Author Topic: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?  (Read 43627 times)

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FracturedPoet

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #75 on: April 29, 2012, 08:21:59 PM »
I constantly ignore the existence of human beings on campus as I walk by them on my way to class; I also ignore their existence during class.  I ignore their existence when I'm in Wal-Mart, too.  I am not obligated at all by anything (social or otherwise) to make eye contact with everyone and anyone around me at all times, that includes homeless people on the street as well as anyone else who just so happens to be walking by me.  It isn't rude.

And if they said something to you?

Yvaine

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #76 on: April 29, 2012, 08:54:10 PM »
I constantly ignore the existence of human beings on campus as I walk by them on my way to class; I also ignore their existence during class.  I ignore their existence when I'm in Wal-Mart, too.  I am not obligated at all by anything (social or otherwise) to make eye contact with everyone and anyone around me at all times, that includes homeless people on the street as well as anyone else who just so happens to be walking by me.  It isn't rude.

And if they said something to you?

I think you can still be polite as long as you maintain the fiction that you just don't hear them. Because it's plausible that you really don't hear them. We might be off in our own little world or deep in thought; we might be hearing impaired; we might be paying attention to something else in the environment. Or we might be ignoring a comment on purpose. I think it's rude to make eye contact and then give the person a dirty look, but I don't think it's rude to maintain a plausible "lost in thought" demeanor.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #77 on: April 29, 2012, 09:38:36 PM »
I constantly ignore the existence of human beings on campus as I walk by them on my way to class; I also ignore their existence during class.  I ignore their existence when I'm in Wal-Mart, too.  I am not obligated at all by anything (social or otherwise) to make eye contact with everyone and anyone around me at all times, that includes homeless people on the street as well as anyone else who just so happens to be walking by me.  It isn't rude.

And if they said something to you?

I think you can still be polite as long as you maintain the fiction that you just don't hear them. Because it's plausible that you really don't hear them. We might be off in our own little world or deep in thought; we might be hearing impaired; we might be paying attention to something else in the environment. Or we might be ignoring a comment on purpose. I think it's rude to make eye contact and then give the person a dirty look, but I don't think it's rude to maintain a plausible "lost in thought" demeanor.

I agree with Yvaine.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

FracturedPoet

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #78 on: April 29, 2012, 10:22:15 PM »
I constantly ignore the existence of human beings on campus as I walk by them on my way to class; I also ignore their existence during class.  I ignore their existence when I'm in Wal-Mart, too.  I am not obligated at all by anything (social or otherwise) to make eye contact with everyone and anyone around me at all times, that includes homeless people on the street as well as anyone else who just so happens to be walking by me.  It isn't rude.

And if they said something to you?

I think you can still be polite as long as you maintain the fiction that you just don't hear them. Because it's plausible that you really don't hear them. We might be off in our own little world or deep in thought; we might be hearing impaired; we might be paying attention to something else in the environment. Or we might be ignoring a comment on purpose. I think it's rude to make eye contact and then give the person a dirty look, but I don't think it's rude to maintain a plausible "lost in thought" demeanor.

Fair enough, but if everyone is pretending they can't hear you then I'm sure you'd figure out rather quickly that they just want nothing to do with you. These people have problems, but they weren't born yesterday.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #79 on: April 29, 2012, 11:18:18 PM »
I constantly ignore the existence of human beings on campus as I walk by them on my way to class; I also ignore their existence during class.  I ignore their existence when I'm in Wal-Mart, too.  I am not obligated at all by anything (social or otherwise) to make eye contact with everyone and anyone around me at all times, that includes homeless people on the street as well as anyone else who just so happens to be walking by me.  It isn't rude.

And if they said something to you?

I think you can still be polite as long as you maintain the fiction that you just don't hear them. Because it's plausible that you really don't hear them. We might be off in our own little world or deep in thought; we might be hearing impaired; we might be paying attention to something else in the environment. Or we might be ignoring a comment on purpose. I think it's rude to make eye contact and then give the person a dirty look, but I don't think it's rude to maintain a plausible "lost in thought" demeanor.

Fair enough, but if everyone is pretending they can't hear you then I'm sure you'd figure out rather quickly that they just want nothing to do with you. These people have problems, but they weren't born yesterday.

That still doesn't make ignoring them rude.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

FracturedPoet

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #80 on: April 29, 2012, 11:40:56 PM »
I constantly ignore the existence of human beings on campus as I walk by them on my way to class; I also ignore their existence during class.  I ignore their existence when I'm in Wal-Mart, too.  I am not obligated at all by anything (social or otherwise) to make eye contact with everyone and anyone around me at all times, that includes homeless people on the street as well as anyone else who just so happens to be walking by me.  It isn't rude.

