Sociologists at Loughborough University have tested out the old phrase "Beggars Cannot Be Choosers" to see how much truth it holds.
"We had a blank week between identifying the next big thing and solving the riddle of the supermarket checkout queue," said sociologist Wayne Pipe. "So we decided to see if beggars should be choosers or not."
A quick trip down to Loughborough train station allowed them to round up a dozen people asking passers by for sixty pence.
"Why beggars have hit upon sixty pence is a thesis in itself," said Pipe. "My guess is that people will give them a pound instead. It's a bit awkward asking for change."
These beggars were taken back to the university and shown stock market trading figures. They were all told to pick a stock. Each of them would have ten pounds, depending on how their stock did by the end of the day, the money that their ten pounds had become would be theirs. The even had the option of swapping stocks at any point during the day, to maximise their profit.
"It was in their interest to select the best stock," said Pipe. "In other words, we were testing the beggars ability to choose."
Unfortunately, when the sociologists returned to see how the beggars were getting on they discovered that nine of the beggars had buggered off with the departmental computers. The three that were left had all selected the wrong stocks and turned their ten pounds into a thirty million pound deficit for the university to pick up.
"It was a bit of a disaster," admitted Pipe. "However, we have come to some firm conclusions. Firstly, beggars should not be choosers, and secondly, sociologists should not be allowed anywhere near reality."