I’ve joked about it for years, but yesterday it finally happened.  I was walking in downtown Seattle when I was stopped by a man selling “Real Change.”  Real Change is a newspaper printed by a non-profit organization and then sold by Seattle homeless to help them earn money.  Real Change says their publication is “…a handup, not a handout.”  The “vendor” purchases the papers for 35 cents a copy and then sells them for a dollar, which provides them a source of income that they work for.  As I was saying, I was stopped by a man asking if I’d like to purchase a Real Change paper.  I told him that unfortunately I was only carrying credit cards at the time and unless he has a point of sale system handy I wouldn’t be able to purchase a paper today.  At this point he retrieved an iPhone from his pocket equipped with a credit card reader… all I could do was laugh and tell him that I had warned people that this day would come.  He chuckled as well, gave me a paper on the house and said, “You’ll remember me next time.”
I think sooner or later you can expect to see pan handlers with their messages for help scribbled out on an iPad2.