Giving to Beggars

Posted by davidmcnab 5 years, 9 months ago to Economics
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After years of refusing beggars' requests for "some small change", I started to feel bad. So I decided to change my response.

One day, while waiting to deposit my business takings into the local teller machine, a lady asked me if I could spare a little money. Before I could even respond, she said "just give me a little, and I'll leave you alone". I said, "If you've got a few minutes, we could sit down together, and I'll tell you how to make even more money without having to beg. It's all about changing the way you see things..."

With that, she whirled and walked away as fast as she could. The look of fear on her face was almost like I pulled a venomous snake out of my backpack.

I recommend responding in a similar way to beggars. Or maybe ask them, "You want money from me? What have you got, or what can you do, that will make me want to freely give you money?" You never know, you might inspire one to go off, rethink, clean up, and work themselves up into prosperity.



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  • Posted by $ jbrenner 5 years, 9 months ago
    When the moochers beg for money for food, you will find out that they don't want you to buy them food or give them food. I used to occasionally give money to beggars before reading AS. Not anymore.
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  • Posted by Robbie53024 5 years, 9 months ago
    I never give money to someone begging. As you found out, suggesting to them how to earn their own way usually causes them to move along. If they were actually interested in how to earn some money, I'd find something for them to do for them to earn it.

    That's not to say those street urchins that come and smear your windshield deserve to be paid, either. I didn't ask for their work, nor in most cases is the outcome satisfactory to my standards, thus I won't pay - not agreed to, nor acceptable.
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    • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
      +1 especially regarding the street urchins. Unsolicited efforts without offer and acceptance never deserve a consideration.
      However, there is one type of person on the street I willingly give money to - any busker of sufficient musical calibre who touches me at any significant emotional depth.
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      • Posted by Robbie53024 5 years, 9 months ago
        If they are good, then it is merely an unsolicited performance that you show appreciation of by remunerating their efforts. That is value for value. If it's not any good, and they merely are trying to guilt you into coughing up some dough, that's a moocher.
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        • Posted by 5 years, 9 months ago
          Right you are, Robbie53024. One I walked past yesterday was merely strumming some very average chords, not even singing, and had his upturned hat right in the middle of the footpath. I thought "Nice try, loser!"
          Contrast to one who was blowing some hauntingly beautiful sax, standing on the median strip at the car entrance to a supermarket. I made a special effort to scratch up some gold coins for him :)
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  • Posted by ISank 5 years, 9 months ago
    Interesting, I've noticed a change in the begging population over the last couple years. Seems like the younger generation has picked up the idea. I see signs asking for $ for beer, they have pets, and they can't be over 25. I always thought about saying "eat the dog first then I'll feed you" but I like your idea better and think I'll give that one a chance.
    Have fun!
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 5 years, 9 months ago
    I just politely tell them no. I don't engage them.

    Long ago I used to. I recall one guy claiming to be hungry. I said I was going on foot to meet my g/f who works at a restaurant. I told him they almost always have food that they give to their staff to take home or to anyone who wants it. He dismissed the notion out of hand. He wanted only cash. Any time I've politely offered to help them get a job, a sublet not requiring a credit check, or whatever, they don't even pretend to be remotely interested.

    What interesting is when I lived in Tampa and Gainesville FL, they always had a sob story, sometimes with litteral sobbing. In CA they're more persistent but with less sobbing. In WI, they just shake a cup in their hand without explanation.
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  • Posted by $ Abaco 5 years, 9 months ago
    I usually just tell them, "Sorry buddy, but I have a disabled son and he gets all of my spare money." You'd be amazed at how understanding they are. I've seen them shake down the less-timid around my office...
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  • Posted by Matsumoto 5 years, 9 months ago
    I'd rather decide if I wanted to give them money, food, a warm jacket etc. than the government forcing it out of my paycheck.

    Sometimes I will give them something, sometimes I won't. My choices depend on my mood at the moment, whether or not I have food in my fridge first, and their demeanor.
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  • Posted by hrymzk 5 years, 9 months ago
    One example does not cover all examples. I watched a YouTube video once where a down and outer was given money He was secretly filmed to see what he would do. He went into a shop and brought out some food. He took it over to some other park dwellers and shared with them.
    I've seen young people selling their property, the last resort, on the streets of NY and Phila.
    I saw a young woman street dweller cursed at by some businessmen, and she burst into tears.
    I've seen a white-haired woman crouched in a downtown store opening who was only dressed in a tee shirt. I called the police for help.
    I've seen kids nodding from sleeplessness in stairwells.
    I've given money to people with only backpacks
    who hadn't even asked for anything.
    I'm well aware that some might be considered drug addicts.
    I'm prepared to take a more lenient stance

    Harry M
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    • Posted by $ Abaco 5 years, 9 months ago
      I understand. Frankly, our nation is in trouble and many of these we see sleeping outside in our cities are just canaries in the coal mine. A lot of these people have mental problems. Truth be told, we're broke. We are a nation running on debt and there are no resources for those who really need help. Are there some lazy asses out there who just want a handout to buy booze or drugs? Sure. Ever talk to many of these people? A lot of them are truly messed up and need help. As long as they aren't threatening me I always try to stay polite with them.

      I am a strong believer that if our economy was truly allowed to run strong we'd have enough resources to deal with this problem. We don't. We're broke.
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