From Marginal Revolution:
Currently, the direct, humorous approach is in vogue. That's why in many cities today you'll hear some version of: "I won't lie to you, I need a drink." Panhandlers also report that asking for specific amounts of money lends credibility to pitches. "I need 43 more cents to get a cup of coffee," a panhandler will declare; some people will give exactly that much, while others will simply hand over a buck.
Oddly, the tips are offered on-line:
If it seems unlikely that a homeless person would surf the Web for advice on how to panhandle, that's exactly the point: many aren't homeless and are lying about their circumstances....MORE