Friday, August 11, 2006

*Looking for Hand-Outs

this is an audio post - click to play

This is what I Gotta Know....
Have you ever been somewhere…anywhere…and had someone ask you for some “spare change”? Have you ever given someone some “spare change” out of the kindness of your heart, and had them actually have the nerve to give you an attitude because of the amount that you gave them? Well, I have, on numerous occasions, and that’s what’s prompted this article.

Let me get straight to it. The last time that I encountered a rude pan handler was about 6-8 months ago. I was out enjoying lunch with my coworkers. After filling my belly, and ripping myself out of my seat to go back to my car to drag myself back to work, this gentleman approached me. I won’t be rude enough to go as far as calling him a “bum”, but you know where this is headed.

He came toward me, a little dirty and somewhat ‘ran-over’ looking, with a piece of paper in his hand. As he got closer, he started to recite his little rehearsed script (I knew it was rehearsed because it sounded a little too smooth and routine, plus I’ve encountered pan handlers with similar scripts). He started telling me how he was out of gas, and that he had a job that he was trying to get to. He started to show me the paper which supposedly had directions and a phone number to the job site on it, to try to prove that it was real. Before he could continue giving me the story, I stopped him by reaching for some change that I had in my pocket. I had a few loose coins and some dollars in my pocket (now…spare change and loose dollars are not the same). I pulled roughly .56cents or so out of my pocket, and gave it to him. Do you believe he had the nerve to look at the change that I gave him, look at me and say “man….what’s this?” as if I was supposed to give him some more money cause he was “really” on his way to a job. I thought “bums” and pan handlers were supposed to humble and appreciative for whatever you gave them. Since when do “bums” get attitudes over how much money you’re GIVING them?

I thought of this story that my parents told me once. My mom and dad were out and about enjoying a typical beautiful California day when, just like all of us, they encountered a “bum”. He sang the same song as the rest, asking “do you have any spare change for some food?” Noticing that he smelled like alcohol, my dad immediately said “if you’re hungry, we’ll gladly buy something to eat, but we’re not giving you any money”. He graciously accepted (or at least pretended to), and they proceeded to go into the nearest fast food restaurant. My dad told him to order anything he wanted off the menu. He ordered a hamburger, and before they made it out of the restaurant, he took one bite and said “this hamburger tastes like $&%#”! It was obvious that he didn’t want food. He was just reciting his script for some alcohol money.

I don’t know what may have driven some of the pan handlers that we see on a day to day basis into their new jobs of choice, but what gives them the right to demand or expect money from us? Do they think that we actually have extra or “spare” money to give them because we have jobs, and they don’t? I’ve seen seemingly able-body men and women standing on the corners for hours begging for hand-outs. I see it like this…if you have the time to stand on the corner ALL DAY LONG begging for change, you have the time to get a normal 9-5, or even a 9-1 just like the rest of us. Just because they think we have “good jobs” doesn’t mean we’re obligated to give them money.

My cousin told me of an incident (I’ve experienced this too) where he was at a gas station filling up his car when a lady pan handler walked up to him and asked him for some “spare change”. He reached into his pocket and gave the lady a handful of coins (except the quarters…those are for laundry ;-), and she looked at him, looked at his car, and looked in his ash tray where he had more coins and said “come on man…that’s all? You got a nice car, and a ashtray full of coins. Let me get those”. What does HIS car, and HIS money have to do with anybody but him? What’s up with these bold people? What happened to the old days when they were happy to get a coin or two? What happened to the days when there were more workers than “bums”? Now it seems like there are more pan handlers than there are employees of the world. I Gotta Know!

Tell me, what are your thoughts? I know that there are lots of you who have experienced similar situations that you’d love to share, which I’d love to read about. Please post your comments and experiences, for this topic should be one that hits home with all of us. And with that being said…as always…WHO HAS AN ANSWER FOR THE QUESTION MAN?

This article was inspired by J.Roberson (V.A.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Question Man who haven't experienced the rudeness, unappreciative ungrateful behavior of a pan handler. It is too the point now that they are not even worthy of my change, especially a male pan handler. What do it look like with me being a woman giving a man some money when I am the bread winner and head of my house and have a family depending on me. I have seen so many scams that the sincere, down on there luck pan handlers have to suffer with the ungrateful ones who are to self absorb to appreciate your act of kindness, or the scammers. They are using kids in on their scams now. One incident I recall I pulled into a seven-eleven parking lot and a lady and her kids was dressed grungie looking and a little dirty. She stood off to the side and sent the kids begging for money as customers went and came out of the store. I felt sorry for them meaning the kids because I figured they are probrably hungry so I give a dollar and I saw other people giving change or whatever they had. I'm hooked on bannana cakes so I am back at seven-eleven the next day same time because I am getting off of work. The same lady and 2 kids are there again giving the same speech and I see them handing her money again by this time the clerk comes out of the store and tell them they have to get from in front of the door and they all get in a car and leave. Since when did pan handlers own cars, if she can drive up to the store to hang out and beg all day she can drive to fill out an application and what is she teaching her kids? Why do pan handlers I am going to have to call them (bums) now because the more I type the angrier I am becoming. But why do bums think we are suppose to give them money everyday, I don't even give my kids money everyday, they can atleast pick a diffrent spot to beg at so they won't be seeing the same pedestrians everyday. Okay I am finished venting:)

