Monday, February 4, 2008

A quick interjection about beggers...

I am basing this assertion on what I have observed in Portland and mostly intend this for my local readers, but it is probably relevant in more places than this.

It is with much dismay, that I have noted a horrible discrepancy between the "take" that different groups of panhandlers take in. To whit, there are a few different groups out there.

My favorites, are the ones with something to offer in return. One group is a number of folks in substance abuse recovery. They are forbidden by their supporting organization, to beg. So they are provided with boxes of candybars to sell in return for donations. Another major group that does this, is one that sell copies of a homeless issues newspaper. Finally, you have the entertainers. The problem that I have, is that these are the least funded of all the beggars. Which is sad really, as they have gone out of their way to actually provide something in return for your change.

Then there are the disabled, whether physically or mentally. They get the midrange of funding. I have no problem with these folks, indeed, I try to take one or two a week, out to lunch. (actually, I try to do that for some member of this group or the last) I wish I could do this more often, but I am not exactly rolling in the dough. The thing is, that I discovered it is really a lot of fun. Especially with some of the more colorful members of the mentally ill.

So now we get to the last and most highly funded; the lazy. The lazy are not mentally ill, not physically disabled. Now I am the first to accept that crap happens. I am all about a safety net to help a brother out, as it were. But many that fall into this category are there by choice. The thing is that they are far more mobile, than the others. They find creative ways to convince others to give them their hard earned money, all the while never even considering actually going to work. Yet they get far more money out of people than the other two groups.

So if you see someone who has something to offer for the change they are asking for, please give it to them. If it's the homeless paper, take it and read it. If it's a candy bar or somesuch, either give far more than it's worth, or politely decline to take any. Encourage the folks who are trying to do something. They, along with those less able, actually deserve the help.

Now back to our regularly scheduled blogging. Ominous as it is, private security contractors wins out. With one vote in comments and two by email, all for that one, there we go. It was rather atop my list too, so sorry Donna, I will get to the abolition of marriage ASAP. (I also am shortening the list of posts on the front page, in hopes of getting it to load faster)


Beth said...

I am currently reading Atlas Shrugged, how are the beggars you mention who give no value in return for people's generosity any different from what Rand calls the looters who find it noble to be like Robin Hood?

Mel said...

I'm new to your blog today... thought I should add a quick comment!

Here in Toronto there is a group that sells 100 newspapers for $35 to homeless and unemployed people. They in turn sell them on the street for $1+ each. I ALWAYS buy one, even if I already have the same issue. I figure that if they have the where-with-all to consistantly save about 35% of their take to buy the next round of papers, that puts them miles ahead of the people who take my entire $1 and use it for booze. My new policy is that I will only give money to people on the street offering something in return. The rest of my donation goes to registered charities for support programs.

Thanks for the post!