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Old 11-07-2011, 04:21 PM   #21
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Before I was smart about this.... I got conned.... (I was in my early 20s)...

I knew not to give money to the street corner people.... and would wave off the ones who wanted to 'clean' my windshield for a dollar...

But this guy caught me offguard... I parked in a strip mall and this guy stopped me while walking to the store... had a gas can in hand and said he and his wife had run out of gas and did not have any money... I gave the guy a couple of bucks and went in the store... I saw him do it to a number of people....

Then to confirm that I had been taken... I went back the next day and he was still there... live and learn...
Same thing happened to my DH. Man walked up to him at the gas station and said his wife and baby are around the corner in the minivan that ran out of gas. I don't think he gave him anything. But the same man approached him with the same story a few weeks later. DOH!!

With so many people paying for gas with a credit card it must be tough to get any cash with that kind of story.

I wonder if these folks have an online forum where they trade hints on what works at what kind of locations.

Gas station stories
Fast food restaurant stories
Grocery store stories
Department store stories
etc....
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:22 PM   #22
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Did you see the one on welfare reform
Missed that.....but we were living on Salt Spring and a woman we knew 'befriended', (i.e. they were using her for free meals, etc), a bunch of middle class 'kids' from Ontario, (the father of one, I believe, was a doctor)........due to the shortage of employment on the island getting welfare was relatively easy, (and, if you can believe, they paid extra if you had a dog....which, of course, they all did).......the bums shared a house with cash left over, then purchased a used van for an overland trip back to Ontario..all at taxpayer's expense.
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Old 11-07-2011, 04:28 PM   #23
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Depending on the situation, I may give a buck or two. If they are really someone in need just trying to get money to eat and live another day then i'd rather give them a dollar than have them become desperate enough to start to take money instead of ask for it.
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:21 PM   #24
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In general, the US is behind other countries when it comes to panhandling and street begging. When my kids were in grade school, every so often they would be sent home with a flier alerting parents to the threat of a kidnapping ring abducting and mutilating children and then transporting them to other countries to beg. No cases were ever documented, but that did not stop the schools from closing down in full alert 2 or 3 times a year (and letting the teachers off early).

You also don't see the old folks at traffic lights walking slowly from car to car, trembling hand outstretched, asking for spare change.

In Mexico during the bad years people would perform at traffic lights, then ask for donations. Fire breathing, sword swallowing and juggling were favorites. Deadly, too, but - they were beggars.

A favorite at the fast food restaurants was a pair of adolescent siblings, one barely able to walk, looking like they were starved, going from table to table saying they could not leave until they had enough money collected or their parents, lurking outside, would beat them. I always bought them food.

Then the old scam of disabling a car during lunch at a local restaurant. Valet parked, it wouldn't start, but some enterprising individual would wander by, offer help, fix the problem immediately, and gratefully accept a tip.

And then there's the lady at the church that needs an operation, or has a niece that needs a transplant...

Here in the US you just don't see all that. Anyway, with inflation, 1$ isn't worth much anyways, so why all the fuss?
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:35 PM   #25
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Here in the US you just don't see all that.
I can't say I've ever seen a fire-breather or sword-swallower, but I've seen several jugglers and all the rest. You're just not getting out to the right neighborhoods is all.
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Anyway, with inflation 1$ isn't worth much anyways, so why all the fuss?
Because it's all just going to fuel a drug/alcohol problem. Or it's just a con. If you want to help support your local wino, bum or crackhead, go right ahead.

It's amazing how many people fall for the lady at church needs a transplant, operation, or is dying from cancer scam. The mother of one of my son's friends turned out to be such a person. She was dying of cancer, or so she claimed, and everybody at her church was cooking meals for the family, doing household chores, donating money, goods, food, etc. Then one day the whole family just moved away without any word of their plans. A few years later my wife and I were discussing that and were curious what had ever happened to them. A little Googling discovered she was on her third city and church, had been recently diagnosed with cancer and was dying, yet again.
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:36 PM   #26
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My personal policy is never to give money. I will, sometimes, ask if I can buy the person a sandwich or something. Amazingly, 9 out of 10 times I'm told that they just want the money. Which they won't get -
That's my experience, too. I have never been taken up on an offer to buy them a meal, not once.

