"These are hard times, even for Super Sentai"
A trope is frequenlty seen with people who are homeless, jobless, or both. They spend their time sitting or walking around on the streets, holding a often handwritten cardboard sign to indicate that they are poor and need help.
This trope can come in several variations, for example the beggar uses his signboard to quickly inform people of his situation and to ask them for help. A well-known example is: "homeless, please help". Another variation is demonstrated by the page image, and often used for a quick joke or Cutaway Gag
. Instead of traditional begging for some change, the beggar uses his signboard to try to offer some sort of services in exchange for (most often) food or money. The most common (and serious) of them is “will work for food”, but this trope can easily be Played for Laughs
by making the task promised, or the good asked for by the beggar, something absurd. Some variations may include the beggar making a threat ("Give me money, or else!").
Compare: The End Is Nigh
- In Wreck-It Ralph Q*bert and his fellow characters sit around in game central station after their game is unplugged, holding both a sign that says "Game Unplugged, please help" and a sign that says "Will NPC in FPS for food".
- In Dredd, Dredd and Anderson encounter a beggar holding a sign saying 'Will debase self for money.'
- In A Bug's Life there's a cricket begging in the city with a sign that reads "Kid pulled my wings off".
- In Robots, a robot in Robot City's station has a sign simply saying 'Got Screwed'. The giant screw in his head turns out to be fake.
- In Grand Canyon, Dee notices a man with a cardboard sign that reads "Will Work For Food" as she drives to work.
- In a Saturday Night Live short film, Norm Mac Donald plays a homeless man holding a "will work for food" sign. A distinguished looking gentleman picks him up and takes him to his home, where he has the homeless man do various secretarial/data entry work: rubber stamping, stapling, calculating, etc. At the end of the day the distinguished man gives the homeless man a hot dog on a bun and returns him to where he picked him up. The homeless man then gives the hot dog to his Heterosexual Life Partner-in-homelessness, who is worse off than he is.
- In an episode of Castle dealing with an Occupy Wall Street type of protest, a background character is shown holding one of these signs, but the word "work" has been crossed out and replaced with "protest".
- Seen in the music video of the Van Halen song "Right Now", is a guy holding a sign saying "I will wrestle you for food" with the caption "Right now somebody's got the wrong idea."
- Done in hide's PV for the song Misery, where hide holds a cardboard sign with the words "Stay Free My Misery" in English.
- One comic of Brevity had a homeless man holding out a sign and cup for money. Right next to him was a puppy with an overflowing cash cup, wearing a sign reading: "Give Me Money, I'm Cute."
- The next day's strip has the homeless man take advantage of the pup, by now wearing a sign reading: "Give Me Money Or I Eat The Dog." His money cup is overflowing.
- In Pepsiman, the sidewalk beggars are holding up "Give Me PEPSI" signs.
- In the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games, Ollie the Magic Bum is a fictional playable character, and one of his special moves involves spinning in the air while sitting and holding out a sign that says "Will Skate For Food."
- Vet James Herriot recalls graduating from university into the recession of the early 1930's. The professional magazine, The Veterinary Record, had at the time decided to refuse advertisements from newly qualified vets along the lines of Will work for board and lodging, on the grounds that this was bad for the image of the profession. Herriot himself was lucky - he anticipated unemployment awaited him. Instead he met established vet Seigfreid Farnon.