I saw something strange yesterday

old soul

Tele-Holic
Joined
Nov 11, 2015
Posts
769
Location
terra firma
You can see them coming from a mile away.....already know what the bottom line is, they want money. We donate fairly generously through our church and other organizations, because I know people sometimes need help, and that's ok.
 

Duck Herder

Tele-Meister
Joined
Dec 27, 2021
Posts
265
Age
21
Location
Pacific Northwest, Skagit County
My wife and I stopped off for gas in a nice neighborhood the other day. A man and woman pulled up in the next island in a late model Chevy Camero. I was filling my car, don't hear very well, and generally ignore strangers, but the lady was insistent in asking me if I could put some gas in her car so that she and her (boyfriend, husband?) could drive home.

Now, I don't know where home was, nor did she say, but I can't remember heading out somewhere in my auto, and planning on bumming enough money to get home on. I kept filling my car and didn't register any notice at all of her request. I observed said (boyfriend, husband?) circling the islands then get back in the car and leave. Presumably to run out of gas along the highway.
Had the same thing happen when I was fueling the Sprinter. If I wanted to be a dick I guess I could have given him some diesel in his gas can.
 

pippoman

Tele-Holic
Silver Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Posts
854
Location
Memphis
As ever, we all have anecdotal evidence of hustlers but in the main, people on the street aren’t workin’ me, or at least having my shoulders up as if they all do isn’t great for my inner life. If you’re not a mark these folks are hardly more annoying or dangerous than urinal- or elevator-chatters.

If you don’t want to give them money, don’t. If you have a boilerplate speech ready for why you refuse to, that’s something else. Different strokes.
Boilerplate speech - I like that. Had to look it up. Anyway, I still give to those in need, or who look like they’re in need. What they do with their gift is on them. I walked out of a convenience store recently after buying a 6 pack and passed a man sitting on the curb. I overheard him asking a couple guys for a $, just “anything “ he said. He didn’t ask me, but I thought he might be down on his luck. I had just spent $10 on beer, not a necessity, and thought how I would feel being broke and gave him a 5 spot. He seemed grateful and I felt good about it. I guess it was a gut reaction.
 

Wrighty

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 17, 2013
Posts
5,287
Age
67
Location
Essex UK
A young reasonably tidy heavily pregnant girl approached me at a local tube station, asking for £4:20 for her fare home. I was seriously considering paying up until a member of the station staff appeared and told her to leave. He came and explained ‘she’s put her prices up since the fares’ increased, she’s been here a couple of years and always checks. Pillows are getting expensive too, and that’s all she’s been giving birth to since we’ve known her’. Further conversation revealed that she lived in reasonable bedsit around the corner and had full access to multiple support groups. She’d tried selling the Big Issue but decided it wasn’t for her.
 

Wrighty

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Aug 17, 2013
Posts
5,287
Age
67
Location
Essex UK
that is awesome. We live in a little town with one store. I love the store dearly and they keep the prices fair, so we shop there as much as we can. At christmas time, I went to the store before it closes (at 9) to get some beer and stuff for breakfast. I'm behind a lady and a little kid and I can see she is buying all their groceries and probably right on the edge (you can kinda tell) and the kid ringing her up is a good kid, quiet and solemn, and when he gets to her total, I can tell she is stuck... way too much for what she has.

There is a pretty long line behind me and just the one checker and she is kind of just unsure of what to do, what to take back and her son is good but, a kid, and probably tired and tired of being in the store.

I catch the cashier's eye and I just say, 'I got it.... add this in too' and the lady turns to me and the kid tells her in spanish I'm paying and she is kind of trying to form words and I just say 'hey, merrry christmas' and the kid finishes bagging her up and she says 'gracias' and nodding and leaves.

and I pay.

nobody asks for their receipt at that store.

It is how they know the locals from the tourists.

But, I can tell when I see the total that it isn't close to what the whole thing cost. I look at the kid, who is always solemn and reserved, and I see the tiniest smile.

and he says, 'Merry Christmas' and I smile and say, 'have a great rest of the night.'

You did a good thing, as did the last in the shop. Hope he didn’t have to explain the ‘missing’ goods, or maybe he put the money in the till himself? After years of similar experiences all over the world, Ethiopia was an eye opener, I like to think I’m a pretty good judge of who’s genuinely needy and who’s simply made a life style choice. If I ‘feel’ something, I’ll help out, if I don’t no dice. Only ever once had a ***** of conscience and gone back to give.
 
