Author Topic: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?  (Read 2654 times)

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purple

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #60 on: September 29, 2014, 12:17:30 AM »

Not exactly - the woman in front of me at the grocery store was about 2 dollars short. She looked like she was going to cry. This is going to sound a little judgmental but the food was basic cook meals from scratch type stuff. Not snack/junk food. I passed the clerk enough to cover what she was short. When she was worried about paying me back - I told her to do the same some day to someone else.



Yes, I've done this with a person who ran their debit card and it came up insufficient so she started fishing through the bags to put stuff back so I just paid her bill for her.

I've bought an extra sandwich at the store to give to a homeless person I saw sitting on the street on my way there.  I've bought a bag of dog food to give to a homeless person's dog who I saw sitting on the street on my way there.

I've never paid-forward, I guess because it never occurred to me.  Also because, to be honest, a person who is at a takeaway food restaurant or a coffee shop in line behind me probably has enough discretionary income to be there in the first place, so why would I pay for something that they can perfectly afford for themselves, especially something that's a "want" and not a "need" (which, IMO, is what you get at takeaway restaurants and coffee shops).

I generally will give money or food or things to someone (human or animal) if I happen to see that they need it and if I happen to have the time and money and inclination 'in my pocket' at the time.

To the bolded - my husband has the same perspective and we have some interesting philosophical discussions about it. One extreme example - Elvis Presley was shopping for a Cadillac and bought a Cadillac for another customer who was in the dealership at the same time as him. Total stranger to him - he decided to do a random act of kindness. That example drives my DH crazy. His perspective is if the woman was in the dealership, she can afford the car and doesn't "need" it and that the money should have gone to someone who has a greater financial need. I say that Elvis donated to needy causes and if he wants to randomly gift someone, that's great.

I give when someone is in obvious need (I just gave my lunch and dinner leftovers to someone who was panhandling) but I also do random things for ppl who don't seem to be in need. I say "seem to be" because I don't know anyone else's struggle. Maybe the person woke up this morning hopeless and believing that the world is a horrible place, maybe s/he just had an argument with a friend or loved one, maybe s/he is struggling with chronic pain, etc. etc. I can't see every struggle and I don't try to. If I feel moved to gift someone, I don't judge their neediness or worthiness, I just gift them. I gave a man a 20% off BB&B coupon for a Roomba he was buying at Christmas time. He saved $40. Judging by his coat and shoes, he didn't "need" that coupon, but I wasn't using it for my order so why not? He was surprised and shocked and I'd like to think it brightened his day and Christmas shopping experience.

Yes, this is an interesting discussion!
Despite the way my post may have made it sound, I'm more on your "side" than your husband's.

Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #61 on: September 29, 2014, 03:46:56 AM »
I tried them on the notion of paying for soldiers, firemen, police officers etc., and nobody had ever encountered that either, although I think that may be because in the UK it is very rare to see an off duty officer in uniform, and since the attack on Drummer Lee Rigby, it's even less common than it was before. The West Yorkshire Police policy - the first one Google threw up for me - actually says that officers may not wear uniform when off duty for any reason other than travelling to and from work, and I believe they are generally discouraged from wearing it then.

That and I think that generally we're just a bit less patriotic than our US friends and with the exception of the armed forces we're also less of a service-oriented nation. There's less of a feeling of police(wo)men "serving their country" here - they're just "at work" to me. The "Thank you for your service" mindset seems to be a very particularly American thing.

That's actually a very good point - we view them more as 'public servants' with a responsibility to us rather than the other way around.

I wonder, too, if the scandals here over the last four or five years, with public servants and more specifically, Members of Parliament, being demonstrably 'on the take' (we had an MP decide that it was necessary for the public to pay for a duck house in his pond, at a cost of 1600) has meant that we are more inclined to say to all our civic and national officers 'you've got a salary, and you've got reasonable expenses paid for costs incurred in the course of your employment. Buy your own coffee like the rest of us have to.'

judecat

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #62 on: September 29, 2014, 07:06:14 AM »

Sorry,  I have issues trimming the quote tree."One extreme example - Elvis Presley was shopping for a Cadillac and bought a Cadillac for another customer who was in the dealership at the same time as him. Total stranger to him - he decided to do a random act of kindness. That example drives my DH crazy. His perspective is if the woman was in the dealership, she can afford the car and doesn't "need" it and that the money should have gone to someone who has a greater financial need."

