Can shake or shakedown?

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Every city has its streetside merchant class. New York has (had?) its squeegee men. L.A. has its citrus vendors on the offramps. And, as we all know, New Orleans has the can shake, where representatives of various causes don't offer to clean your windshield or sell you oranges, but just walk up to your car window and shake a can, hoping you'll give them money.

An unsigned letter to the editor begged Gambit to do a story on the pervasiveness of the can shake:

I venture to guess I am not the only person fed up with certain organizations at multiple intersections, begging for money. Not only is it annoying to have some persistent churchgoer peer into my window & shake a jar of change at me -- NO, that's it -- it's just annoying. Not to mention the poor teens begging for money to help their poorly funded sports teams in 100°+ weather! ...

I have even witnessed a church organization and a homeless man fight over a street corner! Another screamed "F--- you" into my friend's car ....

Why can't these organizations do something good for the community, so that we may want to support them? Offer some service that we might pay for ... how about a bake sale, clothing drive, canned food drive, garage sale or a car wash?

If you are the head of some organization, whether it be a basketball team, or a church, for profit or for not, you are the head of a business. Read a book, take a course, get your jars out of our faces!

Sincerely,

Over it and out of change

What say you? Do can-shakers drive you crazy, or are they OK? Any good stories about encounters with can-shakers?

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