Author Topic: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?  (Read 43788 times)

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MacadamiaNut

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #45 on: October 04, 2011, 05:56:31 PM »
The most I will say is sorry and I try not to look them in the eye as I do not want to engage them in any type of extended conversation.  When I see them on the streets and I am in my car, I immediately lock my doors if I have forgotten to do so.  The thing is I always lock my doors because I don't want *any* stranger to be able to just open it when I'm stopped at a light and steal my purse or worse, get in the car!  Like some PPs have said, I also ignore catcalls.

Safety trumps etiquette for me in these types of scenarios.  But honestly, I'm not convinced that ignoring strangers who are invading your space or are being rude to you by asking for money or making snide remarks is actually rude.
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Midnight Kitty

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #46 on: October 06, 2011, 07:31:51 PM »
I live in the heart of Waikiki, so we get lots of homeless, some of whom are beggars, and lots of tourists.  Not a really good mix.  I regularly take the bus, so I'm forced to wait at a location where the homeless congregate.  They know me by now and the regulars don't pay me any attention because they know they are not going to get a penny from me.  I grew up in a small town, but 21 years in a big city have taught me how to erect an invisible wall.  I can walk down Kalakaua Avenue without even seeing the metal men, party bus barkers, XXX Video distributors, homeless, or pretty much anyone I don't know.  One learns to erect this wall when one lives in a big city in order to allow everyone the illusion of privacy.  Since there are so many people in such close proximity, we need to ignore each other to hang on to the few shreds of sanity we have left.

If someone tries to catch my eye or speak to me, the first thing I think is, "I wonder what s/he wants from me?" :-\
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Hushabye

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #47 on: October 09, 2011, 02:55:00 PM »
Not rude.  It's not a social interaction because the panhandler doesn't want to get to know you as a person; the panhandler is after the contents of your wallet (in a mercenary, if not criminal, way).

DuBois

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #48 on: October 10, 2011, 04:21:18 AM »


I also vote not rude. I never acknowldege beggars (people selling the British magazine The Big Issue, for the homeless, are different.)

Saki_Fiz

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #49 on: November 15, 2011, 12:15:25 AM »
Panhandlers are problematic where I used to live (I'm in a better neighbourhood now, thank goodness) and because of how many there were and how pushy or downright aggressive they could be, I never left my apartment after dark. 

My way of handling them when I saw them, though, was to offer them an alternative to what they were asking me for (always money).  Depended on their story, like if one of them said something like, "I'm really hungry, can you spare some change so I can buy food?" I'd say, "I don't have any cash, but if you'd like I can run into the store and buy you a sandwich."  Or of they said "Have you got any change for the bus?" I'd say, "I don 't have any change, but I can give you a bus ticket."  Over the years, I must have encountered dozens of panhandlers, and over all that time, only ONE ever took me up on my offer.  She was standing outside the grocery store where I used to regularly go to get lunch from the deli.  When I came out, bag in hand, she asked if I had any change to spare, as she hadn't eaten in several days.  She looked it, too.  I said, "I haven't got any change, but I can run into the store and get you something, if you'd like."  She just said anything would be fine, so I went back inside and got her a loaf of bread, a small jar of peanut butter, a packet of plastic knives and a six-pack of mini Sunny Delight, figuring it wasn't great, but it'd all last her for a little while at least, and it beats going hungry.  She wept when I gave it all to her.

She was the ONLY panhandler I've ever encountered that seemed to actually be telling the truth about what she wanted my spare change for.

I interned on Capitol Hill as a teenager.  This was the method that many of us interns adopted.  If they truly wanted food, they got it.  Otherwise, nada.  Several of them would take the food though.

Nowadays though, with my teenage sense of immortality no longer in place, I shy away from panhandlers.  I feel guilty doing it, but I figure it's better to donate money to a soup kitchen or food pantry.

Larrabee

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #50 on: November 15, 2011, 10:19:12 AM »
Panhandlers are problematic where I used to live (I'm in a better neighbourhood now, thank goodness) and because of how many there were and how pushy or downright aggressive they could be, I never left my apartment after dark. 

