The fake monks, possibly funded by a Chinese gang that provide their robes and visas, first appeared at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall a couple years ago. They solicit "donations" from tourists and locals, often tricking people into accepting fake prayers and cheaply made tchotchkes and then demanding cash. Faneuil Hall fought back by posting warnings which advised locals and tourists to ignore the "Fake Monk Mafia."
But the fake monks simply spread to other parts of the city, with a focus on tourist hot spots like parks and the waterfront. They can legally panhandle as long as they don't get too aggressive, so they toe a fine line of obnoxiousness. It's bad for local businesses, but it's also bad for Boston's real charities. People are only so giving, and the monks can quickly sap any goodwill that could be going toward nobler efforts, like getting the entire city speech therapy.
San Francisco Is Full Of s**t (Literally)
San Francisco is one of the wealthiest, most technologically advanced cities in the world. It has every amenity a resident could possibly need ... except public toilets. There aren't enough to accommodate the city's many asses, and as one of the great works of human literature taught us, everybody poops. Which means the city's growing homeless population has been forced to defecate on the streets.
The situation is dire enough that people are creating interactive poop maps, like Jenn Wong's Human Wasteland, which lists all public feces reported to the city's 311 hotline. There's also Haochi Chen's less elegantly named San Franshitsco, a map that pulls from 311 reports and official city data.
Haochi Chen/Google MapsIf you plan on visiting downtown, you’ll want to pack galoshes.