[/size]Elvis was known for buying gifts for all kinds of people - it wasn't charity or based on need,  He just liked buying gifts for people.   The army post didn't need a fancy enlisted man's club,  but the one he had built sure made everyone happy -- even 10 years later.   He never had to mow the back 40,  and the boys who did mow it didn't need power mowers instead of the old fashion manual kind,  but the ones he bought made the guys happy.  (I was stationed in Friedburg German in the Army --11 years after Elvis was).   Dr Kohl didn't need a big old American car,  but he was sure happy when he got the keys in the mail at his retirement party.[/color]

[/size]


Slartibartfast

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #63 on: September 29, 2014, 09:05:45 AM »
I tried them on the notion of paying for soldiers, firemen, police officers etc., and nobody had ever encountered that either, although I think that may be because in the UK it is very rare to see an off duty officer in uniform, and since the attack on Drummer Lee Rigby, it's even less common than it was before. The West Yorkshire Police policy - the first one Google threw up for me - actually says that officers may not wear uniform when off duty for any reason other than travelling to and from work, and I believe they are generally discouraged from wearing it then.

That and I think that generally we're just a bit less patriotic than our US friends and with the exception of the armed forces we're also less of a service-oriented nation. There's less of a feeling of police(wo)men "serving their country" here - they're just "at work" to me. The "Thank you for your service" mindset seems to be a very particularly American thing.

That's actually a very good point - we view them more as 'public servants' with a responsibility to us rather than the other way around.

I wonder, too, if the scandals here over the last four or five years, with public servants and more specifically, Members of Parliament, being demonstrably 'on the take' (we had an MP decide that it was necessary for the public to pay for a duck house in his pond, at a cost of 1600) has meant that we are more inclined to say to all our civic and national officers 'you've got a salary, and you've got reasonable expenses paid for costs incurred in the course of your employment. Buy your own coffee like the rest of us have to.'

This attitude varies a lot in the US, despite how our media exports make it sound  :P  There is certainly a large contingent of Americans who believe soldiers/firefighters/etc. are American heroes and as such deserve some extra thanks, but there is also a contingent who feel "it's just a job" and don't go in for the ultra-patriotic stuff.  It varies a lot from person to person and region to region as to what the default expectation in that area might be.  In general, though, people who disagree with the pro-military, pro-civil-servant view tend to be quieter about it than those who are more fervent.

Yvaine

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #64 on: September 29, 2014, 09:15:11 AM »
http://www.fastcompany.com/3034747/fast-feed/breaking-a-pay-it-forward-chain-isnt-being-a-cheap-bastard-its-good-economics

I read that and was kind of  :o at the barista. I had no idea why some people in this thread thought having your coffee paid for created an obligation to pay for the next person...until I read that article. I'm pretty agog at her trying to prod people into keeping the chain going. Even worse if she's the one who took it to the papers, though it's not clear. Why not just say "The person ahead of you has paid for you; enjoy!"

learningtofly

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #65 on: September 29, 2014, 09:36:53 AM »
I've done it on a small scale.  The family ahead of me who is paying in cash and just a few coins short.  And once a college student who discovered that her debit card was in her car.  She might have been able to afford what she had in her grocery cart, but I remember how much of a difference $20 made in college.  I was able to pay for her groceries and mine and almost made it out of the store before she saw me.

When I was in grad school I joined two fellow students for lunch on occasion.  They both had full time jobs and insisted on treating me to lunch most of the time we went out.  I did manage to pay a time or two, but they insisted that this had been done for them and I should pay it forward.  A few years later a friend was visiting (grad student looking for a post-doc) and I treated her.  Told her to pay it forward and she did, to her own grad students  ;D

mlkind1789

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #66 on: September 29, 2014, 09:40:22 AM »
I bought dinner for a large family once when we lived in Georgia, at our local BBQ place.  You could tell it was a "special night" and their five kids were scrubbed & on their best behavior.  Mom arrived after dad/kids were already seated and she looked frazzled.  We had to do some sneaking around to handle that and we got out of there before they realized their dinner was paid for.  I think it was because I was one of five kids.

This is OT, but this made me laugh because it reminded me of something my mother in law and her brother do.  Whenever her brother and his wife come to visit there's the "great race" to see who can get the bill from the waitress first, and they are always trying to be sneaky about it.  It's always amusing to see the dirty looks that go back and forth between them when the one who didn't get it figures it out.

A few years ago my SIL graduated from high school and several family members went out to dinner to celebrate.  We all walked in expecting that we would be paying for our own dinners for our individual families.  As people were starting to finish up, we all figured out that MIL had paid for everyone.  There were about 20-25 people, not a cheap endeavor.  So since she refused to let any of us pay for our own dinners, her brother, my BIL, my DH, and my other SIL, all decided to just stick cash in her purse when she wasn't looking because she had left it unzipped on the back of her chair.  I warned them all that their ears were going to be burning as soon as she found it, but they got a laugh out of wondering how long it would take her to find it all because they all put it in different spots.

esposita

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #67 on: September 29, 2014, 09:48:46 AM »
I bought dinner for a large family once when we lived in Georgia, at our local BBQ place.  You could tell it was a "special night" and their five kids were scrubbed & on their best behavior.  Mom arrived after dad/kids were already seated and she looked frazzled.  We had to do some sneaking around to handle that and we got out of there before they realized their dinner was paid for.  I think it was because I was one of five kids.