My way of handling them when I saw them, though, was to offer them an alternative to what they were asking me for (always money).  Depended on their story, like if one of them said something like, "I'm really hungry, can you spare some change so I can buy food?" I'd say, "I don't have any cash, but if you'd like I can run into the store and buy you a sandwich."  Or of they said "Have you got any change for the bus?" I'd say, "I don 't have any change, but I can give you a bus ticket."  Over the years, I must have encountered dozens of panhandlers, and over all that time, only ONE ever took me up on my offer.  She was standing outside the grocery store where I used to regularly go to get lunch from the deli.  When I came out, bag in hand, she asked if I had any change to spare, as she hadn't eaten in several days.  She looked it, too.  I said, "I haven't got any change, but I can run into the store and get you something, if you'd like."  She just said anything would be fine, so I went back inside and got her a loaf of bread, a small jar of peanut butter, a packet of plastic knives and a six-pack of mini Sunny Delight, figuring it wasn't great, but it'd all last her for a little while at least, and it beats going hungry.  She wept when I gave it all to her.

She was the ONLY panhandler I've ever encountered that seemed to actually be telling the truth about what she wanted my spare change for.

I interned on Capitol Hill as a teenager.  This was the method that many of us interns adopted.  If they truly wanted food, they got it.  Otherwise, nada.  Several of them would take the food though.

Nowadays though, with my teenage sense of immortality no longer in place, I shy away from panhandlers.  I feel guilty doing it, but I figure it's better to donate money to a soup kitchen or food pantry.

The thing with this is, sometimes the person wants to get enough money together for a sleeping bag in a freezing winter, or for a new pair of shoes as theirs have fallen apart, or for a cheap pay as you go phone so they have a number to give their social worker or for trying to get jobs and places to stay.

I know its not your responsibility to provide them with those things, but I hate to think that people are assuming that if homeless people prefer the money equivalent to the food or the bus ticket, then they will be spending it on drink or drugs.

alegria

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #51 on: November 22, 2011, 02:40:16 PM »
I know its not your responsibility to provide them with those things, but I hate to think that people are assuming that if homeless people prefer the money equivalent to the food or the bus ticket, then they will be spending it on drink or drugs.

People assume this because the likelihood is very, very high that it will be true.  I wouldn't give a panhandler money even if they were asking for it to buy a sleeping bag, because that is very unlikely to be why they want the money.  As far as I am concerned there is no reason to ask a stranger for money - if you have a legitimate need, then there are avenues to help fulfill that need.

Larrabee

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #52 on: November 22, 2011, 02:47:07 PM »
I know its not your responsibility to provide them with those things, but I hate to think that people are assuming that if homeless people prefer the money equivalent to the food or the bus ticket, then they will be spending it on drink or drugs.

People assume this because the likelihood is very, very high that it will be true.  I wouldn't give a panhandler money even if they were asking for it to buy a sleeping bag, because that is very unlikely to be why they want the money.  As far as I am concerned there is no reason to ask a stranger for money - if you have a legitimate need, then there are avenues to help fulfill that need.

Yet so many rough sleepers have sleeping bags!

I do give to a homeless charity regularly, and one of the biggest problems they face is the stereotyping around homelessness.  People end up in awful situations for lots of reasons, it doesn't mean they are all bad people or addicts or any other generalisation. 


WillyNilly

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #53 on: November 23, 2011, 10:31:05 AM »
I live and work in NYC, which actually for such a large city has a small homeless population (we have 'em, but per capita we have less then many other cities... maybe we have better resources to get them help?  I dunno).

I have over the course of my life learned a sort of sixth sense about who to respond to and who to ignore.  I only give money to people trying to earn it, however pathetic the  result (playing music, singing, dancing, telling jokes, doing magic, etc), straight up begging or making long speeches results in nothing from me, except occasional acknowledgement.

There are a few regular homeless people I see in the course of daily goings.  Some I just immediately got a vibe from that it was ok to say "sorry" to as I passed - and I've been proven right.  One older man in a wheelchair who begs outside of Starbucks and is routinely ignored by people.  I walk by him everyday (I don't go in Starbucks its just on my path) and we now have gotten to the point of exchanging pleasantries - he says "good morning" or "stay warm" or "have a nice day" and I smile and reply in kind.  I don't stop walking or even slow, but I do acknowledge him.  And honestly?  He seems happy just that someone is smiling and seeing him.

There are others though who I just get an aggressive, negative vibe from.  Those people I just walk past with out even turning my head and certainly without responding.

