So this Lady and her kid have her car hood up. She says she lives in Tucson and knows nobody in Sierra Vista. Well I went and bought a gallon of gas and put it in an empty water jug and drive back to give to her. Now there is this old grizzly guy in the passenger seat. You know I would not help if a guy was hanging around. So the guy is hiding while the lady gets help.
Then after that - I go to family dollar, and there is this old lady and a huge dog that weighs 120 pounds. She makes motions for money but can't speak. Maybe she was just pretending being able not to speak to avoid a $400 fine for panhandling. Who knows.
What gets really stupid is that the old lady was asking this young woman, and the young woman instead of saying 'no' - says "Oh I only have 3 cents in my pocket" - then what the hell is she going to the store then? Shoplifting for Christmas? Whenever somebody has a long winded excuse instead of saying 'no' they are using weasel words.
But beware, the more pathetic the begger appears to be, the most likely a scam. Talk to the people and see what kind of shady story they come up with. I remember this one guy saying his kid just had a kidney transplant and needed money for the bus to go to another state. Nobody takes a bus after a kidney transplant. I had a free taxi ride home that was just two blocks after I had my tubes tied when I told them I was walking home in Honolulu.
Be judicial in your donations.
Perhaps my "How the Internet Destroyed My Faith in Humanity" thing should be re-titled "How Humanity Destroyed My Faith In Humanity."
None disgust me more than the ones who claim to be soldiers and veterans, though. I ran into one in an airport a few years ago during a layover that was begging money to for a meal because he allegedly spent all his money on plane tickets to get home for the holidays. He was a PFC according to his field jacket, and frankly I nearly bought it right up until he called me "sir" in spite of the clearly displayed E-2 rank on my uniform. A few questions about his unit, duty station, and his jacked-up uniform answered with evasion or complete nonsense later and I was informing the staff of the McDonald's he was parked outside of.
Truly sad. There's nothing people won't exploit, is there?
I assume she is going to the store with her debit card, which is not something you would give to a beggar.
I don't think my son OR his wife have had more than a dollar in their pocket/purse for 5 years, and I'm getting nearly as bad. Cash is getting to be a thing of the past, good only for gumball machines.
That and convincing a Craigslist seller they should take your offer of all that green stuff you're waving in their face...
I heard that Unemployment benefits now come on a debit card. I got ads for a card swiper that just goes on your laptop. Maybe we should donate laptops to beggars...
So what if there are scams?
I would rather be fooled out of a couple bucks at a scammer's hand than to be too cynical to give a couple of bucks to someone who might be using it to buy food or gifts for their kids.
My five bucks isn't going to make anyone rich or buy many drugs, but it CAN buy a cheap meal or toy for a kid that needs it.
I'll make that mistake a hundred times if I get it right just once.
Edit: And in addition... Why on earth would an old grizzled guy stop you from helping? What is that about? Was the car any less out of gas with him there?
So what if there are scams? The fact that people are willing to exploit the decency of others isn't problematic to you? I get your point, but you can't disregard the root of the problem. If it weren't for the ones who prey on the kindness of people, perhaps some of we cynics would be faster to help and everyone could be better off.
I'm very sure there are a few rich people begging outside of family dollars stores somewhere. I don't really think it's a big percentage. If your car is broke down beside the road, I don't care if you're Bill Gates, you need help. If you are begging for money outside of a Dollar store, you are quite probably poor.
I don't care what the made up story is. They are poor, obviously poor enough to be reduced to begging. Rich people, in general, don't beg outside of thrift shops.
Like I said, I'd rather be a fool than an asshat. I'd rather help when it's not needed than not help when it is. I'd hope someone would do the same for me if, God forbid, I had to beg to get the things I needed.
I'd happily give my shirt to someone who was cold, but would I hand money to someone who's trying to feed people a sob story that is entirely false and prey on their virtue? Absolutely not. Like so many things in life, it's a case-by-case basis, and if I should be wrong and refuse to help someone who genuinely needs it, then call me an asshat if you will. I wouldn't be cynical about it if there weren't so many liars. I don't feel the need to stand on a self-made pedestal to bolster my own sense of self-worth, nor do I need to hand money to every person who asks me for it to make myself feel good.
Wow, I don't even know where to start with that.
1. How do you know it's a sob story?
2. If liars have made you cynical, then that's on you. Not them. It's not their fault that you became cynical. That was YOUR choice.
3. If you think that helping someone is putting yourself on a pedestal, then yeah... you probably shouldn't do it. It would obviously be damaging to you.
I don't know what kind of person needs to give to feel good about themselves. I can't even follow that thought process. If you think that's why people give, then you might be a bit beyond cynical. I'm not even sure what that place is called.
I was almost impressed that this was a fairly civil discourse, then you had to go getting personal. I'm not about to get dragged into that, so my apologies but you'll have to go without further elaboration on that one.
Like most things mean people use as crutches to justify their behavior, there are numbers to disprove the entire mean-spirited and selfish premise.
In fact, 82% of pan-handlers are indeed homeless, and 94% spend the money on food (only about $25/day) compared to 44% using it for drugs/alcohol. 62% of panhandlers are disabled and 26% are vets.
