Spare Change...

    Last post ago over 7 years by genenco
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      • Avatar 31779
        • Started by
          Mighty! Member
        • last active 4 months ago
          Hi Gang:
              Haven't we all heard the saying "What the he** is spare change?" More of a question really, than a statement.
        I was approached today outside my local Dunkin Donuts shop and asked for spare change. Just like that..."Do you have any spare change?" I politley declined his question with a "I'm sorry I do not." I did make eye contact, and he did not question me again.

        I saw so little of him, for such a short time I could really make no judgement call as to his situation. I do know, he did not smell of booze, and his clothes, although worn, were far from shabby. I think my shoes on occasion have looked worse than his. 
        So, I went on my way, and after I got in the car I began to have that angel/devil syndrome that happens on each shoulder like in the cartoons.  Should I of given him change? He looked nice enough, I had a few one dollar bills, I should of offered him at least a cup of coffee.  Then the other side kicked in to have their say..."Get a job you bum, do I look like I am rich? You'll probabley buy booze with it." Back and forth I went with the whole scenerio running thru my head over and over again.
        After the day to think about it, I still dont know how I feel about it.  I needed more details you know? Why did he need the money. What was his situation. What brought him there in the first place.
        I actually dislike being put in situations like that you know? Your damned if you do, damned if you dont.  Was it God showing himself, and I failed the test? Where was my compassion?  Or was it just some bum trying to hussle me and I made the right decision. So many questions left unanswered.  Regardless, I made the choice to not give him any money, and I could not change it now.

        How do others handle this type of situation , when it is looking you in the face, and no time to get any details. Are you instantly compassionate, or are you the type where you are instantly angry and suspicious toward them?

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        Hi Pam,

        I understand where you are coming from.

        In England - there are self help schemes where people can sell a mag called "The Big Issue".  They have specific "pitches" to sell these magazines.  They are £1.50 to buy and I know these guys and gals selling them have to pay 75p for them.

        There was this Rastafarian guy who was always in the same "pitch" and I always said no thanks and smiled.  He was a really friendly guy, clean looking but with very sad eyes.  One day I decided to stop and have a chat with him.  I asked him what brought him here. 

        He told me of his marriage with 3 kids and how the wife threw him out of the house and stopped him seeing his kids.  He lost his job, his home and his family in an instant and there he was on the streets selling these mags.  He told me that when he can get work he did painting and decorating but he never got paid the going rate.

        I always gave this guy money, never took a magazine and he updated me on his plight to find a home, a job and to get to see his kids.  I think it was about 2 years before he finally got a home and managed to see his kids.  Work was sporadic so he continued to sell the magazine.  I always gave him money if I had it to spare and I always gave him some notes at Christmas time. 

        This man was a really nice guy and I missed him when they shut the store he used to sell his mags outside of.  I did bump into him in the street a while ago and it was like meeting an old friend.  He was quite happy, had his home, saw his kids and had a job.  So I hope that my little contribution was of some use to him.

        On the other hand Pam - there are those that are not in his position who actually have a home, make a living out of begging and live good lifestyles.  In London I know they can make upwards of £300 a day. 

        So it is difficult knowing which ones are the ones that you can stop and talk to and ask them how they got where they are and which ones you avoid like the plague.  So I truly do understand your dilemma.

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        • Replied by
          Mighty! Member
        • last active 5 months ago
        Frankly Pmm, I just ignore them, or say "No I don't" in the request for spare change.

        There have been times long ago, I did. But after seeing so many reports of people scamming, I cannot bring myself to hand out any money for knoing that drugs or liquor might be bought instead, but worse, that they are scamming for the money to pay their bills, while they work or are not willing to work.

        I don't know if I mentioned the time I saw a panhandler outside a bus I was on and he was chatting with someone on his blackberry.

        That drove the final nail in the coffin of beggars asking me for money. If I am ever tempted to give, there's a few places near me who'd gladly take it and put it to it's rightful use.

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