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Everyone knows that people are more likely to part with their money if you can make them smile. Pictures of bums holding up signs with humorous explanations of why they need money have been spread on the internet sometimes inspiring non-poor people to hold up signs in tribute.
Common variations of funny signs are:
Surreal signs that give a ridiculous reason why the beggar is impoverished/in need of money. e.g. "Ninjas killed (or kidnapped) my family – need money for kung fu (or karate) classes.
Signs that humorously address what the money is really being spent on – e.g. “need money for hookers and alcohol (at least I’m honest)”, or “why lie? need beer”
Signs that challenge the guy reading it to give money e.g. “I bet you can’t hit me with a quarter”
Signs that advertise that the beggar is willing to do unlikely work for food e.g. “Will code HTML for food”