Author Topic: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?  (Read 44107 times)

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SamiHami

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2011, 05:29:21 PM »
Absolutely NOT rude to ignore him.  You are not bound by etiquette to acknowledge strangers that approach you, particularly begging for money.

As for the woman who commented, she should be ignored as well.  Technically she wasn't addressing you.  There would be no point in  responding to her anyway.

Your behavior was faultless.

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Fluffy Cat

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2011, 05:32:05 PM »
There's nothing wrong with ignoring a panhandler and that's my preferred method of choice.  I have no idea whether the person might be violent and as a single woman I err on the side of safety.

You could say that of anybody though, panhandler doesn't equal violent.  In fact homeless people are disproportionately likely to be victims of violence.

They've already shown themselves willing to violate one social norm of society (asking for money from a stranger), so my risk of interaction with them is higher than with the average stranger.  Then I add in my total history with interacting with panhandlers and the risk goes up again.  Then I add in any particular vibe I'm getting from the individual themselves.  I think the same thing about catcallers. It's sad that the homeless are at such a risk of violence, but that doesn't effect my risk assessment for my safety at all.
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Red1979

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2011, 05:38:35 PM »
There's nothing wrong with ignoring a panhandler and that's my preferred method of choice.  I have no idea whether the person might be violent and as a single woman I err on the side of safety.

You could say that of anybody though, panhandler doesn't equal violent.  In fact homeless people are disproportionately likely to be victims of violence.

I work in NYC.  I have seen many, many homeless people of both the non-violent and the violent kind.  I don't find the need to cage my bets and *hope* I got the non-violent one. 

If you are standing on the street begging for money, then no you don't require my response.  Typically the people begging are men quite larger than myself.  If a man who is a larger size than me asks me inappropriate questions--I ignore them.  It's very simple.
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alice

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2011, 05:53:01 PM »
My son used to take our light rail train into the city to hop on the Patco line into Phila each day for school.  Walking from the light rail to the Patco he encountered the same man almost everyday who asked him for cigarettes and change. 

My son, taught to be polite, at first said sorry, no.  I don't smoke, and I don't have any change.  This went on for  a few weeks.  My son, when approached by this man again one morning, finally had enough.  He stopped and said the man "I have been telling you for weeks that I don't smoke, and I don't have change". 

He further went on to tell the man that if he would spend this time into trying to locate some work, he would not have to stand around all day asking for money.  My son did not say it in a condescending tone-he really is good natured, and naive at heart, and thought this was something that the man needed to hear.  The man nodded his head and walked away.

My son thought he had done his good deed (we had since explained it to him) and felt better.  The next day, the man approached him again asking the same question.  My son was confused.  He started wearing his ear buds and ignoring the man after that.


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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2011, 05:57:57 PM »
Just this Monday, my husband made the mistake of engaging with a panhandler outside of the restaraunt we were entering.  When he refused to give him money the man made vulgar gestures at me and stormed off.  20 minutes later he entered the crowded restaraunt and made a beeline toward DH whose back was facing the door. I warned him he was coming so DH got up, turned around and tried to keep the guy from getting physical.  Meanwhile I went over and got the owner and between the two of them, they had to physically remove him from the restaraunt.  :(  

Yes, I know not all homeless/panhandlers are like this.  I used to work security in a mall, and we had some that we knew to remove right away, some we watched carefully, and many we just let do their thing (without the panhandling) because we had a good history with them.

The problem is, when you live downtown, stories like the above are not infrequent, (even if they do constitute the minority) and are a genuine concern.  Lesser problems like harassment (I've been followed for blocks being screamed at for politely refusing to give away a cigarette) and sexual harassment are even less infrequent.  

And again, I absolutely do interact with the homeless/panhandlers when it comes to the usual social niceities. That is whole different ballgame and they deserve the same respect as everyone else - no more, no less.
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Yvaine

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2011, 06:05:23 PM »
Absolutely NOT rude to ignore him.  You are not bound by etiquette to acknowledge strangers that approach you, particularly begging for money.

I agree with this. I won't make eye contact and then turn up my nose or anything--it's more a polite fiction that I haven't noticed them or haven't noticed they're speaking to me in particular. I don't see anything rude about acting as though I'm in my own bubble and haven't heard. (Especially since in my town it's the same 4-5 guys every time, and most of them have been openly rude to me over the years. There's the guy who called me a female dog, there's the one who's racist, there's the one who grabbed me when I said no, etc. I'm more likely to engage a panhandler I don't recognize, and have at times given money or food to people who were polite about it.)

Larrabee

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2011, 06:40:36 AM »
He further went on to tell the man that if he would spend this time into trying to locate some work, he would not have to stand around all day asking for money.  My son did not say it in a condescending tone-he really is good natured, and naive at heart, and thought this was something that the man needed to hear.  The man nodded his head and walked away.

My son thought he had done his good deed (we had since explained it to him) and felt better.  The next day, the man approached him again asking the same question.  My son was confused.  He started wearing his ear buds and ignoring the man after that.



I'm sure your son meant to be kind, but he might want to read up on how incredibly difficult it actually is for people to get back into work and stability once they have got into the cycle of homelessness.  Also, how homeless people are far more likely to have mental health issues than the general public which may be what was going on there, or it may have been that the man was in a busy spot, saw thousands of people go by each day and just didn't remember what your son looked like!

