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View Poll Results: When a bum with a sad story asks me for money...
I give him some money and feel good about it 9 21.43%
I give him some money but worry he's a scammer 8 19.05%
I don't give him anything and feel good about it 15 35.71%
I don't give him anything but feel bad about it later 10 23.81%
Voters: 42. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old August 13th, 2011, 10:26 AM
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Bums

So the other day a disheveled man came up to me in a Costco parking lot and started talking to me as I'm trying to fit 48 cubic feet of groceries into the trunk of a '96 Civic. My son is already in his car seat. I was trapped like a rat in a cage.

I listened to his sad story and I tried to formulate an escape plan. He was 60ish, African American, and claimed to be a Vietnam Vet who was legally blind due to exposure to agent orange in Vietnam. He said there was a shelter down the road but couldn't get there without bus fare. I could see that there was visible discoloration to his eyes.

So, in the end, I gave him some money because I felt bad for an old blind guy in this economy but I wondered later if he was just scamming me. I do know that some drug addicts will apply drugs (like heroin) to their eyes. Isn't it silly though, to give money out of compassion and then later worry over whether you're really just enabling his destructive lifestyle?
So my question for you...

Last edited by LilMoochie : five minutes ago.
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Last edited by LilMoochie; August 13th, 2011 at 10:32 AM.
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  #2  
Old August 13th, 2011, 10:35 AM
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Re: Bums

Man, that's a tough one. I'm sure several people out there beg for money and spend it on drugs, or just dupe people and buy themselves a new television or something.
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  #3  
Old August 13th, 2011, 10:55 AM
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Re: Bums

How about an entry for I don't give him any money and I do not think about it again. The only thing that feels good about it is me not giving my money to a scam artist.

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  #4  
Old August 13th, 2011, 10:56 AM
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Re: Bums

I guess the way I look at it is that if I make the choice to give a person some money, then I've already determined in my mind that I believe I'm helping them and don't look back. There's no way to really know if you are being scammed in a situation where you can't verify the person's story, so to me it's a gut feeling that leads me to give or to not give. If you don't give, there's also that feeling afterward of "what if that person was telling the truth and really needed help?" so either way, you can feel regret. In general, I do what I can for people, so I don't feel terrible either way any time I give or don't give.

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  #5  
Old August 13th, 2011, 11:06 AM
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Re: Bums

I do what I can for people too, especially those that seem to want to do for themselves. Professional bums are literally banking on the conundrum their asking does to your ethics and morals.

I can't blame them; I mean it works.....just not with me.

BTW, money for bus fare is a scam. If the shelter is just down the road, then he can walk. Afterall, he is walking around Cost Co parking lot, isn't he? How did he get to Cost Co? Probably in a car parked on the other side of the parking lot. Not sure? Give him the exact amount needed for bus fare and watch him not go to the bus stop, but go stake out another mark.

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Last edited by R˙chean; August 13th, 2011 at 11:21 AM. Reason: My Rule: if they are asking, it is a scam
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  #6  
Old August 13th, 2011, 11:54 AM
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Re: Bums

Quote:
Originally Posted by R˙chean's edit View Post
My Rule: if they are asking, it is a scam
This is certainly a pretty reasonable viewpoint, and one I frequently share. In the city it may be 10 blocks to the shelter but here in suburbia it's 10 miles in 100+ heat. Something about this guy made him stand out from the others but he probably was scamming. Of course, in the city you can't give money to every bum you see but in my neck of suburbia it's very rare to see them.

They say that instead of giving money to bums you should donate to the local shelter. That's probably the best way to donate and know that the money is put to good use.

Last edited by LilMoochie : five minutes ago.
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  #7  
Old August 13th, 2011, 12:15 PM
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Re: Bums

Ask the bum where he was stationed in 'Nam. What his MOS was. If he can't answer, tell him he's a liar and should be ashamed.