5:22 PM  
Blogger A.Roberson said...

This is exactly the response I was looking for. I'm glad you have something to say about how bold the beggars are becoming, or better yet, have become. My cousin, the one that inspired this article, also told about this bum who hangs out at the local 76 gas station near my house. Every time my cousin goes to the gas station, that same bum seems to be getting more and more comfortable there every day. The last time he went to get gas, he saw the bum laying out on the ground chillin' like he was getting a tan or something :) What's up with that? If you have time to chill at the gas station, tanning and stuff, you DEFINITELY have time to get your lazy butt up and GET A JOB!!!

Thank you for your comment,and experience.


1:38 AM  
Blogger Hollywood Sef said...

In my short time on this earth, I've had men, women, children, men with their family and women with their children approach me for a handout. In my younger years, I would oblige them if I deemed them a worthy cause. As I grew older, I came to realize that by giving them cash directly only enables them to continue to do what ever it is that's holding them back. You can help someone who has fallen on hard times buy (1) donating to a charitable cause (2) directing them to a shelter or to an organization that may support their needs. There are some people out there who could truly benefit from assistance and there are those who want to abuse your kindness. Educate yourself on the best way to make a difference and stop looking for the quick fix fofr the moment.

6:44 AM  
Blogger A.Roberson said...

The thing that bothers me the most is when I see someone is in great physical shape, who has just given up. I've had fully capable teenagers approach me for spare change rather than get a job. When you tell them no, they actually look at you funny, especially if you're walking out of a convenience store with change in your hands, as if you're supposed to give your "loose" money to them. I think not,especially if you're physically fit enough to get your own job.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Eric Foster said...

You know, I understand and have experienced the same as well. I agree that there is a problem with panhandlers all over. In most cases, it is either their laziness or desire to support a habit that has them begging the rest of us for our hard-earned money. I have gotten to a point where I don't give money to anyone, simply because most of the ones begging for money are the con artists or lazy people who don't want to work and they make it hard to discern between themselves and the people who legitimately need assistance. I understand people fall on hard times sometimes, but that's why cities have shelters, soup kitchens, and government-funded programs to aid people. Granted, those aren't always sufficient, especially when there are so many millions of homeless people living on the streets; however, it is not the responsibility of the working class to give money to people on the streets. If we want to help, we can easily donate to Goodwill or other charitable organizations, or work with the government to establish better programs to end homelessness. When it comes to hitting me up for some money at a gas station or when I walk out of a store, forget it because I know it's just a game and everyone has a sob story.

9:24 AM  
Blogger A.Roberson said...

That is so true. I work hard for my money, and I am not a selfish person...AT ALL, but I'm not going to wake up early every morning to go to work, to help support someone when it already hard enough to support myself. The last time I gave a stranger some money was roughly 5-6 months ago, and the only reason why I did it was because he was in a trash dumpster looking for food. Actually, he didn't even look toward me, or ask me for anything. It was obvious to me that he was down on his luck, so I decided to help.

Thank you for your comment and support.


10:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all I'd like to say that I'm very blessed to have a roof over my head, food/water, and a decent 9-5. I never take those things for granted because I know that there are others that are less fortunate.
At one point or another It didn't bother me to give a dollar or some spare change to a panhandler..BUT
On Cinco De Mayo a friend and I went to El Torito (for drinks and festivities) in the parking lot on the way to our cars we were approached by a panhandler. He said he worked at Boeing for 27 years and was recently laid off. I asked him which Boeing location he work at? And he said Huntington Beach (which is a legitimate location) I asked him what was his job title? (and he answered) he said that all of his severence pay was gone, and that both him and his wife didn't have any money. He said that it was very embarrassing for him to have to ask us for money. This man even had a freaking tear in his eyes ladies and gentlemen. So of course naturally we went into our purse's and gave this man $10.00 each ok..
The next week I went to Denny's (which is right next door to El Torito) I saw the same man, in the same parking lot telling the same damn story.

12:15 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home