Edit: Just spotted the line about explaining it to him, never mind!

Firecat

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #22 on: May 22, 2011, 08:36:19 PM »
I don't typically acknowledge panhandlers, either, for all of the reasons mentioned above. In my experience, a significant number will take any interaction as a reason to continue to ask, try to make me feel guilty, get threatening, etc.

I work in the downtown area of my city and have for many years now. And for quite a long time, a stranger approaching me likely fell into one of three categories. They were most likely going to: 1) ask me for money, 2) push their particular brand of religion, or 3) try to pick me up. So I pretty much started ignoring approaches from strangers, except for maybe a headshake followed by moving away unless they move away first. I don't think it's retaliatory rudeness, I think it's self-protection.

Frankly, I think that someone approaching a woman on the street and expecting a "nice" response is at best a bit naive, and at worst has intentions I want nothing to do with, and I'm not going to take the chance if I can help it. 

Very rarely I'd get someone asking for directions, and if they started with, "Excuse me, can you tell me where X is," and I didn't get a creepy vibe, I'd try to point them in the right direction. Otherwise, I'd just say, "Sorry, no," without slowing down.


BuffaloFang

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2011, 08:58:16 AM »
Once a panhandler came up to my husband and I and asked for a dollar.  My husband said, "No, I'm sorry." and the panhandler yelled back, "You better be sorry!" and followed us three blocks down the road.  

Another time in France a panhandler came up, and since we didn't speak French well, my DH just shook his head.  The panhandler then grabbed my husband's pocket and shook it, making the change rattle.  My DH shook his head again, and the panhandler put up his fists like he wanted to fight.  Luckily DH refused to engage and the guy just walked away.  I guess DH just draws the crazies...maybe that's why he's married to me  ;D

So, no, I don't think it's rude to ignore them.  I usually still shake my head or just say "Sorry", but it's kind of reflexive for me to acknowlege people who speak to me.

ladiedeathe

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #24 on: May 31, 2011, 09:51:44 AM »
It is absolutely not rude to simply ignore the complete existance of a panhandler- it IS rude to notice when someone is behaving rudely or boorishly, and approaching stangers in public to ask for change is both rude and boorish.

I spent a long time working in the inner city; long enough to know some of the pan handlers. While some are great folks, and will immediately back off to a "no" or head shake, many many others are mentally ill, dangerous, or just determined to get the cash and willing to scare you a little to get it. Some work in teams with muggers- the panhandler gets you to open purse or wallet, or to be distracted while scooping through pockets, and the mugger grabs the purse or wallet and runs.

There is no world in which a begger I did not ask to approach me, and do not wish to speak to, gets to "demand" a polite response. He or she receives the cut direct.
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jillybean

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #25 on: May 31, 2011, 10:03:22 AM »
Frankly, I think that someone approaching a woman on the street and expecting a "nice" response is at best a bit naive, and at worst has intentions I want nothing to do with, and I'm not going to take the chance if I can help it. 

This.  I live in the big bad city, and I really wonder what people are thinking when they approach a lone woman in a parking lot and ask for money.  It just seems ludicrous to me that anyone would expect me to whip my wallet out for a stranger randomly approaching me.  I have no idea whether they honestly just want a handout or are going to try to snatch my wallet from me.
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Hollanda

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #26 on: May 31, 2011, 02:39:15 PM »
I usually say something to the effect of "I'm sorry, I have no cash at the moment" and then walk off, quickly. That way, I am acknowledging them but not giving them anything or promising anything. Simply stating a fact.

I have been at our train station and been asked for money several times by the same person. There are clear signs stating "No begging permitted" and if someone is begging overtly, they will be asked to leave by the traffic police. I am polite, but firm in saying "I'm sorry, but no." If pushed, though, I will be more abrupt, especially when in a rush to catch a train. I do not give money to beggars, ever. Just a personal thing...
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Ms_Shell

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #27 on: May 31, 2011, 02:52:14 PM »
My vote is not rude.  It's not a social interaction - the request for money turns it into a business transaction, IMO.  I also ignore people trying to sell timeshares and persistent kiosk owners. 
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Hollanda

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #28 on: May 31, 2011, 02:57:48 PM »
My vote is not rude.  It's not a social interaction - the request for money turns it into a business transaction, IMO.  I also ignore people trying to sell timeshares and persistent kiosk owners. 

After our recent holiday experience with timeshare owners, DF and I have learned our lesson. Once these people get their claws into you, they will not let you go. Ever. They will charm, wheedle, whine, whinge, beg...anything to get you to back down. Just ignoring them in the first place would have stopped us wasting an hour of our lives that we will never get back!!  ::)
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O'Dell

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #29 on: May 31, 2011, 03:03:29 PM »
Absolutely NOT rude to ignore him.  You are not bound by etiquette to acknowledge strangers that approach you, particularly begging for money.

As for the woman who commented, she should be ignored as well.  Technically she wasn't addressing you.  There would be no point in  responding to her anyway.

Your behavior was faultless.

Well said. I agree.

I think if a person does decide to acknowledge a stranger, or in this case panhandler, then they should not be rude to them. Doesn't mean that a person can't refuse to give them money or assistance, but the message needs to be conveyed politely.
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