And if they said something to you?

I think you can still be polite as long as you maintain the fiction that you just don't hear them. Because it's plausible that you really don't hear them. We might be off in our own little world or deep in thought; we might be hearing impaired; we might be paying attention to something else in the environment. Or we might be ignoring a comment on purpose. I think it's rude to make eye contact and then give the person a dirty look, but I don't think it's rude to maintain a plausible "lost in thought" demeanor.

Fair enough, but if everyone is pretending they can't hear you then I'm sure you'd figure out rather quickly that they just want nothing to do with you. These people have problems, but they weren't born yesterday.

That still doesn't make ignoring them rude.

They're asking you, a fellow human being, for help, and you're pretending they don't exist. You know you're ignoring them. They know you're ignoring them. It's not just rude, it's dehumanizing; they're untouchables, invisible men and women. All it would take is an eye movement and a head shake, but apparently they're not even worth that. I think it would be less rude if you ran up and cussed them out; at least you'd have implied that they have some value, if only enough to deserve your tongue lashing.

Yvaine

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #81 on: April 30, 2012, 12:00:09 AM »
One factor is that in my town, it's pretty much always the same handful of guys, most times, and most of the "regulars" have offended me over the years; I think I mentioned this upthread, but one grabbed me, one spewed a racist rant at me, etc. So it's really a cut indirect, I suppose, and it's based on actual information about the people's behavior.

A panhandler who is a complete stranger to me might get a quick "sorry" and in some cases even a donation, if they don't ping my hinky meter. The nice person who wanted leftovers for her and her dog? Sure! The guy who tried to trick me in a semantic game to get money out of me? Skeezy!

Ereine

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #82 on: April 30, 2012, 02:09:20 AM »
I constantly ignore the existence of human beings on campus as I walk by them on my way to class; I also ignore their existence during class.  I ignore their existence when I'm in Wal-Mart, too.  I am not obligated at all by anything (social or otherwise) to make eye contact with everyone and anyone around me at all times, that includes homeless people on the street as well as anyone else who just so happens to be walking by me.  It isn't rude.

And if they said something to you?

I think you can still be polite as long as you maintain the fiction that you just don't hear them. Because it's plausible that you really don't hear them. We might be off in our own little world or deep in thought; we might be hearing impaired; we might be paying attention to something else in the environment. Or we might be ignoring a comment on purpose. I think it's rude to make eye contact and then give the person a dirty look, but I don't think it's rude to maintain a plausible "lost in thought" demeanor.

Fair enough, but if everyone is pretending they can't hear you then I'm sure you'd figure out rather quickly that they just want nothing to do with you. These people have problems, but they weren't born yesterday.

That still doesn't make ignoring them rude.

They're asking you, a fellow human being, for help, and you're pretending they don't exist. You know you're ignoring them. They know you're ignoring them. It's not just rude, it's dehumanizing; they're untouchables, invisible men and women. All it would take is an eye movement and a head shake, but apparently they're not even worth that. I think it would be less rude if you ran up and cussed them out; at least you'd have implied that they have some value, if only enough to deserve your tongue lashing.

I ignore pretty much all other people, I usually don't even notice people I know. I have my own mental problems, though not so severe that they stop me from living in mainstream society but I don't deal well with strangers and am too shy to make contact most of the time. Whose mental illness wins? That said, in my town most of the homeless (though with the resources that come with a welfare state homeless problem isn't usually about people begging to keep them from starving, it's more about families not finding affordable housing and I can't do much about that, I'm barely over the poverty line myself) are old alcoholic men and frankly, they scare me (and I've been screamed at for saying I had no money when I was a student and really had no money). If they ask me directly, I will answer politely but I won't make a point of looking at them, because I don't make a point of looking at any passers by.

In recent years we've received professional beggars from another country (that's quite far away so expensive to come here). On one hand there have been rumors that they're funded by organized crime and police have said that they should just be ignored, on the other, their situation is quite awful in their own country. I still think that it can't be solved by giving the beggars money, it requires effort within the EU (but I'm not too optimistic about that).

