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The beggar refused my dollar today


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There’s a family of traveling minstrels that show up at the grocery store parking lot with their cardboard sign and a violin and a speaker.  They are quite talented, and I enjoy their performance, so I don’t mind giving them a buck.

Today, however, the guy argued with me. He said “A dollar? This is for food! For rent!”  I told him it’s what I had, he just looked at me with scorn and refused to take it.

 I guess I can see his point. Fast food joints around here pay 15 bucks an hour, the minimum wage keeps going up, rents keep increasing. Today’s new inflation numbers are out-7% stinks. A dollar is the new small pittance of coins to a street beggar.  Suddenly, raking in about 200 bucks in a couple hours just doesn’t go as far as it used to.

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9 minutes ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

There’s a family of traveling minstrels that show up at the grocery store parking lot with their cardboard sign and a violin and a speaker.  They are quite talented, and I enjoy their performance, so I don’t mind giving them a buck.

Today, however, the guy argued with me. He said “A dollar? This is for food! For rent!”  I told him it’s what I had, he just looked at me with scorn and refused to take it.

 I guess I can see his point. Fast food joints around here pay 15 bucks an hour, the minimum wage keeps going up, rents keep increasing. Today’s new inflation numbers are out-7% stinks. A dollar is the new small pittance of coins to a street beggar.  Suddenly, raking in about 200 bucks in a couple hours just doesn’t go as far as it used to.

There is no contract that would him entitle him to $X so anything you are willing to give is great. It's too bad he didn't see it that way. He probably shot himself in the foot. I doubt that next time you, or anyone who may have witnessed the exchange will want to give him money for his unsolicited musical service. His loss but nice of you to try and give.

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30 minutes ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

There’s a family of traveling minstrels that show up at the grocery store parking lot with their cardboard sign and a violin and a speaker.  They are quite talented, and I enjoy their performance, so I don’t mind giving them a buck.

Today, however, the guy argued with me. He said “A dollar? This is for food! For rent!”  I told him it’s what I had, he just looked at me with scorn and refused to take it.

 I guess I can see his point. Fast food joints around here pay 15 bucks an hour, the minimum wage keeps going up, rents keep increasing. Today’s new inflation numbers are out-7% stinks. A dollar is the new small pittance of coins to a street beggar.  Suddenly, raking in about 200 bucks in a couple hours just doesn’t go as far as it used to.

I think the general policy of giving financial support to established organizations that assist homeless people is the better way to go.  Giving money is just another form of the dole.  Moreover, you never know if you, in giving money to a panhandler, are subsidizing a substance abuse problem, or deliberate idleness, or even an outright scam:

And so on.

My kids keep an eye out for these folks when they go shopping with my wife.  My wife then picks up a few extra items - canned soup, water bottles, fried chicken, whatever -  and my kids give the food to the panhandlers.  They are typically grateful, though they are clearly looking for money more than food or work.

Thanks,

-Smac

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I've considered purchasing coupons to nearby fast food and/or grocery stores so that at least I know it will go towards nourishing them. Of course, they could turn around and sell for street value...

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13 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I think the general policy of giving financial support to established organizations that assist homeless people is the better way to go. 

Oh, I totally agree. It’s just that this specific family is putting on a show, and providing entertainment. They are literally working for their money, and even though they have the standard cardboard sign, they hold the position of “street performer“ as opposed to “beggar“ in my mind. The songs they play, are the cutting edge of what is cool on TickTok. I’m assuming they are a family of musicians in between gigs, and the cardboard sign is just something to help increase their take. So from that perspective, I don’t mind giving them buck.

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I know for a while, Salt Lake City had a card that you could print out, with phone numbers to homeless services. It was sponsored by downtown merchants at one point. I know from personal experience, those cards are very unpopular with the cardboard same crowd.

Last week, I saw one cardboard sign that I could totally appreciate and respect. It said “Bud me “.  I am a fan of honesty, and that guy was being honest. 😉

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1 hour ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

Oh, I totally agree. It’s just that this specific family is putting on a show, and providing entertainment. They are literally working for their money, and even though they have the standard cardboard sign, they hold the position of “street performer“ as opposed to “beggar“ in my mind. The songs they play, are the cutting edge of what is cool on TickTok. I’m assuming they are a family of musicians in between gigs, and the cardboard sign is just something to help increase their take. So from that perspective, I don’t mind giving them buck.

