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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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  #13  
Old August 13th, 2011, 04:38 PM
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Re: Bums

Fortunately I've had to tell homeless people around here to "go the F away" very few times. Being a 275lb weight lifter has advantages of being scary even when I'm really a nice guy. Even if a vagrant is spending their money on food its typically crap. I was waiting for a bus yesterday and watched one guy eat raw sausage on cheez-its. I've seen another buy a bunch of gummy candy and a box of wine at Smart and Final. And of course many of them smoke cigarettes. Perhaps if they didn't spend their money on complete garbage I might think of helping. Many have psychological issues and even try to cause trouble in public places or pick fights, cussing and going nuts like they have Tourette's. I just refuse to support any of that. There are many non-profits and charitable organizations that can benefit the transient population more effectively than me giving any of my money to a single person and I can at least trust that they would be using it properly.

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  #14  
Old August 13th, 2011, 05:11 PM
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Re: Bums

Best bum moment for me:

Back in my 20's, my friend and I had gone downtown to hang out and have a few beers at a couple of the local bars. As we were walking along the sidewalk, a guy approached us. He was 6'5, 240ish pounds, African American and built like a Mack truck, wearing an Army jacket.

He was straight up with us.

He said 'Look man. I can intimidate you guys or scare the sh** out of you if I wanted, but I'm gonna be straight up with you. I want a few dollars to go to the liquor store and buy a 40. Can you guys help me out?'

We both gave him 2 dollars and went on our way. Now, that could have been, and probably was, his scamming method, but it worked and we even joked around with him a bit and I never felt scared or threatened or invaded or anything like that. I simply apprecaited the honesty of it all, because, let's face it, most of us think that's what these guys are gonna do with the money anyway.

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Last edited by rym; August 13th, 2011 at 05:12 PM. Reason: And yes, I have helped others out over the years as well.
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  #15  
Old August 13th, 2011, 05:13 PM
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Re: Bums

Certain cities require someone to get a panhandlers license by proving you are homless, on disability, or otherwise in poverty due to situation and not choice. This way when they ask for $ you can be sure they are really homless or depraved. This is not to say that they won't spend it on drugs or alcohol anyway, but I would be more likely to give $ and feel good about it if I could be sure of their situation.

On any given day, I can do any of the above. However, I would rather give $ to city missions because:
  • They make sure people are really in poverty
  • They do it because they really do care, not out of guilt - and people appreciate it more because of that
  • They don't just give people fish, they teach them how to fish by help getting them jobs and permanent housing as well as get over addictions, depression, and other things that many homeless people suffer from.
  • They do it with a mission to spread the gospel of Jesus (which I believe is a high calling) but in an non-condemning or confrontational way like some street preachers.

Support your local city mission, rescue shelter, etc. not people directly.
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  #16  
Old August 13th, 2011, 07:02 PM
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Re: Bums

I had someone approach me the other day asking for a quarter or two because she was short for bus fare. I was pumping gas and there was a bus stop within 20 yards. I had a few quarters around the other side of the car for the odd time I want to run in and grab a candy bar or a fountain drink, otherwise I almost never have cash. So I start to walk around to grab the quarters, and she was gone when I pull my head out of the car to hand them over. She was crossing the street with someone else, moving away from the bus stop. I guess she didn't think I was going to be helpful and decided to move on. I shrugged and carried on with my day.

As I said I rarely have cash on hand. I usually just say (very truthfully) that I don't have any cash. I don't feel bad for it. There isn't anything that I can do for them immediately, and I do what I can in ways I can.
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  #17  
Old August 13th, 2011, 07:52 PM
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Re: Bums

This subject is one that frustrates me to no end. It seems I cant park anywhere (walmart, target, grocery store ect) without someone asking me for money. I wouldnt mind it so much if it was just me, but when I got my 3 kids with me I really wish theyd keep their distance. The debit card excuse of I dont carry cash makes things much easier.
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  #18  
Old August 13th, 2011, 08:27 PM
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Re: Bums

I see bums all the time. I might give them a quarter if they don't look too drunk/high/etc., aren't talking like a fricking idiot, are older(a young man can fend for himself), and if I'm feeling extra generous(extremely).

But mostly I don't give them a thing and feel good about them(where I work, bums come in all the time, so I deal with them even more).

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  #19  
Old August 13th, 2011, 08:45 PM
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Re: Bums

A smart thing to do is just carry around some 5 dollar gift cards to Mc.Donalds or somewhere. Makes sure the money is used on food instead of alcohol or something worse.


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  #20  
Old August 14th, 2011, 01:30 AM
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Re: Bums

Often I find that they don't even want food. I've offered to buy food many times as I'm heading into a market or fast food place (or offer something out of my bag as I'm walking out). Only once have I been taken up on that offer.
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  #21  
Old August 14th, 2011, 03:27 AM
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Re: Bums

As a pastor I face this every day on a much larger scale; phone calls asking for help with utility shut-offs, eviction notices, medicine for children, etc. Our church partners financially and through volunteer support with a number of homeless and emergency assistance organizations, but with the economy like it is these organizations are already overrun and under-resourced. So our church does provide direct emergency assistance as our budget permits. But I do a quick but somewhat thorough background check on the person first. If everything checks out and there are no red flags we then send funds directly to the billing agency. That way I know that the money is really going for what was claimed.

And yes, I've turned away many people who were scam artists.
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  #22  
Old August 14th, 2011, 10:49 AM
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Re: Bums

Eh. None of the bums around my place ask (they kinda neutral on their situation) but I usually don't give'em stuff. But I do sometimes, so I guess it's all good. They're actually pretty nice once you get to know them.

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  #23  
Old August 14th, 2011, 03:09 PM
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Re: Bums

A friend of mine spent a summer abroad in England. He was eating at a fast food restaraunt (KFC maybe?) and a bum came up to him and asked for some food. My friend said, "uh yeah- you can have my fries" and the guy said, " I don't much care for chips, mate. Could I have some of your chicken?"

I have no patience for bums who are just as capable of working as I am.

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  #24  
Old August 14th, 2011, 05:49 PM
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Re: Bums

I picked the second option. My viewpoint is that the person could just as easily take my money by force, so I'd rather not provoke anything and just give some money.

Probably the scariest situation I faced is that a guy gave me a story about having a sick child, and asked me to drive him to give his car a jump start. He kinda pushed his way into my car, and I drove. As I drove, he started changing his story around. I became really scared and dropped him off where he indicated. He asked for money for a tow truck, and I gave him some with the hope that this would allay an attack on me. He kept pressing for my address, as he said he was going to mail me the money back. That I refused, and drove off with some relief.
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