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Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by earllogjam, Oct 28, 2011.
If I have it I'll give some, if I don't I can't.
I've worked in shelters. I know how the system works. I know the reasons people panhandle. I never give panhandlers money -- only food and tangible goods.
I did make one exception. A dude was waiting for a bus with me, and said he'd woken up after a party, and was lost, needed to get home, and needed another quarter. I'd heard that 1,000 times before and mostly it's a lie or bumming. So I told him I couldn't spare one.
About five minutes later, I noticed he was glancing up and looking really confused and anxious. After a couple of seconds of puzzlement, he wondered aloud, "Man, whose hat am i wearing?"
I gave him the change he needed.
Like Young Native said, I never give them money. I have driven to a fast food place, and driven back by offering them the food.
Funny thing is that even the ones that say "Homeless, etc. need money for food", will refuse food when offered to them.
Rarely. I'm a stingy bitch.
Yes, when I can. But food more often than money.
Never. I'll donate food/clothing to a shelter somewheres, but giving out money to total strangers draws the line.
I almost always do, but not alot, whatever change i have in my pocket or a buck or two. it's not my place to judge what they do with it. i give alot more to my government and look how poorly they use it.
in this day and age i can't blame the homless/panhandlers for refusing food from a stranger. i mean really , would you eat somthing a total stranger handed you from their car?
Rarely, almost never. I've probably given once or twice.
I always see people out by the freeway exits, with their homemade signs, saying "Homeless and Handicap, Need Help." or "Widowed Mother, 7 Kids to Feed, Please Help." and I am instantly skeptical. I've heard too many stories of scams.
I actually got approached at a car wash by some guy who said he had a single mom a couple of blocks away who had a flat tire, and not enough for a spare. I asked him if he'd called the police for help, and he said they gave him some phone numbers of towing places and auto clubs. Needless to say, I didn't give him a dime.
I've also heard of homeless people in big cities like Chicago proper, who will panhandle, and will not accept anything other than money. Even if you offer them food, they won't accept, and they will even get indignant.
That's why, I don't give anything, unless it's an obvious situation where someone is in trouble.
When it's sealed (wrapped up) straight from the (and I use this term loosely :wink restaurant, the straw still in it's sealed package?
Really, what I have personally witnessed, is they want the money to go buy alcohol.
Reminds me of a quote I read by Khalil Gibran : ' You often say, "I would give, but only to the
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the
flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is
I try to give wherever I can, not very much, but as I can.
I've learnt that what people do with what you give them, be it money or food etc, should not be your concern, and will only highten your own neuroticisms. Try, as hard as it may be, to assume the best scenario (i.e. That they actually will use it for the purpose you gave it).
Besides a quarter or a dollar is hardly your retirement fund that you need to keep a watchful eye on or lose sleep over.
Never money. I will offer to buy food if someone says they are hungry; I've found most people want the cash and pass on my offer for food. I found a man sleeping in a box during a blizzard a few years ago and bought him a warm coat and something to eat and took him to a shelter.
I met this one guy in a parking lot trying to get money for a fan belt, the first thing he did was flash his drivers license, that was the first clue that it was a scam, especially when someone tries to convince you of who they are.
Anyways, two months later he tried the same scam on me at a different location, he didn't even recognize me but why should he, his eyes were like glazed donuts.
I lived on the streets of seattle(fourth and stewart, behind the brick knee wall in the ivy), after dark you better have a hidding spot.
Needless to say, during the day I would play music for money in the park, I never went hungry, ate what I wanted and I never had to panhandle.
I did notice that over 95% of those who did panhandle went straight to get spirits or drugs, the other 5% actually spent the money on a hotel room or food so they didn't have to go to the shelter.
Most panhandlers don't want food because they can get it free from the local soup kitchen. It's been my experience that the majority of homeless people are homeless by choice, they get high all day with absolutely no responsibilities.
Street junkies never worry about the consequences so why should I worry about them. Don't get me wrong, I've met alot of nice homeless drug addicts and alcoholics but after awhile all the sad stories sound the same and soon enough there comes a time when they learn to use these stories as a catalyst to scam people.
Only once in a while will someone stand out as genuine and that's the person I help, you can spot someone who doesn't belong.
I learned a long time ago that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, if someone needs to hit bottom then why should I slow down their decent. If I do hinder their bottom then I'm actually contributing to their demise.
Only when I see someone who is clearly disabled or in a wheelchair.
I'm with august86. The only people I don't give spare change to or a few Euros are the gypsies that work the Metro all over Barcelona. Recently, while stuck in the USA as I closed on a house, I picked up a hitch hiker and his dog at the intersection of I-80 and Highway 93. The guy was trying to get to New Mexico and what is left of his family, hoping to get back on his feet. He didn't have enough money for a Greyhound Bus. He AND his dog were so sunburned they both should have been in a hospital. His dog's nose was dry and covered in peeling skin. When I stopped for gas I bought the guy a MaDonald's value meal and a hamburger for his dog. Rather than leave him to fend for another ride out of Las Vegas I offered to drive him to the Hoover Dam. The highway patrol is less vicious there. When he and his dog got out I slipped him a ten dollar bill. Unless you're really poor -- or a stingy fuck wad -- ten bucks is pretty much worthless except for what one can buy at a convenience store.