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/1 … ing-stats/
More importantly though, is the sad state of affairs that leads an otherwise decent human being to the conclusion that poor people are guilty simply for being poor. As if poor people control the unemployment rate, or how much much corporate money is sheltered overseas to avoid taxation. As if poor people control how much congress chooses to cut from WIC or SNAP this year, or from HUD or from UI. Many homeless people are gay, many are disabled (mentally or otherwise). Many are on the streets because of the shoddy way in which society shuns them, not because they are inherently defective.
Apparently I live in a very weird area. Newspaper article a few months ago just about reversed those figures - well over half were "professional" beggars, doing it by choice, and they were not taking in $25 per day, but more likely between $100 and $500. Many of those people that agreed to talk to reporters make well above average for this area.
Very few were disabled, but few used it for drugs either. Anyone plying a trade with enough skill to net a couple of hundred per day, day in and day out, isn't whacked out of their mind on some drug. Vet status was not discussed that I can recall.
Nor is this anything new - when I moved into a poor, rural county in Va. in the 70's there were professional beggars there, too, and some were among the wealthiest people in the area.
If you make over $75k/yr ($200/day), then you could not possible be "on some drug"? How about the entire All-Star game circa 1998? How about the Billboard charts from 1968? How about countless drug dealers? How about Wall Street traders riding the white pony? How about Rob Ford or Kwame Kilpatrick? How about Doc Gooden, or Ricky Williams? Charlie Sheen or Lindsey Logan? Mike Tyson? Bruce Willis and Sly Stallone with their HGH... Seems to me that drug use and ability to draw a substantial income aren't too closely related.
You got me there for sure. Lots of high rollers are druggies, stipulated. I WILL say, though, that most of your examples either got themselves off the drug or off the earnings cycle, one or the other...
By that logic, the theory of pan-handlers being druggies is out the window. They would have given up their lucrative panhandling gig if they were on drugs, from what you are saying.
Personally, I wouldn't be surprised if the majority are abusing alcohol or drugs. I would probably be trying to self-medicate if I was on the streets. The substance abuse is a symptom, not the cause. Same with poverty itself. If communities have the infrastructure of full-employment and accessible secondary education and job-training programs, then very few people would get stuck in these situations. If you don't believe you have anything to look forward to in life, then there is no punishment that frightens you. There is no fear of consequence if you are already condemned to a life without opportunity. If success if not an option, then what is failure?
We have forgone rehabilitation in favor of isolation and institutionalization in our prison system. Our misguided war on drugs has only ruined people's lives and padded the pockets of the prison industrial complex. Our mental health system is inadequate, and funding dries up in lean times. Young men do stupid things and wind up with criminal records, and then we tell them they cannot vote and we won't hire them. We reinforce the notion that their bodies are worthless in the eyes of society. Where would we expect them to wind up but on the streets?
A large portion of the homeless are also gay. They are often shunned by their families and their church. In most of the country they can be fired or denied housing simply for being suspected of being gay. Where would we expect them to wind up but on the streets?
We must eventually deal with our society's inability to feel empathy.
If not, then in cold-hearted economic terms, every person on the street is a person who is not contributing to the economy, they are drawing from it by winding up in jails cells and emergency rooms at the expense of the tax-payers.
Blaming and shaming the poor simply for being poor doesn't help anyone.
I think the Beware warning is more appropriate for the corporations and stores and black fridays and thankless Thanksgiving stores open after the big dinner. Buy local and give where it's truly needed, whether it's a neighbor or a local community store owner.
I usually operate on gift cards to fast food restaurants or grocery stores. Somehow I always end up accumulating a bunch of 5 or 10 dollar gift cards to these places and I have no problem giving these away to panhandlers. It is a shame that some would exploit my kindness, but I'd rather be too kind than a grinch, just because I was afraid of being made the fool.
The panhandlers have always gratefully accepted the gift cards and I know that they are more likely to use them for food (what they need) instead of anything else that they might not actually need.
This post and a lot of the comments make me sad. So because this woman had a man with her it made her less in need? What if he just had to go to the bathroom?
And all this talk of homeless being druggies. I haven't put it out much on HP, but after reading this I am going to get a little personal. My family is homeless right now. My husband, myself, and our three children have no home. I have no freaking idea how I will give presents to my children this holiday season. My husband had emergency surgery a couple weeks ago and will not be able to return to work until after the holidays. I truly wish I could let go of my ego enough to go out and ask for help, to let go of my ego long enough to be a "begger". I don't though. Why? Because people suck!! Because surely if I go out on a street corner I must be faking it because I have a man and that MUST mean that somehow I should have money and not need help. I have a job so I must not have an actual need for anything. Some of you are full of shit!
It's the holiday season, if you want to be a jerk, fine. But use some common sense. The majority of people who are begging ARE poor. Yes there are some who "make a living" doing it. Lets be real though, does anyone really believe that the majority of people asking for help are like this? Maybe if our federal government could stop throwing $25- $40 Billion dollars at other countries we wouldn't have people having to "beg" you for your measly gallon of gas!
It's really a tragedy that people in need inconvenience you.
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