I work kind of in the hood. The neighbor works for the local phone company and they term it a "2-man area." It's fine during the day, but I wouldn't want to take a long walk in the dark there.
Panhandlers stand at the lights on the expressway off-ramps with stories of whoa. Now, I know it sounds unfeeling that I state it that way, but they are a network of liars who work for some guy, panhandle money, give him a cut and cruise away making far more money than Hubs and I do together in one year with two Bachelor degrees added in for fun. (I'm truly serious about the amount that they make and the story that I give. It's a well-known fact in that area.) In the land of the homeless, those that are truly homeless know where to secure services. I state this having volunteered at a homeless shelter and having worked directly with the women (Hubs the men) that were homeless in the area at the time. These men (and occasionally women) stand out and put their hands out for money that was hard-earned by the folks, kids and occasionally parents who put their kids through the university that sits within a block of the ramps that they panhandle at. It drives me crazy that people would rather sit on a ramp giving some fake sob story about their hardships rather than take a job. I know that jobs are hard to find. I understand that, but when I had the dopey guy in that I had today, it makes me angry.
First, we had a gentleman stop in with a shovel in hand. Now, he had apparently come in the week before soliciting for money (no shovel because of no snow) and a coworker listened to him and gave him a dollar.
That's a no-no.
He came back today with the shovel. I admire that he was willing to offer services for payment. Still, we can't encourage that and believe me, he would bring friends.
So 10 minutes after he scoodled off, this dude comes in. I knew he looked familiar. "Yeah, I have the minivan out there and I just went to the gas station and they couldn't help me, but I'm almost on E, rolled in on fumes and I know that you don't know me from Adam, but . . . "
"No, I don't."
"But, do you have $10. or $15. for me to make it to Beechwood?"
"You don't, well, um . . . "
"No. I don't and we are a dry land. They don't over there, either."
He got back into his mid-1980's Astrovan that most assuredly would not have made it to the east side of Cleveland on $10.00 worth of gas if it could make it at all. Here's the bit. He's run this exact same spiel with us before.
And with our co-worker who works at a record store a handful of miles away.
The exact same story.
He was the same one panhandling customers in our parking lot.
Can anyone say, "Addiction problem?"
In a way, I feel heartless, but I know the game that he's playing. Frankly, the other guy is too, but at least he isn't quite so stupid about it. The shovel was a nice touch.