Monday, June 25, 2012

I realized that I was going to blog about the same thing I did years ago, then I decided I would revisit anyhow.

Panhandling.  It drives me crazy.  Everyday my way to work (at least on the edge of downtown) is the predictable corners occupied by the "out of work," "need money for food," . . . signs.  I've had people come INTO work to ask for money.  At least one came with a shovel in hand (in the winter.)  I thought that was a nice touch.  We've been panhandled (probably 5 years ago) INSIDE of Lowe's in a fairly affluent area.  Hubs has been panhandled at the gas station about a mile and a half away.  I go to that gas station on a regular basis and have never had a problem. 

On Sunday, I went shopping about 30 minutes south of us while K- was at a birthday party.  I was going to enter the expressway and noticed a gas station sign that said gas for $3.29.  That's a BARGAIN!  (Sure.)  I decided to get my tank filled 1/4 to the fill line, got done with my gas station business, was going to enter my vehicle when I hear, "Ma'am?"  I realized that it was the gentleman in the next car.  Being an idiot, I thought he needed directions.  "Yes."  "Do you have a dollar to spare for some gas?"  Now, gas is $3.29/gallon.  I know darned well that dollar won't buy much gas and I know that dollar wasn't for gas.  "Nope."  I entered my car.  Was frustrated, but locked the doors.  My window was down (power) and moon roof was open.  It wasn't an easy exit and Hubs asked me if I had told the people inside.  "As a female by myself, I was just trying to get out of there."  He understood. 

Still, I ask the almighty question.  What makes people decide to ask others to finance their lives?  I made my once a year trip to the Wish Upon a Hero website to see what the internet panhandling is looking like these days.  That website seriously makes me angry.  I'm sure that there are legitimate needs on there, but today I found someone asking for new candy, someone wants their family vacation financed, a girl is asking for her medical school to be financed to the tune of $25,000. but that isn't going to cover it all, she says, pool toys and sunscreen, money to take a son out to dinner and "this place looks really nice and I think I might want to take him there," the Walmart wish lists, the guy who went on and said that it was his third request since "apparently his first two requests asked for too much money."  Someone wants to get married, made a big who-ha about how different ex's had taken all that she and the fiance had, yet had a Walmart wish list for jammies and clothes for her and a mattress for over $800. 

What makes people thinK, "You know, I think that I might leave it up to the rest of the hard working folks to finance my needs." 

Don't get me wrong, there are people with true and genuine need.  Unfortunately, they are being punished by the people who decide that they just want something without putting the work into it. 

Last summer, we got a call from the local homeless shelter.  We had volunteered there for some time and they truly have a special place in our hearts.  They phoned asking for donations.  They said that it was the first time that they ever had to do that and it was at that time that we put them permanently into our budget and have an amount automatically withdrawn every month to be certain that we don't forget.  My point to saying this is this-- we know that the homeless of the area know that this is a safe place to receive a service (chapel attendance is required), a hot meal, a clean bed and showers, clothing, shoes, opportunity for employment training and a cooling center when it is otherwise too hot.  I would rather give our monies to an organization that supports many than to someone on a street corner who is most likely working for a guy who comes along to collect the corner funds from them each day.  (Not kidding about that one, either.)  The guys on the corner?  They've all been offered several different jobs.  They've all declined.  Why should they?  Some have new cars, big TV's and whatnot.  They have things we don't, so apparently panhandling is working for them.  Rrrr.

What's your latest panhandling experience?  It seems to be getting worse by the day and is now basically an untaxed business in these parts.  Are you finding the same where you live?

Smiles in my day:
-  My people were able to take the boat AND! trailer out to a new fishing spot they found.  No more fishing at the park where the trailer was stolen off my truck.  Some rather unsavory happenings are occurring there and we don't care to be witness, particularly our daughter.  Hubs was concerned that he wouldn't be able to experience the same type of wildlife, and today he reported that there was an eagle flying around.  Those are still a rare sight around here, so we rather treasure every wild sighting we have. 
-  There are a few bears making homes in nearby counties.  Why is that a smile to me?  Bears are protected in Ohio and they can't be shot.  They are moving in from Pennsylvania (encroachment, y'all) and I hope that they find safe homes here.  I would love to think that we can all live together in harmony.
-  I don't know if Peter and Dash (the resident bunnies) put out an all call to the bunny neighborhood, but we have a few more visiting our backyard.  Dash, the baby with the dash of white on the forehead, will hang all lounged out and watch us toil in the gardens.  They all know we mean them no harm and are quite content to coexist with us. 

Have a great day!

1 comment:

ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

We don't really have to deal with that here.
But I used to work in East Cleveland and we dealt with it all the time there. People would come in and say "My kids are in the car and they are starving and I need money to feed them". You knew it was for drugs but part of you felt like "What if they are telling the truth and the kids really are starving"???? It was hard not to give them the money.
Once there was a guy standing in a plaza holding a sign that said "Needs money for food". I was getting my lunch at Subway so I figured that I'd buy him a sandwich too this way if he really was hungry I at least got him something to eat (yea, Subway is debatable as food but it was better than nothing...). I know that people are hurting right now. The economy is terrible and we are all struggling to make ends meet. But my experience is that most of these people are looking for drug money and I don't want to help someone kill themselves.
I haven't been to that website you mentioned but I remember several years ago that a woman asked for money on a website like that because she wanted to be like those women in Sex in the City (a show I never watched) and buy designer shoes but couldn't afford them. People donated all kinds of money so she could pay off the tens of thousands in shoe debt that she already had plus she was able to buy more shoes. It made me sick.
We have our charities mapped out and most of ours are automatic withdrawal too. We do what we can. We give to the church. We sponsor a child. I wish I could do more. But I want to do GOOD with it, not support someones "habit".