time I've ever had a dude try to sell me parking slips. Have you seen any other examples of stuff like this around?

(Photo of the parking slip I paid full price for by me)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 10:17 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Random stuff


Don't be to hard on the person you call a bum,at least he didn't try to rob or hurt you.People are hurting out here in this economy and lord knows it could be a friend or close relative you meet next week.

i like to give my parking receipts to others just to short the criminally inept parking authority

i caught a bum taking a dump in my parking lot this morning. i was not so happy, and let him know about it. is that better for you james?

James -

Do you really think the 'bum' that offered Sam a ticket for half price was doing it out of the goodness of his heart? I hardly think so. Anyone that you don't know who just walks up to you and wants to 'help' you, isn't. He WAS trying to rob Sam. You don't need a gun to rob someone, Bernie Madoff proved that. Yes, if you are trying to cheat someone you are a bum.

I experienced this once - I think two years ago, somewhere a couple of blocks from Power Plant when we went to my company Christmas party. We of course turned him down.

My theory is that they are using cloned/stolen credit cards.

If the ticket is for the right day and time, why the hell not? In this economy I'm down with saving money any way I can.

Towson just installed the parking tickets, we had used coins in the past. I saw a congregation of bums around one of these machines the other day and avoided it. I guess this explains my concern.

They are probalby using Visa or MC gift cards. Even without a balance they will authorize the transaction, basicly you can park for free. I may be ruining this for everyone who does this though.

Mark Twain once said there are three types of lies - lies, damned lies, and statistics. Nevertheless, statistics show that an overwhelming majority of homeless are addicts, and you should not give money to panhandlers because they will just use it to buy their drug of choice. I used to make an exception for those who were missing a limb, until I learned that you can lose a limb from a drug overdose. Give to a charity that supports the cause rather than to the guy/gal on the street.

I haven't experienced this. Back in the day, the homeless men on Broadway used to offer to "watch" your meter for you and reload it. I didn't trust them to ever try it, though. The other day, I did find a ticket with two hours left on it in a machine. I was at Whole Foods in Harbor East. It was a nice surprise, and I'll probably do it the next time I have some time left on my ticket.

Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a job, sir. The bums will always lose. Do you hear me, Lebowski?... The bums will always lose!

Any time you can mix in a Lebowski quote/reference I'm all for it!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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