Police departments have put out warnings against these fake buskers.    https://www.violinist.com/blog/laurie/202112/29022/

Quote

 

The problem is, they are not musicians at all, they are completely faking the violin-playing.

The scam inspired a recent Violinist.com discussion about fake violin buskers, making me wonder, how widespread is this? News stories about it seem to come from all over the U.S. (here's another story, from Arizona) and beyond.

All of this, of course, is bad news for real buskers hoping to earn a little extra money during the holiday season. While the difference between a real player and a faker would probably be extremely obvious to readers of this site, apparently some people are more easily fooled.

 

 

 

 

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I have a friend who has recently gone out of her way to take homemade food to the homeless around the downtown SLC area.  She has started a group that does it with her (very grassroots, only being going for a handful of months so far).  She has said in the past that they sometimes get a lot of pushback from the people who live on or near the homeless camps when they are out providing food.  They don't want the homeless people to be encouraged to stay in the area because they are creating a lot of problems.  

She can see both sides of the issue.  She's also said that the homeless that they get have said how they don't like the typical help that is offered to them, through food banks and church stuff.  

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Just now, bluebell said:

She's also said that the homeless that they get have said how they don't like the typical help that is offered to them, through food banks and church stuff.  

Why?

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Just now, Calm said:

Why?

I haven't had a chance to ask her and she didn't really elaborate.  It sounded like they didn't like that the help wasn't just handed out to them on the street corner, that they had to go somewhere specific or do certain things to get it, and also that it didn't meet their needs (not sure how though).  But I could have completely misread the tone and that might not be it at all.

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There has to be a balance (I don't know what that balance is) between helping others and not enabling those who would otherwise seek to get out of their homelessness. I also understand how neighbors in the community would be adverse to others helping out the homeless in their neighborhood out of fear they will be convinced to stay indefinitely longer.

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13 minutes ago, Calm said:

Why?

The homeless people I met with as bishop were typically not interested in improving themselves or in doing anything to earn what they received. Most preferred begging because it was easier and had no strings attached. Given all the resources available for the homeless, I think giving money or food directly usually does more harm than good.

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13 minutes ago, Calm said:
14 minutes ago, bluebell said:

She's also said that the homeless that they get have said how they don't like the typical help that is offered to them, through food banks and church stuff.  

Why?

You are asking why homeless folk don't avail themselves of the community resources, so they can improve their situations, and stop being homeless?

We can talk all day about how the many facets of homelessness, from substance addiction, to mental illness, to homelessness-as-a-lifestyle-choice, to how well begging pays, to fear/resentment of authority.  But at the end of the day, we've always got John 12:8, straight out of Jesus' mouth:  

the poor always ye have with you

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5 hours ago, smac97 said:

I think the general policy of giving financial support to established organizations that assist homeless people is the better way to go.  Giving money is just another form of the dole.  Moreover, you never know if you, in giving money to a panhandler, are subsidizing a substance abuse problem, or deliberate idleness, or even an outright scam:

My wife won't subsidize them, but she is used to me handing out small amounts of money to folks who are busking in public (playing music on their instrument (guitar, sax, accordion, etc)) for passers-by to hear. They're providing a service, whether or not its unsolicited. And I enjoy music, especially music that is well-played. It usually adds positively to the atmosphere, so what harm is there in showing appreciation?

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5 hours ago, smac97 said:

I think the general policy of giving financial support to established organizations that assist homeless people is the better way to go.  Giving money is just another form of the dole.  Moreover, you never know if you, in giving money to a panhandler, are subsidizing a substance abuse problem, or deliberate idleness, or even an outright scam:

I don’t particularly care if it goes to a substance abuse problem.

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5 hours ago, Vanguard said:

I've considered purchasing coupons to nearby fast food and/or grocery stores so that at least I know it will go towards nourishing them. Of course, they could turn around and sell for street value...

Usually they throw them away.