I had once a strange panhandler experience. I was walking down the street as two men passed me, a neatly dressed middle-aged man and a younger man, maybe his son. When they were by me the older man very casually asked me for money, like it was the most natural thing in the world to ask young poor-looking students for money. I was so shocked that I just stammered no and fortunately he didn't push it. He wasn't even drunk.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #83 on: April 30, 2012, 04:24:58 AM »
I constantly ignore the existence of human beings on campus as I walk by them on my way to class; I also ignore their existence during class.  I ignore their existence when I'm in Wal-Mart, too.  I am not obligated at all by anything (social or otherwise) to make eye contact with everyone and anyone around me at all times, that includes homeless people on the street as well as anyone else who just so happens to be walking by me.  It isn't rude.

And if they said something to you?

I think you can still be polite as long as you maintain the fiction that you just don't hear them. Because it's plausible that you really don't hear them. We might be off in our own little world or deep in thought; we might be hearing impaired; we might be paying attention to something else in the environment. Or we might be ignoring a comment on purpose. I think it's rude to make eye contact and then give the person a dirty look, but I don't think it's rude to maintain a plausible "lost in thought" demeanor.

Fair enough, but if everyone is pretending they can't hear you then I'm sure you'd figure out rather quickly that they just want nothing to do with you. These people have problems, but they weren't born yesterday.

That still doesn't make ignoring them rude.

They're asking you, a fellow human being, for help, and you're pretending they don't exist. You know you're ignoring them. They know you're ignoring them. It's not just rude, it's dehumanizing; they're untouchables, invisible men and women. All it would take is an eye movement and a head shake, but apparently they're not even worth that. I think it would be less rude if you ran up and cussed them out; at least you'd have implied that they have some value, if only enough to deserve your tongue lashing.

You're making a lot of assumptions about how I view homeless people.  You have no idea what's going on in my mind and I'd like you to please stop speculating. 
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

DuBois

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #84 on: April 30, 2012, 05:33:36 AM »


I totally disagree with all of Fractured Poet's points. Nobody has an obligation to engage with a soicitor. I never talk to panhandlers, it is a bad idea to engage usually. Plus, I normall have headphones on! I do buy homeless magazines, plus there are one or two beggars I do know and will nod and smile to. Other than that, it is not rude to ignore them. To say it would be more polite to cuss them out is staggering.

Yvaine

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #85 on: April 30, 2012, 10:21:04 AM »
I'm going to add that, in my town at least, it's usually not people actually coming up to you and addressing you from close up. They stake out a spot and just shout at everybody who passes by, from about six feet away. So I'm not ignoring anyone who's so close to me that it's implausible.

The thing is, when I'm out in the general public (sidewalk, mall, etc.) and hear strangers' voices, my default assumption is that they aren't talking to me--why would they be? They don't know me from Eve. So I don't feel the need to tune in to what they're saying. Most of it is people talking to their companions, people talking on their phones, etc. So I'm sure sometimes I don't even notice a solicitation because it's blending into the background noise.

And pretty much the only strangers who do get into my bubble are people who either want something or are being jerks (as in street harassment). It's not just panhandlers. It's also pushy lotion kiosk salespeople, it's people with petitions (which I'm fine with in theory, but a lobbying group here in town was just busted for being deceptive in these practices, so I'm wary).  All of them are human beings, of course! I'm not trying to dehumanize them. But I don't feel like i need to engage strangers just because they're there. I might politely decline if they are actually near me physically, but that usually elicits a snarky comment or a dirty look, so I don't know why I bother. (Yes, I get rude comments when i decline the lotion or the petition too. It's so irritating.)

And I would probably be even more closed off if I lived in one of the areas described upthread where engaging will get you roped into endless pitches from everybody on the whole street.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #86 on: April 30, 2012, 11:49:14 AM »
Yvaine, get out of my brain! *ahem* Just saying that you articulated most of my stance pretty well. Thank you for putting into words what I couldn't.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

Xandraea

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #87 on: April 30, 2012, 12:52:45 PM »
Back to the original post,  I agree with those who have said it is not a requirement to acknowledge any stranger's demand, be it a panhandler asking for money,  a kiosk worker yelling "Ma'am, can I ask you a question?" (which is a ploy to get you to stop so they can dump lotion on you), or those annoying people doing "surveys" at the mall (No thanks, I'm here to shop/eat/powerwalk, not to do surveys.)  These people are not attempting to engage in friendly conversation, or anything else sociable. They want you for what you can give to them (money, time, etc).  Also, the woman standing nearby who loudly commented on how rude YOU were .. was rude herself, and also deserving of an ignore.

Several years ago, I was returning from a store to my car with my young child and as I was putting my things into the car, a man approached and gave me a story about his family of 7 living in a van (gestured vaguely across the large parking lot) and he just needed money .. I told him honestly that I don't carry cash and he actually asked to follow me to an ATM so that I could get some out for him!  Nevermind that I was a young woman alone with young child, and this "van full of family" was nowhere to be seen.