Last edited:

telemnemonics

Telefied
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Posts
32,953
Age
62
Location
Maine
It's hard to look, really look, into the face of misery.
The feelings that come with the chance we might be face to face with that in America?
Or that we face a grifter faking the suffering of the truly desperate?
Outrage, disgust, fear, doubt, anger.

Or whatever we choose to call having no place to live or being unable to hold a job that covers the cost of having a place to live.

It's also hard (or easy like firing a shot but missing the mark) to judge those who judge, since we all have to judge each situation and make a choice.
So this kind of discussion is one I both want to weigh in on and also one I want to stay away from.
Same as wanting to blame beggars for being grifters, wanting to blame homeless people for being lazy, wanting to blame dirty drug & alcohol users for lacking character.

I'm aware of my own tendency to judge others and find it a less than admirable personality feature.
Yet when judgement is activated by the various feelings that come up when I encounter realities I find distressing, the judgement FEELS righteous.

Figure there are two problems:
1) society has grifters and homeless people which are hard to tell apart and may even be the same person.
2) We have money we earned or were given and we prefer not to be robbed, overtaxed or duped out of it.

If we look at all the places money goes that are in the category of robbed overtaxed or duped?

1) Wars sold as honorable when the agenda was actually just business to make the rich richer.
2) Charitable organizations purporting to help people who live in the cold, where donations pay for luxuries like heated offices, three piece suits and martini lunches.
3) Corporate restructuring of retirement plans paid into by employees in ways that leave the coffers empty when retirement time comes.
4) Corporate closing of domestic manufacture for the sake of profits, that strips the economic ecosystem of basic needs in jobs, then cons shoppers into thinking "that's a good price" when the stuff they sell lasts 1/10th as long as what might cost 25% more if made the former way.
5) Wall Street finance practices that in many cases rob and dupe citizens out of retirement $$.

So what $$ amounts in all these examples of robbed/ overtaxed/ duped; are huge?
Beggars on the street?
Is that a significant $$ amount compared to wars charities and corporations grifters & cons?

I don't even know how to categorize those of us who spend large on bar tabs and parties but then demand homeless people stay sober?
And if I choose to make statements about the choices and statements of others who feel that way, I'm just becoming the judgemental finger pointer and furthering the us vs them division.

As for "programs that take care of the problem"?
Are there any stats showing the total number of homeless in the US compared to the total number of shelter beds? Do the numbers show that there are more viable shelter beds than legit homeless people?
Viability of shelter beds gets complicated of course, since society demands "those people" be kept in bad neighborhoods and away from important peoples homes.
There are wet shelters where all are just kind of nasty and dangerous, so a terrible option for the less experienced homeless. Want a drink at the end of the day begging on the street? Gotta sleep in Fight Club.
Dry shelters are for the nicer folks yet they cannot piss test thieves and rapists etc.
Shelters that allow parent and child are very rare, and not long ago the entire state of Maine had a single shelter where a Mom could keep her child, then it closed due to funding issues.

My sense is that if we are US citizens, we wish our first world country didn't have this problem, and we may be outraged by smelly or well dressed beggars alike.
Outrage is an understandable response to an outrageous problem.
Outrage is a hard feeling to manage and carry.

Choosing to blame the person asking us for help is sad, but who among us can just hand cash to every beggar we see.
I sure can't and never could. I used to have ways of compartmentalizing.

I gotta say, I read many many interesting tales of obvious grifters but when I was an urban dweller I saw far less of them than I read about.
Certainly saw them, usually easy to spot, but then the larger number of beggars are in the wider space between the deeply suffering and the comfortable con man, so harder to identify.

When I moved from Boston to NYC in '89, it took a year or more to find ways to process getting on the subway in the cold months and smelling urine, traceable to a sleeping bum on the car. They were pretty much everywhere, and how the hell do we process that?
Boston had them too but seemed to have a different filtering system that made them less visible or odor detectable.
 

DuckDodgers

Tele-Holic
Joined
Nov 5, 2015
Posts
522
Location
Dee-troit City
I donate to charities like the Salvation Army that deal directly with those at the bottom, but I still occasionally hand out a buck or two directly. Not often, as I see a lot of obviously professional bigger out there on the street.

A friend in NYC carries a wad of vouchers for a place that feeds the hungry. (You get the vouchers in return for donations). He tells me that the last time he handed one out, it was given back with the remark “I’ve eaten there. The food stinks.”
 

