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THE GREAT VENICE BEACH
DIME GIVEAWAY

Skep ti cism – n. A doubting or questioning attitude or state of mind; dubiety.

It sure ain’t like the good old days, is it? People are just so darn skeptical. Sigh. So in an effort gage the suspicion level of the general populace, we decided to give away money, no strings attached. We sat on the Venice Beach boardwalk with a jar full of dimes and the following poster:

The Great Venice Beach
!DIME OFFER!
Today only we will give out one dime
($.10 legal U.S. tender) for only one
nickel ($.05 legal U.S. tender).

This results in a 100% profit for you!
Event subsidized by:  The Toilet paper
Limit one per customer. Must be 18 or have parents permission.
Employees of The Toilet Paper are not eligible to participate.

The woman selling straw dolls next to us saw the strange looks we were getting and finally got up to read the poster. "You’re giving out dimes? For a nickel?" We had our first customer.

But giving away money was an uphill battle from there on out. "Get a job!" one man yelled at us.
"But sir, we’re not asking for money. We’re trying to give you money. Please, take a dime."
"Why don’t you stop begging and get a job!" he retorted. We considered throwing a dime at his head, but in the end decided it wasn’t worth the headache.

For the next hour people paused, read the sign, gave us questioning looks and walked on. Not a single person dared to make the exchange. Flustered, we stepped up the marketing campaign, chanting, "Free money! Free money! Get your free money here!" Alas this discouraged people even more. "Maybe the sign’s too complicated," we reasoned and created another, simpler poster:

The Great Venice Beach
DIME GIVEAWAY

ASK FOR YOUR FREE DIME!
TODAY ONLY!

Sponsored by
The Toilet Paper.

Fifteen minutes later we got our first real customer. A girl approached and said, "You’re weird, but cool.  Can I have my dime?"

"Hey Momma! Momma, get over here," the straw-doll-woman next to us called out to a homeless lady digging through the trash. "Momma, tell these guys to give you a dime." Customer number two.  The customers came pouring in after that:

  • Big fat black woman walked up, said "Where’s my dime?" and shoved her palm in my face.
  • Drunk guy. "Heeeyyyy, what time is it? Is it noon yet. No? Wow, I’ve finished three Bloody Mary’s before noon. Alright! Hey, can I have a cigarette instead of my dime? No? Okay, can I have my dime? Alright! You really gave me a dime! Thanks, man! Thanks."
  • Older woman with a Georgetown University sweatshirt. According to her, both of her children were out of school but were living at home. "I hope you all have other jobs."
  • Long haired dude.
  • Guy from Quebec in yellow shirt with accent. "This doesn’t happen in Quebec."
  • Young kid, 15-ish.
  • Another kid, also 15-ish.
  • Third kid. "Get the hell out of here," we yelled. "It’s one per group."

And that marked the end of the day. Seven hours, ten dimes. The great Venice Beach Dime Giveaway. 

Thoughts?  mailto:thoughts@thetp.com

 

 

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