Another time I stopped to get gasoline and while the pump was running a guy walked up to me (kind of blocking me between the pump and my car), and asked if I wear _diamonds_. I had to have him repeat himself because I was sure I hadn't heard him right the first time. I said "No," and he said OK and wandered away. I noted he held a folded newspaper with gold-colored necklaces and things hanging out the back.  Seems maybe he had "diamonds" to attempt to sell to me? I don't know.  A fuel station employee asked me what he'd said to me and I related the story and she shook her head, saying that happens all the time here. As I got back into my car she was calling to him that he'd have to get away from the station door (where he'd taken a spot leaning on the wall), and he'd have to get off the station property (i.e. out of the lot, over by the street).

I'm sorry to say I tend to not trust beggars, because I live in a large city with numerous services to help find employment, day shelters, overnight shelters, where people can get food and shower, and maybe a bed, and even the YMCAs I think will allow someone to come shower there.  I see no reason to harass lone women in parking lots, or stand on street corners with cardboard signs.  They work in teams, several will sit a ways away, while one stands at the freeway exit with the sign, and they take turns.

It warms my heart to see the stories of those who pass the same apparently homeless persons regularly and exchange pleasantries with them (Hello; Thanks for holding the door; Warm weather we've been having!"), and I suspect those who are genuinely pleasant like that are more likely to be given spare change when people do have it, even if they haven't asked for it. 


GreenEyedHawk

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #88 on: April 30, 2012, 07:47:03 PM »
I ignore panhandlers in the same way I ignore the pushy kiosk people and the survey takers as well.  I'm not going to give a panhandler money; if I want to help homeless folks, I'll volunteer at a shelter or donate to a charity rather than being an enabler, as many panhandlers have mental issues and self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.  (Not all, but many.)  I am not interested in speaking to them any more than I'm interested in buying some weird head-scratching octopus from a pushy salesperson at a mall kiosk.  I'm not "dehumanizing" them.  I don't want to talk to them and I'm under no obligation, social or otherwise, to do so. 

I ignore the survey takers, too.  I like beans.  I don't mind George Wendt.  I wouldn't want to see a movie about beans.  I wouldn't mind seeing a movie starring George Wendt.  I don't want to see a movie about George Wendt eating beans.  And none of this is anyone's business but mine.  I'll ignore the survey takers, and if they get pushy and block my path or otherwise aggressively engage me, they get the same as a panhandler or kiosk salesperson would.  A headshake and a "No, thanks," and that's it. 
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FracturedPoet

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Re: Panhandler and...Sympathizer?
« Reply #89 on: April 30, 2012, 08:03:12 PM »
I constantly ignore the existence of human beings on campus as I walk by them on my way to class; I also ignore their existence during class.  I ignore their existence when I'm in Wal-Mart, too.  I am not obligated at all by anything (social or otherwise) to make eye contact with everyone and anyone around me at all times, that includes homeless people on the street as well as anyone else who just so happens to be walking by me.  It isn't rude.

And if they said something to you?

I think you can still be polite as long as you maintain the fiction that you just don't hear them. Because it's plausible that you really don't hear them. We might be off in our own little world or deep in thought; we might be hearing impaired; we might be paying attention to something else in the environment. Or we might be ignoring a comment on purpose. I think it's rude to make eye contact and then give the person a dirty look, but I don't think it's rude to maintain a plausible "lost in thought" demeanor.

Fair enough, but if everyone is pretending they can't hear you then I'm sure you'd figure out rather quickly that they just want nothing to do with you. These people have problems, but they weren't born yesterday.

That still doesn't make ignoring them rude.

They're asking you, a fellow human being, for help, and you're pretending they don't exist. You know you're ignoring them. They know you're ignoring them. It's not just rude, it's dehumanizing; they're untouchables, invisible men and women. All it would take is an eye movement and a head shake, but apparently they're not even worth that. I think it would be less rude if you ran up and cussed them out; at least you'd have implied that they have some value, if only enough to deserve your tongue lashing.

You're making a lot of assumptions about how I view homeless people.  You have no idea what's going on in my mind and I'd like you to please stop speculating.

You're right, I'm not a mind reader. So tell me, why don't you acknowledge them?

All it takes is a look and a head shake, is that really too much work? I'm not suggesting anyone bring them home and cook them supper. Ignoring people who have done nothing but ask you a question is rude. I do the same thing with people working at kiosks, it's really not that hard to treat them with the slightest bit of dignity by acknowledging their existence.