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I parked in a strip mall and this guy stopped me while walking to the store... had a gas can in hand and said he and his wife had run out of gas and did not have any money... I gave the guy a couple of bucks and went in the store... I saw him do it to a number of people....

Then to confirm that I had been taken... I went back the next day and he was still there... live and learn...
This is the single most common scam where I live. I see someone doing this a minimum of two or three times a month.

The most interesting job I've seen lately was in September in Denver. I was walking down the 16th Street Mall in the early evening, following a guy asking for money. During the 8 or 9 blocks I followed him (maybe 15 minutes total), I watched him collect from 22 people (I was counting). All his collections were paper money, usually more than a single bill, so that's a remarkably good hourly rate of pay.
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:42 PM   #27
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I got approached at a gas station once. The guy started with "Do you speak english?". I replied with "No".
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:44 PM   #28
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And the best thing? All the "income" is tax-free ....
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:47 PM   #29
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The most interesting job I've seen lately was in September in Denver. I was walking down the 16th Street Mall in the early evening, following a guy asking for money. During the 8 or 9 blocks I followed him (maybe 15 minutes total), I watched him collect from 22 people (I was counting). All his collections were paper money, usually more than a single bill, so that's a remarkably good hourly rate of pay.
He probably saved one of the bills to roll into a tube to get the drugs up his nose.

I don't give money for three reasons: 1) it's fairly obvious in most cases that the money is for booze and/or drugs 2) the welfare system in Canada is very generous and half of the money I make already goes for social programs and 3) giving them money does not encourage them to become self-reliant. It just encourages them to keep pan-handling.

People in Canada won't starve unless it's a conscious choice. There are programs available everywhere to help the destitute.

Or they can sell the free packages of cigarettes that come with their food stamps. (that one really frosts my cookies! Why are my tax dollars paying for cigarettes!?!?!)
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Old 11-07-2011, 05:53 PM   #30
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I guess things are not that obvious to me. My impression is that many panhandlers are mentally ill, somewhat abandoned and mostly untreated. Some - perhaps many - are substance abusers, but what they really need is medical care.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:11 PM   #31
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Anyway, with inflation, 1$ isn't worth much anyways, so why all the fuss?
When I worked in the city, there were half a dozen beggars on my 10 minute walk from the train to work. Every day, there and back. My favorite was the 250lb woman that would sit on a bridge yelling "Can someone please get me something to eat please."

Some of them were overly aggressive, like the guy that would stand in the middle of the sidewalk wrapped in a blanket with his hands out, weaving back and forth into the paths of people trying to get to work.

Then there was the "injured" guy with crutches (i.e weapons) that would get into people's personal space and hurl insults if they wouldn't give money or hear his story.

The ones that go into a fast food place at lunchtime and work it table by table until some underpaid cashier gets stuck trying to chase them out were always fun.

It was great walking by the "street performer" that just randomly blew into an out of tune sax.

I was charmed by the dudes that would grab at my cab door as I got in or out, then hold out their hands like I owed them something

The guys that would hang out in the train station, just waiting for a suburbanite with leftovers were a nice touch too. Nothing closes a night out on the town better than coming out of the bathroom to see your wife being bothered by some smelly creep with nothing to lose.

Nuisances, all of them. As a young able bodied male, I felt harassed and at times intimidated. I can only imagine how others might feel.

The beggars are a big part of why I avoid the city for the most part, and the rare times I do go, I avoid public transportation. It must be unsettling to see them appear at the local supermarket, even if they are well kempt. To me, that's just a sign they are more resourceful and it is time to be extra cautious.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:14 PM   #32
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I guess things are not that obvious to me. My impression is that many panhandlers are mentally ill, somewhat abandoned and mostly untreated. Some - perhaps many - are substance abusers, but what they really need is medical care.
Personally, I think that drug and alcohol addictions are just a form of mental disease, but that's just my opinion.

No way would I try to hazard a guess what percentage of panhandlers are just drug fiends and alcoholics, and what percentage are mentally ill who are self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, or what percentage were driven to the streets by some other force and became mentally ill, or became substance abusers, or both, in response to what they experienced on the street.

