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View Full Version : Do you give change to homeless people?


JonIrenicus
11-25-2009, 01:13 AM
Curious how you all handle this.

The other day I was flagged down by some homeless guy. So I gestured, giving the word, "Speak." And then he spoke, asking for change.

I didn't give any, I almost never do.


Am I an asshole for not doing so?


It's not the loss of my own money or anything, I would gladly give far more to a friend or relative in need. But there is something about being asked by a complete stranger. If I were more cynical I could imagine it being some twisted relationship to reciprocal altruism, not expecting a return favor down the road from a stranger. Possible, though I hope it is not that jaded.

What about you all? Do you give or withhold?

Wonderment
11-25-2009, 01:36 AM
What about you all? Do you give or withhold?

I try not to overthink it. Sometimes I feel sorry for someone and give; other times I just don't.

I think there is value in making a direct giving connection with a fellow human being; i.e., giving to a beggar and talking to her/him, as opposed to transferring the money to a food bank or an organization for the homeless.

I try not to give to people who will use the money for drugs or alcohol.

Baltimoron
11-25-2009, 02:01 AM
If I have change, yes. I hate carrying around loose change.

JonIrenicus
11-25-2009, 03:01 AM
If I have change, yes. I hate carrying around loose change.

The purity of your motives shame me!

Baltimoron
11-25-2009, 03:05 AM
Why else are there coin boxes and other containers at checkout counters. In college and in the Army, I worked holidays at orphanages and soup kitchens BTW.

Whatfur
11-25-2009, 08:21 AM
I make them dance first. (kidding)

Generally no, but it is not a rule. If they seem able bodied...absolutely no. I too give a bunch of time and money to various things and have organized a number of charitable events myself.

The same answer is given for canvassing phone calls of charities. I thank them for what they are doing, I ask them to take me off there list, I tell them I give in a number of ways already.

My first direct begger encounter was in Santa Monica and a guy walked up to me asking for money who looked to be in better shape than I was at the time as a 23 year old...I told him no sorry I work for my money.

Kind of a cool begger story was there was an old man who used to beg in the streets of my small home town. He used to come into the bowling alley I worked on league nights...not to beg...because he would have been booted but would go from ash tray to ash tray and gather all the butts in a bucket. He then would sit and cut off the charred end... sprinkling the leftover tobacco into a growing pile on a napkin in from of him and then proceed to roll cigarettes while watching the bowlers. I appreciated that.

kezboard
11-25-2009, 09:16 PM
I am vastly more likely to give change to homeless people than I am to buskers. I really, really, REALLY do not like busking. I appreciate vibrant urban environments and freedom of expression, but I can't stand pan-flutes and acoustic hippie music.

Whatfur
11-25-2009, 09:31 PM
I am vastly more likely to give change to homeless people than I am to buskers. I really, really, REALLY do not like busking. I appreciate vibrant urban environments and freedom of expression, but I can't stand pan-flutes and acoustic hippie music.

Ha...playing a couple instruments myself (for myself) I generally gauge buskers by how they stack up to me. Actually I judge regular bands the same way...kind of like the summer "The Cars" were playing every 3rd song on the radio you could hear me screaming "They only know fucking 4 chords!!!!" Not to mention them writing their lyrics on the way to the recording studio.

In any case, kinda with you here...although I did run into an amazing fiddle player busking once.

uncle ebeneezer
11-25-2009, 10:52 PM
Re: the Cars, yeah, but that guitar player had some tasty licks. Nothing crazy-fancy but cool stuff like the "just what I needed" solo.

I do the same thing with street musicians, measuring them up against myself. Extra, extra: Fur and Ebeneezer Agree on Something!!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

uncle ebeneezer
11-25-2009, 10:54 PM
Only the kind they can believe in!!

Come on, I can't believe nobody else went for that completely lame joke. You forced me into it.

kezboard
11-26-2009, 12:05 AM
Oh, I've seen buskers who could play. You know, occasionally. That's not really the point -- I hate them for the same reason that I hate those "You are beautiful" (http://www.dollymix.tv/2007/07/you_are_beautiful_sticker_camp.html) stickers that I used to see everywhere -- I don't like having music, or inspiration, foisted upon me while I'm walking down the street. Leave me alone!

The other reasons I don't like buskers is because they take up valuable room on subway platforms and I usually listen to podcasts while I'm walking from one place to another, and the bloggingheads podcast sound quality is so bad (and so are my headphones).

Whatfur
11-26-2009, 09:16 AM
You are beautiful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

kezboard
11-26-2009, 03:41 PM
Oh, you.

look
11-30-2009, 10:41 AM
Only the kind they can believe in!!

Come on, I can't believe nobody else went for that completely lame joke. You forced me into it.Speaking of which, here's an oldie but goodie:

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/black_guy_asks_nation_for_change

Happy belated Thanksgiving to all!

look
11-30-2009, 10:54 AM
Curious how you all handle this.

The other day I was flagged down by some homeless guy. So I gestured, giving the word, "Speak." And then he spoke, asking for change.