Toto'sDad

Tele Axpert
Ad Free Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2011
Posts
56,019
Location
Bakersfield
As ever, we all have anecdotal evidence of hustlers but in the main, people on the street aren’t workin’ me, or at least having my shoulders up as if they all do isn’t great for my inner life. If you’re not a mark these folks are hardly more annoying or dangerous than urinal- or elevator-chatters.

If you don’t want to give them money, don’t. If you have a boilerplate speech ready for why you refuse to, that’s something else. Different strokes.
I just say no, I'm not trying to change their lives. I have given money lots of times, once gave a guy at a place I used to call on a hundred bucks when his dad died. I've sent a couple of hundred to several relatives when they had deaths in the family. I send money to our nephews and nieces at birthdays. My grandkids do pretty well on special occasions. I was on the road with my old man and did some panhandling myself. I have a soft spot for the really downtrodden, I just don't like being hustled. They are two different things.
 

getbent

Telefied
Gold Supporter
Joined
Mar 2, 2006
Posts
47,598
Location
San Benito County, California
like everything else it is about balance and finding a balance. We've done well, but we don't choose to live in a bubble. We live in a normal neighborhood and we work for and with people who have major struggles with poverty and all that that entails.

We have friends from all stations and try to find a balance in those relationships so that they don't weirdly lopsided. I've been broke and by that I really mean broke and wondering what was gonna happen next... and I have now, where there is always the threat of catastrophe or some awful thing happening, but overall, cushion.

When we get too far from people we stop knowing them. Sending money is great or doing gestures is great, but, we find being actually engaged in working with people and volunteering brings more balance.

We taught our kids not to see folks who are tough spots to be anything other than us, just in a tough spot. The term I use for this is having your hand in the dirt... which is to say, being a part of the work. Love and empathy and being engaged and noticing people as just people is often better than a 20.

The last thing people need is preaching or shaming. The old Prine song is a guide for me 'hello in there'... I watch how my dogs interact with other dogs and how they seem, in short order, to 'work it out' and have a little community and get along.

At my work, we get lots of requests for things, in the end, I often have to make a call and that call is 'is this going to actually help them either with their work or with their outlook?' it is surprising how often the answer is 'not really' and that takes extra work.

Giving something is a HUGE responsibility. People often want it to be clean, no real entanglements, but most of the time the 'clean' gifts don't do much, long term.

Some of our family live in a bubble and they are scared of the poor. They like them. They give to charity, but they are scared and, in some ways, they are trapped in their bubble.

They are afraid to hire help because they see it as almost racism rather than giving people an opportunity... It is funny, we buy a pass for all the parks in our state and enjoy driving in and parking, those same relatives see that as lazy and park a mile or so away and walk in so they don't pay.

We hire help and we treat them well and they become like family... I AM the help at work as is my wife... nothing embarrassing about that, in fact, it is a joy to be a servant and to be part of something.

The whole charity equation is a tough one and a burden to navigate. I guess we just do our best, I keep telling my extended family that really being part of the community is so much more wonderful than being stuck in a bubble, avoiding sections of town or being afraid of its people or being essentially a tourist in your own town... where you visit things in your town, but you aren't part of them.
 

Happy Enchilada

Friend of Leo's
Gold Supporter
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Posts
2,915
Location
God's Country
simiilar, yesterday I stopped to get gas at my usual place. a guy wearing super clean clothes and 'stylish' (if super long shorts and a coordinated shirt and perfectly white tennis shoes are stylish, but you know what I mean. Anyway, ol bent in work boots, a hoodie and khakis (rumpled AF) is pumping gas and the guy asks for some money to help him get home. I shake my head no, smiling but clearly 'no' and he walks to the next car.

then he walks over to his newish truck that has a harley in the back, both clean as a pin! and he resumes wiping truck and bike down as if polishing them!

New cars come in, he repeats. I get a carwash and when I come out, he is still working the same angle.

some people's kids.
There's a panhandling scam here in town that's become a "classic."
Down and outer has cardboard sign that says he needs gas money in one hand, and a brand new gas can in the other. Sometimes not even NEAR a gas station. This has been going on for 10 years with different players.

Hey - TDPRI forum members could make signs that say
NEED G.A.S MONEY
and stand on the corner by Guitar Center.
Who knows, might just work!
 

pippoman

Tele-Holic
Silver Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Posts
854
Location
Memphis
Driving home from work I go under a bridge where I sometimes see people, fairly young men and women, bundled up and sleeping, apparently living there. A couple weeks ago I read that some one in another area living under a bridge had died from exposure when temperatures got in the low teens. How sad. I don’t know how these young people reach that point, but the thought of one of them freezing to death really opened my eyes. This prompted city officials to create more accessible warming centers complete with snacks, rest rooms, showers, and clean donated clothes. Now I’d be happy to donate to that cause if I knew how. I guess tax dollars pay for it?
 

