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Captain Clark Terrell July 19 2013 03:35 AM

What to Do About Panhandlers?
Panhandling seems like it's more out of control than ever, even though a number of states are implementing laws to better regulate it. I live in the Midwest, and seemingly every time I stop for gas these days, someone approaches me and asks for money. It's gotten to the point that I don't even make eye contact with people when I'm at the gas station unless I need to speak with the station attendant or cashier for some reason.

How often do the rest of you run into this sort of thing? What do you do about it? I generally ignore panhandlers or politely decline when asked for money. I realize that some of the people in question may be telling the truth and genuinely need help, but there are also dishonest people out there willing to do whatever it takes to scam another person. It's too bad because my first impulse is always to help another person who's in need, but I've become much more world weary as I've gotten older.


Miss Chicken July 19 2013 03:40 AM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?
I have only rarely been approached by someone asking for money. The last time it happened was some years ago when I was approached by a woman with a baby asking for money for food. I told her she was entitled to the same government benefit as I was on.

scotpens July 19 2013 03:52 AM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?
Generally I just ignore panhandlers. Or else I give them a shrug and a look that says, "You know, fella, I'd really like to help you out, but if I started giving money to every beggar on the street, it wouldn't be long before I'd be one of them."

Ancient Mariner July 19 2013 04:02 AM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?

Sran wrote: (Post 8398819)
someone approaches me and asks for money ... How often do the rest of you run into this sort of thing? What do you do about it?

Every damn time I enter the subway in NYC. I ignore each and every one of them.

Now, performers on the platforms, whose performances catch my attention (and genuinely brighten my day), I'll gladly donate money ... from some change up to a few dollars. This happens roughly half of the time.

marksound July 19 2013 04:03 AM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?
I have what is probably a unique perspective, and I won't go into a lot of detail.

There was a time in my life when I was out of work in a strange city, with no contacts, no car, and without a place to live. After finding shelter, I found a temp agency that provided day labor to businesses in town. I worked my butt off every day at whatever I was assigned to do, and eventually was asked to come to work for one company full time. It was a barely livable wage, but I continued to work every day as hard as I could and advanced quickly to being a lead person.

My point is this: Most people who stand on street corners with a sign, or approach strangers asking for money, are perfectly capable of doing what I did. If they're fit enough to stand with a sign all day, they're probably fit enough to find a temp agency and do an honest day's work.

I turned my situation around many years ago, and don't have to worry as much as I did then. But where I work now, I see people every day who could beg for money and probably get it--if they wanted to. But they don't. They work, and they usually have a smile on their faces.

I don't have much sympathy for the sign holders. I could have done that, but I chose to do the right thing and work my way out of my situation.

Sorry for rambling on, but if you're approached by someone asking for money, offer to buy them a meal, or some groceries to take home. Maybe bus fare. You'll find out pretty quick what their intentions are.

teacake July 19 2013 04:35 AM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?
The last three panhandlers I gave to I regretted. People told me they were well known and had been working that corner/street for years. I just get a little soppy sometimes but you know there are charities for that.

I do give to buskers all the time. We have a ton of buskers here and an increasing amount of panhandlers.

marksound July 19 2013 04:55 AM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?

teacake wrote: (Post 8399017)
I do give to buskers all the time.

Completely different thing. Those people are working (don't let anyone tell you that playing music for a living isn't work), and deserve what you gave them.

Kestra July 19 2013 06:27 AM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?
I'll usually just tell them no in a polite way. I don't like ignoring people unless I feel like my safety is being threatened by engaging with them. And sometimes they don't just want money, but any help. The day we settled the divorce case, a man approached me as I was walking back from the courthouse. I figured he probably wanted money but we ended up talking and while he was homeless, he was happy just being directed to resources. I walked him over to a drop-in center and he seemed grateful.

I should add that I don't feel as guilty saying no if I am spending time or money on organizations dedicated to helping people out. It seems like a "safer" way of helping people.

Third Nacelle July 19 2013 06:29 AM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?
Most of the time I try hard to ignore them. I'm not rich myself.

When I have some extra ones in my pocket I'll hand them over, and I'll hope it helps them find whatever they need to comfort themselves through the next few hours or days.

Melakon July 19 2013 07:30 AM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?
I live in a low-income area and walk up to the store several days a week (no car), and there are always people trying to beg money just walking up the 3 blocks to the corner. Some of them I've seen for the last 7 years, every day. Once in a while someone will show up with a good sob story and I might give them a dollar, but no more. But most of them just want to buy a can of beer at the store. Or drugs.

Disclosure: I'm classified permanently disabled, and receive federal disability benefits and Medicare. I pay all my expenses from one monthly check. I don't get food stamps or rent subsidies or anything else. I can't drive and walk with a cane. I don't keep my wallet in my back pocket. Due to the neighborhood, I deliberately dress like a bum to try and discourage panhandlers. It doesn't always work. They usually try to bum me for cash when I have my cane in one hand and three or four grocery bags in the other. I don't stop for anybody when I have both hands full.

Retu July 19 2013 12:26 PM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?
The streets of Helsinki are full of Romanian beggars during summer time. Funnily enough, you don't see them outside during winter, or anywhere else. I tend to ignore them usually.

Only time someone has actually approached me was couple of years ago outside a gas station. They wanted cash or for me to pay for their fuel. In exchange they offered a pair of crappy binoculars "with night vision". I told them that the fuel pump accepts credit and debit cards too, but they didn't seem to have any of those. Apparently they had driven across the Europe to Finland without any credit cards or cash. :D

Deckerd July 19 2013 12:33 PM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?
Not knowing what panhandlers are, I misread that title as What to do about Panhandles? Which means something diff altogether.

teacake July 19 2013 12:34 PM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?
That bit of Texas needs to be exterminated.

Deckerd July 19 2013 12:35 PM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?
No idea what that is either.

teacake July 19 2013 01:27 PM

Re: What to Do About Panhandlers?
It's the PANHANDLE!!!!

/smacks deckerd

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