Our roving reporter has discovered the source of the ‘don’t feed the bums’ stickers that have mysteriously appeared on municipal signs and a couple local store windows lately around OB.
After roaming up and down Newport Avenue this morning (6/10/10), our reporter found only two of the controversial yellow and black stickers – both on South Coast Surf Shop windows and doors.
When we called South Coast about them, Bobby told me “someone” put them up, and that actually the Black was selling them. The Black? The iconic hippie store – the store that has been on Newport for – what 40 years now?
Ellie, who has worked at The Black for 20 years, confirmed for me that yes, indeed, the sticker is sold at their store. How much, I asked. $2.50 was the answer.
Wow, I thought. After all these years, what a cultural turn-around. Here 40 years ago, it was the Black’s customers – the hippies, the young people and street people of yesteryear – who were being harassed. Now, in a dramatic, ironic, and retrograde turnabout, The Black is now selling anti-homeless stickers.
And then Ellie told me why.
The bums are way outta control. The new homeless people, not the older street people, just the punk rock homeless who beg aggressively. They don’t have to be homeless. They’re trust-fund runaways. They think it’s cool to be dirty and beg. And then they come into our store and buy something with a credit card.
“I know alotta of the older OB homeless,” she said, “and they’re not these kids.” Ellie even shared a rumor that a BBQ grill had been found on some business’ roof recently, being used by homeless.
So there it was: class distinctions among the homeless. Merchants riled up against the new homeless, the “trust-fund runaways.” Yet, even though the stickers are being sold, we have only found one business displaying them (1 business with 2 shops). And we have found the source of the new, pricey stickers. And I guess The Black can’t be liable for any of the stickers being stuck on public signs, now can they.
The homeless, whether the new homeless or the older regulars, they’re still with us. There’s those who want to feed them and those who don’t want to and don’t want you feeding them either. “Welcome to Ocean Beach,” as the sticker says.