Etiquette School is in session! > Complete Silence

Panhandler and...Sympathizer?

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My usual rule with panhandlers is "Don't engage the crazy."  I use the term loosely, as in they're crazy to be asking strangers for money when it's generally against the law in most areas.

I popped out of my workplace a few minutes ago to grab a soda from a store across the street, and was stuck at the traffic light waiting to cross the street.  A panhandler approached, asking me for money.  I did not respond and ignored him completely.  Another woman standing nearby clucked with disapproval and then loudly said TO THE PANHANDLER "It's got to be frustrating when people don't even acknowledge you."  I turned around, shot her a death glare, and then walked on (the light had changed by that point).

1)  Was I rude not to acknowledge the panhandler?
2)  Is there anything polite I could have said to the woman?

In my opinion, it's basically retaliatory rudeness not to acknowledge someone who's speaking to you, even if they're bothering you.  It's the same reason why I say "I'm not interested, thank you" before hanging up on a telemarketer.  Of course you don't have to give the panhandler money or have an extended interaction with him or her, but I think it's only polite to acknowledge that another human being is speaking to you.

Yeah, I think a little bit rude to not even acknowledge his existence (assuming he approached you in a polite manner, and moved away when he realized you weren't going to give him anything).   These folks are human beings, and until proven dangerous/unpleasant I don't see why you can't say 'Sorry, no', just 'no', or even just shake your head.

Ceiling Fan:
I agree. It seems rude to not acknowledge somone's existence and  decide they are 'crazy' based on nothing.

I find it interesting that you were willing to engage rude woman, when you couldn't even bring yourself to look at a panhandler.

My only disagreement with the OP is using the term "engaging the crazy" about a panhandler.  (But then I don't particularly like the phrase, and I also think it's misused at times). 

Otherwise, no I don't think you needed to acknowledge him.  This section wouldn't exist if silence wasn't an ehell-approved option, and I don't think it's rude to not respond to a stranger asking for money. 

As for the nosy woman, I don't see rudeness in not acknowledging her, either. 


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