Fredericton — This summer, local beggar Arnold Roth is prepping his time-tested business model for some major “change.”
Inspired by the recent surge in popularity of the food truck industry in New Brunswick, the notable Fredericton-based bum has decided to go mobile with his successful panhandling business.
“Y’see, it’s all about changing with the times,” said Roth. “There was a time where you could just fake a war injury and make yourself a killing. People got hip to that pretty quick, so you had to get yourself a dog to get that sympathy money. Eventually, that just started pissing folks off — animal cruelty, and all that. Now, everybody needs to come up with some sorta cute sign, so people will want to take your picture to put on Twitter.”
Roth explained that, to him, a mobile panhandling truck seemed to be the next logical step. “It’s a constantly evolving business, man. You gotta stay two steps ahead just to keep up.”
Following the example of the many other local restaurants who are hitting the road this summer, Roth says that he doesn’t plan on changing the fundamentals of his business. The goal is the same, to prompt passersby into forking over their spare change.
“It’s a competitive marketplace these days,” said Roth. “Hopefully the truck will provide enough pizzazz to catch people’s attention.”
Novelty isn’t the only thing Roth is bringing to the table with this move, however. He also plans on expediting the process and making it easier on his “clients” to donate by accepting Apple Pay and Interac Debit as well as usual pocket change.
“I’m working on setting up PayPal and Patreon accounts, too,” said Roth, “But it’s kinda hard to do that in 15-minute increments on a library computer.”
Roth welcomed Manatee reporters to his northside garage to get a glimpse of the colourful $73,000 truck, which Roth assures is “not quite finished.” “I still gotta get the WiFi and speakers hooked up, and I’ve hired a guy to come up with some original decal designs.”
When asked if he ever considered that it might be poor business practice to invest so much capital in a business in which only revenue is small change, Roth simply winked and smiled.
“You gotta spend money to make money.”