I didn't give any, I almost never do.


Am I an asshole for not doing so?


It's not the loss of my own money or anything, I would gladly give far more to a friend or relative in need. But there is something about being asked by a complete stranger. If I were more cynical I could imagine it being some twisted relationship to reciprocal altruism, not expecting a return favor down the road from a stranger. Possible, though I hope it is not that jaded.

What about you all? Do you give or withhold?Yes, I give, but I worry it's out of a sense of control or superiority, or something. But my conscious reasoning is that someone needs something right now.

My most recent experience was when I was about three cars back, waiting for a light to change on an off-ramp. The guy's sign said, 'will work for food,' and he had a back-pack, like he was traveling. Traffic started moving as I dug for a twenty. I rolled down the window and stuck my hand out, he perked up intently, and as I was rolling by he took it. But the strange thing was, that in order not to miss it, his hand ran over my hand in a warm grasp.

graz
11-30-2009, 12:11 PM
Yes, I give...
My most recent experience was when I was about three cars back, waiting for a light to change on an off-ramp. The guy's sign said, 'will work for food,' and he had a back-pack, like he was traveling. Traffic started moving as I dug for a twenty. I rolled down the window and stuck my hand out, he perked up intently, and as I was rolling by he took it. But the strange thing was, that in order not to miss it, his hand ran over my hand in a warm grasp.

You made a human connection. Which is a gift that ought not be taken for granted. Other posters have detailed methods or philosophies that attempt to make sense of an apparent contradiction: Why give to a stranger?

To my mind, this says a lot about you. All of it good.

look
11-30-2009, 12:25 PM
You made a human connection. Which is a gift that ought not be taken for granted. Other posters have detailed methods or philosophies that attempt to make sense of an apparent contradiction: Why give to a stranger?

To my mind, this says a lot about you. All of it good.Thanks, graz.

JonIrenicus
11-30-2009, 08:22 PM
Yes, I give, but I worry it's out of a sense of control or superiority, or something. But my conscious reasoning is that someone needs something right now.

My most recent experience was when I was about three cars back, waiting for a light to change on an off-ramp. The guy's sign said, 'will work for food,' and he had a back-pack, like he was traveling. Traffic started moving as I dug for a twenty. I rolled down the window and stuck my hand out, he perked up intently, and as I was rolling by he took it. But the strange thing was, that in order not to miss it, his hand ran over my hand in a warm grasp.

When I was a young child, my grandfather dug out a twenty to give to a seemingly blind homeless guy in front of the dmv. He put the twenty in his cup. The gratitude and smile on the mans face was genuine, an appreciation that apparently cured his blindness to recognize it was a twenty.

Lyle
11-30-2009, 10:23 PM
Sometimes.

Whatfur
11-30-2009, 11:04 PM
When I was a young child, my grandfather dug out a twenty to give to a seemingly blind homeless guy in front of the dmv. He put the twenty in his cup. The gratitude and smile on the mans face was genuine, an appreciation that apparently cured his blindness to recognize it was a twenty.

I have a neighbor who is was a cop (now retired) in a large, fairly affluent suburban community and he told me a story once of following a gentleman who had been on a street corner near a mall with a child and a sign (can't remember what it said) begging. He had asked the guy a number of times on sequential days to "move along" and he kept coming back...the last time he watched him from a distance hop into a pretty nice car in the mall parking lot. He pulled him over and the guy had over 5 thousand dollars on him...small bills. Go figure.

graz
12-01-2009, 12:02 AM
I have a neighbor who is was a cop (now retired) in a large, fairly affluent suburban community and he told me a story once of following a gentleman who had been on a street corner near a mall with a child and a sign (can't remember what it said) begging. He had asked the guy a number of times on sequential days to "move along" and he kept coming back...the last time he watched him from a distance hop into a pretty nice car in the mall parking lot. He pulled him over and the guy had over 5 thousand dollars on him...small bills. Go figure.

Even your anecdotes are to type... go figure.

Whatfur
12-01-2009, 08:43 AM
Even your anecdotes are to type... go figure.

Actually I held back that anecodote so as not to disturb the touching little moment between look and yourself. Jon's great and telling anecdote inspired me enough to get past your little love fest.

bjkeefe
12-01-2009, 09:01 AM
Actually I held back that anecodote so as not to disturb the touching little moment between look and yourself. Jon's great and telling anecdote inspired me enough to get past your little love fest.

Another instructive comment from 'fur. Apparently, the concept of two people who aren't perfectly aligned in ideology being pleasant to each other remains utterly foreign to him.

look
12-01-2009, 11:01 AM
I'll give a kiss to which ever one of you brings me a box of chocolates first.

Love,
Darla

wreaver
01-21-2010, 03:58 AM
Curious how you all handle this.

Almost never give them anything.

Sometimes give them "a look" that intimidates them, and stops them from even asking. Or if they ask, I just ignore them.

I.e., similar to how I treat a sales men who I see coming after me in a store (and I don't want to talk to).