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My late wife and I visited Victoria, BC, occasionally, and there was a "street performer" who was always there on the Victoria waterfront whom we enjoyed encountering. He went by the sobriquet "Plasterman", and he would stand there pretending to be a statue, until someone put some money into the receptacle at his side. Then he would come alive and react to them, let them take a picture with him. I even have a photo of him giving my wife a kiss on the cheek! 

Then when talking about him to our Canadian daughter-in-law (who is from Victoria) she told us that she knew who he was! He had been a high school classmate of a relative of hers, and he had an odd name: Clark Clark. No joke, his first name was his last name, too. 

After my wife died, and I remarried, I took my new wife on an Alaska cruise that stopped in Victoria. I took her to the waterfront, hoping to see Plasterman, but he wasn't there that day.

When this topic came up, I thought I would bring Plasterman into the conversation, but wanted to check if there was anything on the web about him. Unfortunately, there was: news reports of his death. Dang it! I really feel sad. 

Victoria’s adored living statue ‘Plasterman’ dies

Obituary: Clark M. Clark, Victoria’s living statue, stood still and moved us with joy

 

Edited by Stargazer
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The largely mythical wealthy panhandler is a classic. There are no hard numbers on panhandling profits but I question the motives of those trying to convince me that they many are wealthy. It seems like an attempt to marginalize the impoverished. It goes with the common bit about the poor having refrigerators and televisions and computers at home.

The refrigerator one is especially disgusting. It is incredibly difficult to make food for a family if you can’t keep things cold meaning you most likely have to go with the more expensive alternative of cheap fast food. They expect the impoverished to be penny wise and pound foolish to fit into their mold of some ideal ****ensian poor person.

There is also a kind of weird envy of the impoverished. The idea that they are making out like bandits is a slick piece of propaganda. I can see why some segments of society want to push that narrative. If you keep everyone thinking the poor are robbing them blind it probably makes it easier for other people to rob them blind.

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14 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

The largely mythical wealthy panhandler is a classic. There are no hard numbers on panhandling profits but I question the motives of those trying to convince me that they many are wealthy. It seems like an attempt to marginalize the impoverished. It goes with the common bit about the poor having refrigerators and televisions and computers at home.

The refrigerator one is especially disgusting. It is incredibly difficult to make food for a family if you can’t keep things cold meaning you most likely have to go with the more expensive alternative of cheap fast food. They expect the impoverished to be penny wise and pound foolish to fit into their mold of some ideal ****ensian poor person.

There is also a kind of weird envy of the impoverished. The idea that they are making out like bandits is a slick piece of propaganda. I can see why some segments of society want to push that narrative. If you keep everyone thinking the poor are robbing them blind it probably makes it easier for other people to rob them blind.

Back around 1992 when I was living in Las Vegas a news reporter went Undercover being a panhandler and they were knocking down two to three hundred bucks a day in about 4 to 5 hours and then heading to the casinos.

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51 minutes ago, Stargazer said:

My wife won't subsidize them, but she is used to me handing out small amounts of money to folks who are busking in public (playing music on their instrument (guitar, sax, accordion, etc)) for passers-by to hear. They're providing a service, whether or not its unsolicited. And I enjoy music, especially music that is well-played. It usually adds positively to the atmosphere, so what harm is there in showing appreciation?

I'm more open to that sort of thing.  It's not a "dole."  It's a quid pro quo.

Squeegee guys, on the other hand...

Thanks,

-Smac

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1 hour ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

You are asking why homeless folk don't avail themselves of the community resources, so they can improve their situations, and stop being homeless

No.  I was asking her what they said they didn’t like about them…which is not the above at all (because first they still might use the resources even if they didn’t like them, but also because the reasons they give might not be the actual reasons they don’t use them).

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5 minutes ago, rodheadlee said:

Back around 1992 when I was living in Las Vegas a news reporter went Undercover being a panhandler and they were knocking down two to three hundred bucks a day in about 4 to 5 hours and then heading to the casinos.

Unless we know the numbers or percentages of the “they” in comparison to the greater panhandling community, that isn’t a very useful report IMO.  I have no doubt there are abusers of the system, but a few abusing and most struggling is very different from most abusing and a few struggling and a news report should offer what that percentage likely is (whether it did or not is not indicated in your comment).

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