And then there are some who I just sometimes find myself inadvertently giving dirty looks to.  The couple that begs all around the neighborhood but who I see go into Starbucks daily.  *I* can't afford Starbucks daily.  There are coffee carts and delis on every street here, there are more affordable options!  Or the young beggars who smoke.  Cigarettes in NYC cost over $15 a pack, again, *I* can't afford to smoke, I certainly have no intention of supporting someone else's habit and actively resent being asked to do so.

Larrabee

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #54 on: November 23, 2011, 10:39:22 AM »
So the moral of your post WN is that homeless people are just like any other section of society really, a mixed bag!

Wulfie

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #55 on: November 23, 2011, 11:01:07 AM »
I do give to a homeless charity regularly, and one of the biggest problems they face is the stereotyping around homelessness.  People end up in awful situations for lots of reasons, it doesn't mean they are all bad people or addicts or any other generalisation.

No, not all of them are, unfortunately, a huge portion of them are!

I work in low income housing. I cringe inwardly when someone who is homeless applies for my building. 9 out of 10 of them will not pass a standard background screening because of criminal history. Robbery, Rape and Assault show up constantly on their screenings along with major drug crimes (distribution and hardcore drug use are very common).  I cringe because I know they more than likely will not qualify and we can't charge them for the screening which increases our costs. They know that they have the criminal history and still check NO when it asks if they have a record and lie to my face when I ask them (as I do everyone) if there is anything that I need to know about that will show up on their background check and give examples of common rejection items.

We have one lady here in Seattle that sits next to the ferry terminal. She has a sign up asking for help getting home on the ferry. We all know this is not true as she has been there during rush hour every day for the last at least 5 years! She used to go to the community center where I used to work every day for free breakfast and lunch. They had to kick her out finally due to her constant violation of the no drug use on the premises rule. She was also caught more than once earning extra money by playing scrabble, frequently in the day care playground which is fenced off!

 

WillyNilly

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #56 on: November 23, 2011, 11:18:05 AM »
We have one lady here in Seattle that sits next to the ferry terminal. She has a sign up asking for help getting home on the ferry. We all know this is not true as she has been there during rush hour every day for the last at least 5 years!

Many moons ago I used to commute via the rail road.  One day a woman came on begging for some money.  She said she'd been mugged and just needed some cash to get home.  RR tickets are several dollars so I sympathized.  I was a poor student but I gave her some money.

Then a week or so later the same woman came on the same platform with the same story.  I saw someone about to give her money.  I asked loudly "again?  You had the very same story last week when I gave you $3 - why do you keep coming back to the city if you just keep getting mugged and unable to go home?"  The person put away their wallet, she shot me daggers and several of the older, more seasoned commuters stiffled laughter.  I commuted via that train for a few more years - I never saw that woman again.

Isometric

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #57 on: November 23, 2011, 06:23:22 PM »
I feel really conflicted about this, one the one hand, I think human nature is to want to help people who are less fortunate. So if I sense they are genuine, I will usually give them a dollar or two.

However, once I was sitting waiting for my husband and a man came up, cornered me and asked for change. I felt a little intimidated so I rummaged for a few coins. BUT he just stood there, looking down at his hand then at me, and said "have you got any more?" Luckily my husband arrived at that point and we left, and husband said he's seen the man at the pub getting wasted quite often.  Now I'm a little more careful!!

Generally though, I do shake my head and say "sorry" if I don't give them money.

artk2002

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #58 on: November 24, 2011, 05:20:46 PM »
I live and work in NYC, which actually for such a large city has a small homeless population (we have 'em, but per capita we have less then many other cities... maybe we have better resources to get them help?  I dunno).

A lot of it is weather.  Sleeping in a doorway in midwinter in Santa Monica can be uncomfortable; in NYC it can be fatal.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #59 on: November 30, 2011, 05:13:44 PM »
I live and work in NYC, which actually for such a large city has a small homeless population (we have 'em, but per capita we have less then many other cities... maybe we have better resources to get them help?  I dunno).

A lot of it is weather.  Sleeping in a doorway in midwinter in Santa Monica can be uncomfortable; in NYC it can be fatal.

True, but I recall seeing more beggars (don't know if they were homeless per say or just panhandling) in Brattleboro VT then an average NYC day, and certainly Vermont winters are more fatal then NYC...