I am well into my mid-afternoon slump. This calls for caffeine. All that I wanted to do was to move from the point A of my office building to the point B of the corner coffee shop, acquire some coffee and then return.
Yet in that short distance, I was accosted by no less than four people that were trying to part me from my hard earned money/resources (for those of you keeping track at home the count was 1 straight up bum, 1 guy trying to bum a cigarette and 2 of those canvasser types trying to get me to save the red throated hippie rhinoceros tsunami victim or some shit).
You know, I opened this just to comment that you must be in Seattle. And you are!
Actually, part of the reason for the increase in panhandling is because of the Mayor’s office. I am on the board of directors of Operation: Sack Lunch, one of the organizations that feeds these people.
We are currently prevented from feeding because the city won’t provide a physical place we can use. Negotiations are ongoing, and things are looking up, but basically there are about 600 people a day who are really, really hungry.
Granted, this issue doesn’t completly account for the panhandling, but it certainly contributes. Contact your councilman, and the Mayor’s office – they can do something, and they aren’t.
I recommend you rent Airplane! and skip ahead to the scene where Robert Stack is walking through the airport terminal. Very cathartic, although there is a lingering sense of sadness that you can’t do that in real life.
I was tempted to open a similar pit thread today. When I first moved to my current location (near LSU campus), I was pretty generous to panhandlers, even giving two or three dollars when I was barely able to pay my way through school. Eventually, when I realised that I couldn’t go two days without being asked for money, I stopped giving in. Today, though, I happened to have some loose change from my cigarettes when a panhandler asked me for two bucks (greedy bastard), but I offered him my ~$0.60 change and he was pretty grateful. To make the rest of the story as simple as possible, not having that change later in the day to use the copy machine has basically cost me two full days of studying for a major test I have Friday. So much for karma, huh?
–Pointless comment that we’ve all heard before and no one cares to hear again WARNING–
Giving to a corner is almost never a good idea. I can provide some more cites if you want it, but don’t feel bad about avoiding giving money to panhandlers. If you want to help te homeless community, there are doubtless many ways and organizations in your local community that will provide you with a means to do so, either with your time or with your money. Giving money to a panhandler will likely do little to improve their situation.
I hear ya - I work downtown close to a couple of the shelters and there are always at least a few, if not a large group, of homeless people hanging around on my walk to the bus stop. They’re mostly polite though and if I have spare change I’ll usually give it to them, unless they’re obviously intoxicated. The ones that tick me off are the ones that stand on the street corners with their cardboard signs, working in teams and shifts, raking in the bucks. My friend once paid one of those guys $10 to learn his “secret”, and the guy said 4 of them working together usually make about $300/day and spend it mostly on beer. Sheesh.
There seems to be a ‘team’ in Bellingham off of the Lakeway exit. Same guys, every day, month in and month out. I went to a market recently, and there was one of them – buying beer.
I don’t want to come off as an insensitive bastard, since there are some people who really are down on their luck; but it seems these particular people have made it a lifestyle. If that’s the kind of ‘job’ they choose to have, then I’m not inclined to help them.
There’s a team in Ballard that hangs out at 15th and Market and another just south that work the 15th and Leary Way intersection another that work 15th and Dravus. I’ve been on the bus coming from downtown with them as they were on the way for the day’s panhandling. Some get off here and some get off there and the next day they do it all over again. The one’s at 15th and Market irritate me the most because there’s a day labor place just two blocks away. But hey, it’s easier panhandling than doing real work. :smack:
We were on holiday recently, staying in an appartment. On the last morning, just before we were due to head off to the airport, we realised we’d accumulated loads of food that we would have to throw away. My girlfriend had the good idea of giving this away to the homeless (plenty of them in Nice). So we cooked two pizzas, packed up anything fresh in sealed bags, and I dutifully walked around to find some recipients. I soon came across a couple and their dog, and in my very poor French explained the situation and offered them the bags. They were very grateful, and the guy even engaged in a bit of Franglais about England. I felt good - I’d made the world a better place.
As I gave my farewells, and they wished me a good journey, everything was right with the world.
“Avez-vous les cigarettes?” He asked.
“No.” I said.
“Le monnaie? Pieces?”
I suppose it was uncharitable of me to think that this was really unreasonable. I’d given him something like 30 Euros (c $25) worth of food and he still wanted cigs and change.
Does fundraising by standing in the middle of intersections count? Because I hate that shit.
I was driving to the grocery store yesterday, and passing through one of the neighborhoods, there were people standing in the middle of the road in all 4 directions at a 4-way stop, holding signs that said “Support TownshipName Baseball!”. To me, this is the worst possible fundraising effort there is. Gimme money, who cares if you live/work in the area we’re fundraising for, just roll your window down and toss me your spare change!!
Gah. Could be worse, they could have had kids doing it like I’ve sometime seen. How is this even remotely safe??
I once went through Seattle. Nice town, fun city, to liberal for my taste, but great oriental food, so I’ll forgive it (besides, I’m big Shadowrun Junkie so I have a soft spot in my heart for it). Saw one guy with a sign that said, “Need Booze Why Lie?” with a hat nearby.
I assume it’s shorthand for “the change you shove in your pocket and forget about until you hear it clattering around in the clothes dryer, or find a month later when scrounging the carpet under the bed for bus fare and coffee money” Well at least that’s how it works in our house.
Worst Experience: Grand Central Station, NYC, early '90s. Stiffed a very confrontational-looking dude because I didn’t like the look on his face. I collected a nice open-handed smack upside the back of my head. That’ll learn me.
2nd Worst Experience: Unnamed Small Town, USA, late '90s. Drove into a Memorial Day roadblock manned by the VFW. Yes, they were all nice and like that, but YOU DID NOT HAVE A CHOICE. Either pony up or be obligated to act like a rank shithead to a gentle old duffer who served his country. I gave $1.
2nd Best Experience: Grand Central, mid '90s. Verbal pitch: “I’m collecting for the United Negro Pastrami Sandwich Fund.” I gave $1, gladly.
Best Experience: Vancouver, BC, 2002. Young grunge-punk BF/GF with brown cardboard sign: “$2 AWAY FROM TAKING OVER THE WORLD.” Not knowing their qualifications but figuring they’d probably do better than the bunch we have now, I gave $1.
One time, a few years ago, I was standing in line for a lunch trailer by Broadway and Wall Street near my then-office. A few feet behind me, next to a building was a woman sitting on the sidwalk shaking a cup and making her pitch. Another panhandler came by and started asking for money from those of on line.
The woman got up and started screaming at the other guy that he was “stealing her customers.” They got into a loud discussion over whose “customers” we actually were, and whether he had the right to block him from her “customers.”
Needless to say, I chose not to patronize either of their establishments.
There’s a guy who hangs out in front of Penn Station who has this crap down to a science. He sits at the top of the stairs in a wheelchair with his “disabled vet” cardboard sign and tattered clothes. If you keep an eye on him, you will catch him occasionally standing up, picking up his wheelchair and carrying it down to the bottom of the steps with no assistance whatsoever.