It’s the season for giving. And shopping. And, being hit up by beggars. I have no problem with giving money to beggars, or whatever you want to call them. If I have some cash, I’ll be glad to share. Not a big split, mind you, but at least 5 bucks. But, I do have rules. Why? Because I don’t like to be manipulated. Giving cash to people down on their luck, or ones that can’t cope is something that everybody should do-I also think that being lazy doesn’t automatically disqualify somebody. Smoking doesn’t disqualify in my book either. I don’t smoke, but I used to, and I know that smoking is a necessity, if you’re a smoker. However, giving money to some jerk who gives me some made up story, and thinks that I look like a mark, isn’t going to happen.
My rules for giving:
- If they ask me at the outskirts of the parking lot, where I am the only person there, they can forget it. If they are really in need, they won’t be skulking about way out in the boonies, but, rather, up where there is more population, and have a better chance of getting hits. Waiting out where there’s ‘nobody else around’ just smells fishy.
- If they say ‘Excuse me, sir, may I speak to you for a moment?" Answer: NO. If I’m going to pay, I’m going to pay to NOT waste my time having to listen to a complete stranger. A story just says to me "I’m a liar, and I think that you are dumb and I’m going to prove it by getting your money.’
- If they come to my house. Some stranger coming to my house expecting money can more readily make it to the hospital, police station, fire department, Salvation Army, DHS, local shopping area, or whatever, than get to my house. I live in the center of a neighborhood. Why did they pass these places and zero in on my house? I have family there, and there is enough risk without feeding some stray, and encouraging him to come back when I’m not there.
- If I have to take the active role in the situation. Example: The other day, a guy stopped me. From about 15 to 20 feet away. He said, ‘Excuse me, sir. Can you help me? …(wind blowing)…mumble…mumble…" I said “What? I’m sorry?? What?” (handsomeharry bending forward, leaning to some mumbling idiot)…So, the jerk didn’t even raise his voice, and didn’t even lean forward half as much as ol’ Stupid was doing. He definitely didn’t bother to even take a step closer. I finally realized the ridiculousness of the situation, and walked off. So, if somebody needs MY money, they are going to have to really put out the effort to show me that they are trying to get me to pay, not deciding whether or not to favor me with an audience.
- I don’t give to organizations, even when they’re out on the street doing beggar work. (e.g., the Salvation Army. I love these guys, but the bell ringers aren’t SA members, just hired temps. Don’t trust 'em. )
That’s my list. What’s yours? How do you evaluate whether or not you’ll give? Do you give? Why or why not? Am I a jerk, or an old softie?