Friday, January 8, 2010

Something to be Said About Going Stealth

Journal Entry: Weight = 174.2 lbs ( third loss in a row); Coinage = $.12, a nickel and seven pennies; Glass bottles = 4; Ground scores = 6 including a nice yellow onion that must have escaped someone’s grocery sack. Will the onion be eaten, not if Ms MoneyWalker has a say.

Feature Entry: Something to be Said About Going Stealth

This morning the chill factor was 15 degrees, a very very cold morning for New Orleans standards. Still I layered up and put in the time, but found only $.12 cents instead of the usual plus dollar finds. Finding money while walking still remains a pleasurable marvel, one of disbelief that so much money is left behind each day. But finding money is not easy, to be successful one needs all the sources of accomplishment—art, science, luck, and politics (more details later).

As for art and science, the skill of finding money, two aspects must be followed. Moneywalkers must put in the time and learn where people lose money. I use two types of walking habits in order to get in the time. First is the constitutional walk of 90 minutes every morning starting at 6:30 a.m. on most mornings. This early, the MoneyWalker usually has the streets and parking lots for his self. Then during the day, several mini walks or utility walks are added to the total. Walking to local stores and places of business rather than riding are easy examples. But even when travelling by car to a destination, I park in a remote spot and then search the lot as I come and go from the central destination. A lot of coins are found using this system.

Yet there are social and psychological costs that must be paid when using daytime coin searches. One happened yesterday. The end point was a doctor’s office. The selected parking lot was a drug store two blocks away. In using the free lot, I avoided the more convenient parking garage, earning even more "passive income" by saving the fee, and added steps to my daily total.

Then it happened. As I was checking the drug store parking lot using my zoom walking and highly focused visual scanning technique, a person right out of central casting (a street bum) asked me something about a cigarette. Feeling a little annoyed in having to break stride and visual focus but remaining civil I responded, “I don’t have any cigarettes!” He responded back, “No, what I asked was, can I give you a cigarette?” Through my embarrassment,I knew this was a gracious gesture. "Thank you, but no," I said. Yet, the irony and humor did not escape notice.

There are coins to be found during the business hours of a day, calories that can be burned, but it is not good on the ego to be perceived as a comrade by the brotherhood of the street. Shame and guilt are always very close to the surface when practicing non normative behavior. These types of scenarios happen quite a lot during day walking and assuming the posture of one searching the streets. Finding money is an art form, but there is something to be said for going stealth during the process.



  1. Because I am not a pretty sight in the mornings and am obviously scouting for shiny objects I have been asked a number of times if I need help. Just the other morning someone drove by and asked if my car was stuck in the snow. I still can't figure that one out. Some characters are a little creepy at that early time so I usually try to stay away from other people. Stealth is good.

  2. The brotherhood of the street. I like it. Been there as well. Stay stealthy, my friend.

  3. Yes, I quite agree with your sentiments....I am a skosh put off by too much money walking, particularly in zones of high familiarity. While my husband is an avid, if not aggressive and overt money stalker, I am quite a bit more subtle. He demonstrates no qualms about repeatedly hunting in video surveillance areas or in the same locations daily. On the other hand, I only "money walk" when it is a seemless, natural stroll, or if is conveniently works into my daily routine. I do not relish being recognized by a student, colleague, or acquaintance as a scrounging hobo. I am the Stealth Queen.