Choosing Beggars; or, How Dare You Not Offer Full Service for Free Goods

“Person must be a beggar and be choosy – they must be both. Someone asking for free goods or service must also be an asshole. That’s where the comedy is,” reads one of the rules for posting on the subreddit, r/ChoosingBeggars. This has quickly become one of my favorite pastimes.

What exactly is a Choosing Beggar?

It’s exactly like it sounds, really. The name comes from the old adage, “Beggars can’t be choosers.” Well, apparently, there are some people out there who didn’t see that so much as a rule as a challenge. Most often, these are people who respond to ads listing a free item and ask ridiculous requests, devolving into pleas for help, via contrived sob stories, followed by curse words and threats.

Along with free item ads, the most common other types of CBs are those who solicit artists for free goods/services and those who respond with insultingly low offers to ads selling a product. They’re all insane and terrible people.

So, why are we talking about them here?

While my website is Observations in RETAIL, I do not stop there. I’m more focused on the Customer, which I refer to usually as the Shopper, and their ridiculous interactions with service industry workers. I go where the stupid is. CBs are among the absolute worst people and are the best examples of shitty customers. I, for one, love them, because they are so incredibly deluded and self-important that I can’t help but laugh at them. They’re so curious. Why anyone would think that their behavior is even remotely acceptable is beyond me. But the truth of the matter is that they’ll employ these same methods not only with private citizens online but out in the real world at restaurants and retail stores. I don’t know why they think these weak manipulations will work, but they remain undaunted by their failures.

So, let’s take a look:

This is the typical exchange between a seller and a CB. Seller has item available for pickup for free. CB wants item but can’t pick it up and wants the seller to go above and beyond for them to get it there, in this case, paying for the shipping for the CB on a FREE item, which is, of course, asinine.

Here’s another:

CB wants a free piece of original, personalized art from an artist. When CB doesn’t get his way, he lashes out at the artist for being a professional. That’s usually how a CB reacts to rejection, with hateful comments. And this brings me to another point with which I always contend: PAY. ARTISTS. FOR. THEIR. WORK. No one asks you to go in and perform your job for free because it’s your passion or something you enjoy. (Unless you’re a federal employee, apparently.)

How about another one:

I don’t think this needs explaining. Here’s another one (apologies for the racial slur at the end):

The other major subset of CBs is the account leech, someone who has been using another person’s account without invitation or on rescinded invitation, and asks for them to allow them to have continued access:

And then there’s the rando, often a “friend”, who begs for free stuff, often money, from you:

“Thought we were mates. Obvs not.” Ah, the guilt trip, the Shopper’s, and CB’s, best friend and last resort. Do not be fooled by sob stories like these, for they are rarely 100% genuine and are most likely exaggerated. It’s a manipulation tactic, pure and simple.

For more Choosing Beggars, check out our facebook page or the Choosing Beggars subreddit. Thanks for joining me on this introduction to an interesting variety of Shopper.

-The Retail Explorer

Inktober; or, I’ve Actually Got the Time to Do This For a Change

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Every year, when autumn rolls around, I tell myself, I’m going to participate in Inktober or NaNoWriMo, and every year, I either forget or I try and fail. “Well, this year is going to be different!” I proclaimed. Then I blinked, and it was October 7th, and I’d forgotten. Oops.

But you know the old expression: Better late than never. My friend, Ally (@Ally_Santra on Twitter), started doing a pinup Inktober prompt list, which I found very interesting. So, I dove in and double-timed it to catch up, and in the end, for the first time ever, I completed it. I can’t tell you how uplifting that was in a time when I really needed a win.

In this post, I’ve included every black-and-white drawing I did throughout the month, but my favorites I’ve colored and added a few words about what I like and more importantly, what it has taught me about myself and my work.

At the beginning, I was posting three drawings per day to catch up, and I actually liked two out of every three. Not bad, really. And it’s not that I hated the others; I just didn’t feel they were nearly as good. I used all five of my series’ recurring female characters as the models, and while I love all of my girls, I think my favorites are Ash and Maren. Their drawings usually turned out to be the best ones I created for this month.

Inktober 2018 #31

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world…”

Alright, let’s get this one out of the way first. You all know how much I love Casablanca, so for the group Halloween costume this year, I decided to take inspiration from there. First off, yes, it’s not a pinup. Sorry, not sorry. My challenge to myself was to actually make a scene without any dialogue, and I’m pleased with what I accomplished. There’s tons of tension everywhere. But my favorite part is Mike as Sam. His design turned out better than I could have hoped. It’s a difficult pose, and it was going to be an excellent test of my skills. I had so much fun with this drawing.

