Beggars are always bad for business


It should come as no surprise that having annoying people right outside your door is bad for business. For instance, I tend to avoid one store that always has an obnoxious beggar on the corner, only a few feet from the entrance. But when I think about the various types of people that can scare away customers, it’s not just the homeless or crazy types. Instead, there’s another group to contend with: clean-cut people trying to raise money for charity.

You rarely see anyone asking for charitable donations or even selling girl scout cookies in the city, but I understand they’re quite common in the suburbs. Before I lived in Chicago, I remember walking past those people who had set up camp outside Walmart, Target and other big stores during the holiday season. Whether or not a store approves of them being there, one thing is clear: anyone who stands near your store and harasses customers is going to hurt your sales. You can rationalize their right to be there all you want, but make no mistake: you’re paying them out of your bottom line.