This is OT, but this made me laugh because it reminded me of something my mother in law and her brother do.  Whenever her brother and his wife come to visit there's the "great race" to see who can get the bill from the waitress first, and they are always trying to be sneaky about it.  It's always amusing to see the dirty looks that go back and forth between them when the one who didn't get it figures it out.

A few years ago my SIL graduated from high school and several family members went out to dinner to celebrate.  We all walked in expecting that we would be paying for our own dinners for our individual families.  As people were starting to finish up, we all figured out that MIL had paid for everyone.  There were about 20-25 people, not a cheap endeavor.  So since she refused to let any of us pay for our own dinners, her brother, my BIL, my DH, and my other SIL, all decided to just stick cash in her purse when she wasn't looking because she had left it unzipped on the back of her chair.  I warned them all that their ears were going to be burning as soon as she found it, but they got a laugh out of wondering how long it would take her to find it all because they all put it in different spots.

What sweet stories!

BabyMama

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #68 on: September 29, 2014, 03:09:23 PM »
I try to pay for someone else's drink or breakfast at least once every couple months. I'm grateful to have a job, and it makes me like I've done something nice for the day. I never expect to be on the receiving end, and I don't expect them to do it in turn. It bums me out to see that it makes some people suspicious of my motives.

NFPwife

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #69 on: September 29, 2014, 03:25:17 PM »
To the Elvis things, yes, he was quite generous; I think that was his way of expressing warmth and regard and his way of making others lives a little brighter.

DH and I were talking about this thread on a walk and he said, "If a billionaire bought everyone's coffee at Starbucks, I wouldn't have a problem..." and I said, "Not true, if Warren Buffett opened a tab at SB and said, 'I'm paying for everyone for the next 4 hours,' you'd have a problem with it." He said, "I would! You're right!"

He doesn't get upset with me when I'm generous as opposed to charitable, but his giving is always charitable.

I was on the receiving end of some acts of kindness when I was traveling in Denmark and my flight was 12 hours delayed, completely blowing off my connection, and it was so heartwarming to have ppl go out of their way to support and guide me through my travel nightmare. Small kindnesses are never wasted.

jpcher

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #70 on: September 29, 2014, 05:40:59 PM »
http://www.fastcompany.com/3034747/fast-feed/breaking-a-pay-it-forward-chain-isnt-being-a-cheap-bastard-its-good-economics

I read that and was kind of  :o at the barista. I had no idea why some people in this thread thought having your coffee paid for created an obligation to pay for the next person...until I read that article. I'm pretty agog at her trying to prod people into keeping the chain going. Even worse if she's the one who took it to the papers, though it's not clear. Why not just say "The person ahead of you has paid for you; enjoy!"

Agreed.

Sirius

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #71 on: September 29, 2014, 09:22:14 PM »
I don't want to describe anything I do because I don't want people to think I want praise for it.  People have helped me when I needed it, and it makes me feel good to help people when I can see they need the help. 

One time when I got very sick with something highly contagious, I quite literally ran out of food.  I had cat food but little else.   My neighbor across the street sent her husband to the local grocery store for me, and when I found the bag sitting on my front step (I'd told her to just have him ring the bell and leave, because I didn't want to expose him to what I had) she'd included some extra goodies with the chicken noodle soup and crackers I'd asked for.  Later, once I'd recovered, I asked how much I owed them, and was told all they wanted was for me to help someone else out some time. 

Bijou

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Re: Pay it forward . . . have you ever done this?
« Reply #72 on: Yesterday at 03:00:52 AM »
I never heard of making a chain of paying for the person behind you in line.  I've always thought of pay it forward as more of a way of life.  When I'm financially down I depend on the kindness of strangers,  and when I'm financially up,  I help others.  Ex.  I was out of work for a long time,  and when I finally got a job I only had like two pairs of pants and 3 shirts appropriate for the job.  One day I went to work and my co-worker gave me a bag of cloths that one of our customers had dropped off for me.  No one will tell me which customer (but based on the sizes I can guess).  Anyway,  now that I have a few dollars a week left over to save for cloths,  I bought a belt for a homeless man who picks up trash in exchange for food at work,  and I payed for one ladies pizza when she didn't have enough food stamps for her dinner,  and a few other things like that. 
Pay it forward to me is just a way of life -- I've been doing it since long before the movie gave it a name.
If you are talking about my post, I think she may have been just doing a kind act for someone, possibly because someone had done something for her.  I think that's what pay it forward means.
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.