Kandinskyesque

Tele-Holic
Joined
Dec 6, 2021
Posts
636
Location
Scotland
All the old homeless guys in Edinburgh are gone now. Whilst I am given to random acts of kindness, I tend to ignore the hooded teenagers squatting on their blankets outside busy shops. Most have homes to go to and all of them have mobile 'phones. It is known they can make £100 per day..

Also in the city centre are organised gangs of Roma. There a family near me, the women of whom take the bus into town, beg all day, then can be seen later coming out of Lidl laden with shopping bags. Begging pays.

If I see someone genuinely distressed I will buy them a hot drink and/or a hot snack. I will not give them money if I can help it.
https://signs-of-life.co.uk/About
The story attached to this Artwork my mate done in Auld Reekie warms my heart.
But I know what you mean about the old homeless guys, I've no idea where they've gone.
I knew of one old fella I'd see on Calton Hill anytime I was visiting my sister (I think he 'lived' in the bushes) but that was about a decade ago. My sister lived nearby and would take food to him. We knew he was in genuine need but it's very difficult to discern these days.
 

johnny k

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Jan 15, 2011
Posts
9,109
Location
France
I will ask them what they would want and i buy a sandwich and a tall boy of beer if they ask for it. Otherwise i do answer them i am sorry i don't have any cash on me, but good luck with future things.

Just because they are asking for money doesn't mean you can politely answer them.
 

swervinbob

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jul 10, 2018
Posts
2,615
Location
Texas
With my job I spend most of the time in grocery store and convenience store parking lots. If I was to give money to everyone who walks up with a hard luck story, there wouldn’t be much left for me.
 

Sparky2

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Apr 15, 2017
Posts
5,041
Age
62
Location
Harvest, Alabama
I keep MRE's in my vehicle.

If approached at a stop light by a panhandler, I offer them the MRE.

I have yet to be rejected.

🙂
 

Larry F

Doctor of Teleocity
Vendor Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2006
Posts
17,966
Location
Iowa City, IA
My wife and I stopped off for gas in a nice neighborhood the other day. A man and woman pulled up in the next island in a late model Chevy Camero. I was filling my car, don't hear very well, and generally ignore strangers, but the lady was insistent in asking me if I could put some gas in her car so that she and her (boyfriend, husband?) could drive home.

Now, I don't know where home was, nor did she say, but I can't remember heading out somewhere in my auto, and planning on bumming enough money to get home on. I kept filling my car and didn't register any notice at all of her request. I observed said (boyfriend, husband?) circling the islands then get back in the car and leave. Presumably to run out of gas along the highway.
When I was about 8-9 years old, dad's parents drove from Torrington, Wyoming to Richland, WA for Xmas. They had an older car and they just looked beat. We had a wonderful time, however, and were sad to see them go. On the sly, my dad asked Grandpa how much money they had, which turned out to be $5. What th? My grandpa told him that they can figure out something. Nope, my dad gave them enough money to travel on. I couldn't imagine them in their late 70s, and 5 heart attacks between them, being too successful on whatever could be called a job market. I'm happy to say that everything turned out all right.
 

Flat6Driver

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jan 14, 2013
Posts
4,783
Age
48
Location
DC Burbs
My brother is more street smart than me....he says look at the shoes. Nice shoes = scammer. Maybe. 20+ years ago I was going into KFC and a guy stopped me and said "can you help me out with a piece of chicken?" I said no, and he went in and ordered anyhow. I guess I looked like a mark.

Once I saw a priest, a rabbi and someone else walking down the street. It looked like a visual joke and I was laughing to myself. A guy approached me that needed money and asked if I could make "a donation". (I don't think he was connected with the men of the cloth. Since I was in a good mood, I gave him a few bucks.

I was in Washington DC when a guy who allegedly was a Marine, needed a few bucks. I told him the Pentagon was 4 stops away, they could help him out. I saw him weeks later with the same ruse.

The gas scam has been going on country wide for many years. With all the car jackings, I am WAY warier about people approaching me at the pumps. Watch yourself. I think we all know we're being scammed there, but you can always ask them what kind of car they have (or the license plate) and that throws them off.

There's some panhandlers at my offramp. They look pretty battleworn. If I see them in really cold or really hot temps, I'll give them a few bucks or a cold drink if I have some from the safety of my car. Even if you're working me, in that weather, you're working.
 




Top