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  #8  
Old August 13th, 2011, 12:34 PM
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Re: Bums

I almost never give money to bums, but I will buy them food, a coffee, or a bus ride. If there's a guy that smells like he hasn't taken a shower in weeks with holes in his shoes counting his change in line at McDonalds, I'll pick up his meal. If there's a guy whose clothes are twice as expensive as mine shaking a cup on the sidewalk offering sob stories while drinking out of a flask, I won't even give the time of day.
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  #9  
Old August 13th, 2011, 01:02 PM
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Re: Bums

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperflyTNT View Post
Ask the bum where he was stationed in 'Nam. What his MOS was. If he can't answer, tell him he's a liar and should be ashamed.
I didn't ask, but wouldn't know if he was telling the truth anyway. It's likely that either he is actually who he says he is, or has adapted his story to match someone he met along the way. I was kind of hamstrung in that situation, anyhow with my kid in the car and perishables in my trunk. I couldn't afford to get caught up in his convoluted sob story.

Last edited by LilMoochie : five minutes ago.
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  #10  
Old August 13th, 2011, 01:21 PM
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Re: Bums

Well met!

It's hard to generalize, but, if I actually listened to the guy, his story made enough sense that I could feel reasonably OK about helping. But my reasons for giving money are so subjective, based on appearance, general demeanor, etc., that the actual story, if there is one, is only a small part of it. Although, upon reflection, 99% of the time, the story has a detrimental effect - they'd be better off without one.



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  #11  
Old August 13th, 2011, 03:03 PM
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Re: Bums

Quote:
Originally Posted by R˙chean View Post
How about an entry for I don't give him any money and I do not think about it again. The only thing that feels good about it is me not giving my money to a scam artist.
I picked the fourth option, but the bolded portion of the above closer reflects my overall opinion. Every once in a while, you can tell that someone really needs help, but there are tons of scammers out there.

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  #12  
Old August 13th, 2011, 03:32 PM
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Re: Bums

I really believe they're all scamming me to an extent, but I'll still help them situationally, as I believe that lifestyle is the only one they really know, and frankly, I don't know how I could change it.

Just a quick story, I had just picked up a pizza at a place a block from my house, and a guy who looked homeless asked if I could give him a ride to his church (it was Superbowl Sunday night). Not really having anywhere to be, and feeling a little bad for him, and since he wasn't technically asking for anything other than a ride, I agreed.

I was also afraid if I didn't do it, he might put someone else who is less capable of protecting themselves in a situation where they felt like they'd have to do it. I'm 6'4", 275 lbs, and in my late twenties, so I figured he probably wouldn't try any funny business... but a single mom? Who knows.

Anyway, we get to the church (about 3 miles from where we started), and there's nobody there. Remember, it's Superbowl Sunday. I know in my past experiences, many churches don't hold evening services that night, because there's too much competition from the game. So he's like, "Oh, I'm sorry... can you drive me to my home about a mile down this road?"

Well, by now I'm getting frustrated, cuz I've gone about 3 miles out of my way, I wanna eat my pizza, and I know he's trying to get something out of this.

So we pass a supermarket, and he tells me he's been out of work, his wife and daughter are expecting him to bring home dinner, and he has no money. If I'd really like to be a blessing, could I take him shopping real quick? Now I'm frankly pretty mad. It's one thing to beg, but do you have to waste my time too, especially when (I can clearly tell this whole story is well-practiced) you're lying to my face?

I dropped him at the Supermarket, and he's like, I don't have any money. And I told him in that case, I'd drive him to his home just down the street, but I wasn't buying him food. He then got mad at me and said, I don't live down the street. I said I was leaving, and he said, At least give me some of your pizza. So I did, and as I was driving off he was stuffing pizza in his mouth and approaching some other person in the parking lot.

I understand that these are tough times, and that you have to do what you have to do to survive in some respect, but do you have to send me through the wringer to do it? If you ask for some money, I'll probably help you out. Just don't screw with me!

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