During that 456 mile trip he told me how often strangers had spat on him, thrown trash and/or rocks at him (usually teenagers) and that the only compassionate people he had met on his moneyless journey were long haul truckers, and even with them it wasn't always a good experience.
When I returned to northern Nevada I found a smudged letter in my PO box containing a thank you note and a ten dollar bill. That was a first.
When my parents kicked me out of "their" house in Ewetaw after I had just turned 16 because I was gay, I ended up working the area around Selma and Vine Streets in "Hollywood." I didn't pan handle. I hustled. I performed sexual services for money and thanks to some elderly regulars who tipped generously I was able to share a dump apartment with 4 other hustlers. After 18 months (more or less) a fellow hustler talked me into hitch hiking to San Francisco. In a few months, thanks to others who had been through what I had been through, I had excellent fake ID stating I was 21, a job as barback, and membership in the servers union.
I've known hundreds of "street" people. They are not all drug addicts and alcoholics. And even those who are, their lives are often so miserable that if they buy a quart of fortified wine with the few dollars I give them when I'm approached, at least they'll have one or two hours that day of peace from the internal demons that haunt them.
If you live in the USA and are under 30 years-old you are most likely unaware that President Reagan cut federal funds that helped house people unable to care for themselves (the mentally challenged and mentally ill). The public (and many private) institutions where these people lived simply pushed them out on to the streets. And it's only become worse over time. One thing I can testify about from personal experience is the USA has become a nastier and uncaring place compared to the general feeling towards the poor and disenfranchised in the 1960s/70s.
Any of you on the edge or in the process of foreclosure getting any warm and fuzzy help from your bank, neighbors or government these days? Really? And are you poor because it's all your fault? Seriously?
Every 'Mericuhn, regardless of political stripe, should spend a few weeks in Mexico City where even the rich are poor just to see how pan handlers and the poor living in the worst conditions imaginable are treated better than we treat our own countrymen.
Yes, there are scammers. But currently the biggest scam going is the world banking system and our government. In Las Vegas the police have just noticed (after seven years) that there is most likely a serial killer who preys on the homeless -- or people who have to use public transportation and use the bus. Yes, it seems some clueless whacko has decided it's better to drive by and shoot the poor as they wait for the bus or the homeless as they sleep on bus benches at night rather than help them. I'm not making this up. And it seems a lot of folks think that this serial murderer is a hero. If that doesn't' turn your collective stomachs then I think I can safely say those of you who "are worried" about handing out some spare change are soul less assholes. Aren't YOU special. You might want to rethink about buying and giving food instead of handing over a quarter to a pan handler. In most cases you really don't know that homeless person, unless he or she is one of your local neighborhood homeless who have marked territory in a large city such as New York, Boston, Buenos Aires, etc. These are homeless you know and whom you know to really be in need. There are more. And someday you may be a member of their ranks. Ask any senior citizen living on Social Security how great their lives are. There are plenty of seniors in Henderson (a city, but not really identifiable as different from Las Vegas because you cannot tell where the city limits are), any way, seniors who work the parking lots of the giant box shopping centers asking strangers for change -- at least, in the big box store areas where everything isn't boarded up.
If you think I'm just old and cranky, you're partly correct. But one thing I have not lost with regard to those less fortunate than me is my sense of humanity. But that's just me.
This. :smile: Nice attitude, Thad.
August86 & Bbucko -
+1 :hug: I'm an optimist and think if i can help someone live a more decent life through even a small gesture, why not? I give what I can, when I can - with no belief in karma or any reward for the behavior, just being helpful for its own sake.
This is a very thoughtful post, and I could not agree more, MLB.
I've met alot of transients when I was traveling through the North West and let me tell you there were times where I was worried.
In a town called Everett I met these two transients who just jumped of the train, they saw what little I had which was more than they had, they made their way to me and as they were right on top of me one pulled out a knife.
I asked to see his knife and in puzzlement he agreed, probly because he was thinking well who the hell is this.
Anyways, I twurled the knife and threw it between his feet where it stuck into the ground. They both looked at each other and probly thanked their lucky stars they didn't try and jump me like they intended.
Another time this couple kept trying to get me to come back to their campsite, I was like no thanks, I had a really bad feeling and before they took off he pulled out a 12 inch kitchen knife.
One night when it was getting dark in a park in seattle several transients were slowing getting closer to me and my mountain bike and backpack, I knew what they were up to so I quickly got up and took off, as I looked back they all looked pissed like they just missed out on a meal ticket.
What I learned from that is they also work in teams, probly because they share an apartment together. I guess when your in that world it's safer to roll like that.
One night I was sleeping at the fork in an interstate in Tocoma, these two cops pulled over and drew their guns on me. They asked me what I was doing and I told them that I was just passing through, they said that was a good idea because they find on average 50 to a 100 dead transients every year in the woods.