You can feel sorry for the mentally ill on the streets. I do, and I spent years dealing with them - trying to help them as much as I could in a completely dysfunctional system that does not take care of them at all. You can read my opinion about it here: Help! Suicide note on Craigslist

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Society is sending a message. It doesn't want the mentally ill in institutions, and prefers them out in the population where they all live happy productive lives while their illness is controlled by medication and therapy. Except that is not what always happens. They stop taking their medications, they can't afford them, they self-medicate with booze or drugs, etc.

Now, if the person's behavior rises to the level where they are demonstrably a danger to themselves or another, then they can be involuntarily committed to a mental health care facility. If you can convince a magistrate with your articulation of the facts. And if there is space available. Then of course the hold is only for 24-hours at the most, and 90% of the time they are released back into the same environment from which they failed.

And the people who are having less serious problems, are homeless, or are in situations that are not healthy? Well, the cops all have a nice list of names and phone numbers of shelters intended to help those folks. Except, they're already full and refuse to take any newcomers, "maybe next month" is the best you get. Unless a caring family member will take the person in, the only other alternative is to arrest them for one of the offenses designed to keep Bob the Bum at bay. But you help with one hand by getting them off the street and simultaneously hurt them by putting them into the giant uncaring criminal justice system. If there was some real help available to them in jail that might make it worth it, but that is so seldom the case. So, they get told "stay off the street" and are left to do their thing until the police get called again. It follows the philosophy of, "if you can't make it better, be damn sure you don't do something that makes it worse."
Give the mentally ill guy a buck and he might buy a cheeseburger with it, or he might pool it with nineteen others and buy a rock with it. Who knows if you're helping him or just fueling his destruction.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:17 PM   #33
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We grocery shop at the same store every weekend, and there is some charitable group manning the doors every time. Went across town to another store after our regular stop, and there was a different group there. They are generally kids, bringing their mothers for muscle. I usually give them a buck. I never see beggars at our local supermarkets, but usually in downtown Chicago, or recently in the Phoenix airport. I very seldom give money to beggars.
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Old 11-07-2011, 06:52 PM   #34
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I used to give a buck or two to beggars. It was for myself to feel good more than anything else, I guess. Then, I kept reading that it was just a scam. So, I stopped doing that.

I do not watch TV anymore, but a quick search on youtube found me the following video clip. Many of the homeless people simply did not want to work, period. Why work, if they can make $50/hour tax free, by just standing there with a sign? They are no fool!

I am sure there are needy people who need help, but giving money to beggars is not the way to do it. Many charitable organizations have said the same. Your money would do more good being donated to legitimate charities.

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Old 11-07-2011, 06:55 PM   #35
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If someone needs money enough to come up to me on the street and ask for a buck or two, then I give it to them. I don't care how they came to that point in their life or what they plan to do with the money after I give it to them. I just know that they need it and I have it and can share.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:02 PM   #36
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These stories are amazing. Takes a lot of guts to panhandle but it must be worth the effort. I was glad the city of Tampa ban panhandling entirely except for Sundays. Some kind of newspaper sales exception. Then the entire county of Hillsborough banned panhandling on state and county roads except for Sundays and the newspaper sales thing came up again. I don't know all the legal mumbo-jumbo relative to newspaper sales.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:06 PM   #37
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I remember a black guy running the "I need money for gas" scam. His trick was that the first thing he'd ask is "Are you prejudiced?" It put people on the defensive, and made them eager to prove that they weren't prejudiced by giving some money.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:11 PM   #38
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These stories are amazing. Takes a lot of guts to panhandle but it must be worth the effort. I was glad the city of Tampa ban panhandling entirely except for Sundays. Some kind of newspaper sales exception. Then the entire county of Hillsborough banned panhandling on state and county roads except for Sundays and the newspaper sales thing came up again. I don't know all the legal mumbo-jumbo relative to newspaper sales.
That is so funny to me. They allow panhandling on Sundays because?
I guess Sunday is a tilthing day.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:12 PM   #39
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I remember a black guy running the "I need money for gas" scam. His trick was that the first thing he'd ask is "Are you prejudiced?" It put people on the defensive, and made them eager to prove that they weren't prejudiced by giving some money.
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Old 11-07-2011, 07:14 PM   #40
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I just hope I won't get my purse stolen with my cell phone in it and run out of gas at the same time. I don't know anybody's phone number without my cell phone, so I will be asking strangers for gas money and they would probably think I was trying to con them!
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