Okay, now, on to the actual pinup drawings, starting with Stefanie, Esmerelda, and Caroline.

Inktober 2018 #1

“Witchy woman. See how high she flies.”

First drawing of the month, and I felt great about it; one of my best drawings of Stefanie. Until this one.

Inktober 2018 #26

Raggedy Ann, you need a longer skirt, I guess?

I’m sure a good chunk of these don’t technically classify as “pinup”, but who’s counting anyway? I really tried to get good pinup poses when I could. I think this one was a homerun. Or at least a triple followed by an RBI.

Inktober 2018 #22

“Gotta lose your mind in Detroit rock city.”

I’m a KISS fan, I’ll admit it. They’re a legendary spectacle, and I wanted to have some fun with the prompt.

Inktober 2018 #5

“Hey, good lookin’. Whatcha got cookin’?”

Esmerelda, our newest character, kind of got the short end of the stick. But she started off well. I found out that I had a hard time drawing butts, apparently.

Here’s Caroline showing off that I still cannot draw posteriors. Wonderful. On the other hand, here’s Caroline looking delightfully literary…sort of.

I absolutely love this drawing. With my Inktober drawings, it was either feast or  “I guess I could eat”. I either loved it or it was just passable. Unless it was one of these two golden girls: Ash and Maren. I loved just about every drawing I did of them. I’m going to start with Maren first.

Inktober 2018 #4

Music makes me happy.

There is nothing here I don’t love. Everything just kinda clicked. Everything looks good. It all works. I was blown away.

Inktober 2018 #28

“Hey! Listen!”

Another one rocking on all cylinders. I have a few girls who have interesting hair styles; interesting in that they look great from one side and weird from another. Maren is one of those girls. Stefanie is the other. Maren looks excellent from her right side. Not so much from the left. So, I wanted to work on that. For reference, here’s her from the right.Inktober 2018 #24 (Color Background)

See? Looks so great. That’s why I focused on the left side. I want to be able to get her into shots from all angles, along with other characters, and there’s only one way to get that down: Practice.

Inktober 2018 #7

Good morning!

Ash, on the other hand, has no problems like that. She’s the first girl I drew and has changed relatively little over the course of the series. I really think the only major change to her look is her eyes, which have elongated over the past couple of years as I figured out my drawing style, something I probably should have done before starting a comic, but whatever; that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, I love this drawing for the pose. It just looks like it works, and there’s such a lovely little moment there. I love the joy in her face, the optimism, because that’s who she is.


Inktober 2018 #3

Fall is upon us.

I could absolutely envision this before I drew it, and I’m gobsmacked that it actually came out the way I imagined it. Another happy stretch for Ash. She’s been a great study in body language.

Inktober 2018 #25

Heartbreaker? Hardly.

This one was another surprise favorite. The response on this one was higher than I expected. Don’t get me wrong: I love the hell out of this drawing. I just was surprised it got as much love from y’all as it did. I almost think this one shows more about my growth as an artist than any others. It all just looks…right.

These were fun ones. And I think that’s the other side of Inktober: Enjoying your art. If it’s not enjoyable, what the hell’s the point? We create because, well, we must. There’s no other way to describe it. We create because if we don’t, we’ll probably explode. The energy needs an escape, and this is our steam release valve.

Inktober 2018 #27

Opposing forces.

I’ll leave you with this one. Not the strongest of the group, but it’s a fun one. There’s two sides to every coin. Doesn’t take a lot to flip it.

So, what has Inktober taught me about myself? A good deal, really. September and October have been trying months. Really, 2018 in general has been difficult. With so much going on, Inktober was, first and foremost, a much-needed lift, a wonderful release. It was incredible having both the time and energy to be able to pour into such an exercise. Beyond that, it showed me how much I’ve grown as an artist. Inktober made me take some more risks than I usually do in my regular comics. For the most part, I feel I was successful, and really, I felt successful in just completing this month-long challenge. It was an enormous boon I desperately needed. This is something I can do pretty well, and it’s something that I can enjoy at the same time. I can’t stress enough how important such a thing is to have in your life. It will help propel me forward for the challenges which still lay ahead.

-The Retail Explorer