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The beggar at the supermarket

Imdanny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
6,186
So this man comes up to me today in the supermarket parking lot and says to me, "Do you have a five? We're trying to get gas" and shows me a handful (maybe two dollars worth) of quarters.

I said, "five... (pause) dollars?"

He said, "Yes, five dollars, blah, blah."

I said, "No."

Then I said it wasn't a particularly good day for me (it wasn't) and I would help him if I could but I couldn't.

I was just being diplomatic actually. There wasn't any chance I would have given this man five dollars. I would buy (and have) a homeless man who was hungry a meal at McDonald's, but to just walk up to someone and ask for five dollars?

Maybe I should have given him twenty. Maybe I should have filled his tank for him.

My goodness. I have to put gas in my own car. And I don't understand why he didn't ask five people for a dollar each- it seems like that would be a better way to go about it.

I don't mean to sound, well, mean, or anything, but I thought that was really brazen. I think part of my reaction was due to the fact that I found this particular man to be mildly threatening, or maybe that's overstating the case, but he didn't seem like, you know, a nice person in trouble. :???:

Ok, thanks for letting me rant. I hope I'm not coming off as Scrooge or something, but it really surprised me.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
Imdanny|1312345668|2982846 said:
He said, "Yes, five dollars, blah, blah."
Did he actually say "blah, blah" or were you paraphrasing? If he said that, I wouldn't think twice about ignoring him! I can see that you can feel like you're being scrooge, but some days you just need to care for yourself. You're allowed. And he should be a bit more considerate in his request...$5 is a lot to ask for.
 

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 7, 2004
Messages
4,674
There are people who hover around gas stations asking for money because they need gas to get home... it's a trick. I've seen the same lady show up 3 times at my gas station. She'll pull up and ask if we can spare some money for gas. after people tell her no, she drives off in her car.

I did buy this one man $20 of gas once. He looked really distressed so I asked the manager inside if he's ever seen him before and the manager said no, that he pushed his car in and has been there for over an hour. His car was smoking and he was all covered in sweat trying to get it to work. He didn't ask me for money, only if i'd be willing to buy him a gallon of gas so he can hopefully get his car to a mechanic. So i asked the manager to put $20 in the car. I didn't stay around but really hoped he was able to get his car fixed. :(sad
 

Imdanny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
6,186
centralsquare|1312345925|2982849 said:
Imdanny|1312345668|2982846 said:
He said, "Yes, five dollars, blah, blah."
Did he actually say "blah, blah" or were you paraphrasing? If he said that, I wouldn't think twice about ignoring him! I can see that you can feel like you're being scrooge, but some days you just need to care for yourself. You're allowed. And he should be a bit more considerate in his request...$5 is a lot to ask for.
I'm sorry I wasn't more clear. No, he didn't actually say "blah, blah." He launched into some tirade about his mother... I don't know, something about how he had to ask his mother for money.

"...some days you just need to care for yourself. You're allowed."

Thank you. I appreciate you saying that. That's really how I felt today.
 

Imdanny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
6,186
ForteKitty|1312346583|2982860 said:
There are people who hover around gas stations asking for money because they need gas to get home... it's a trick. I've seen the same lady show up 3 times at my gas station. She'll pull up and ask if we can spare some money for gas. after people tell her no, she drives off in her car.

I did buy this one man $20 of gas once. He looked really distressed so I asked the manager inside if he's ever seen him before and the manager said no, that he pushed his car in and has been there for over an hour. His car was smoking and he was all covered in sweat trying to get it to work. He didn't ask me for money, only if i'd be willing to buy him a gallon of gas so he can hopefully get his car to a mechanic. So i asked the manager to put $20 in the car. I didn't stay around but really hoped he was able to get his car fixed. :(sad
Yes, it did feel like a trick. I think you're right.

I didn't see his car or his friends he mentioned. The whole thing just felt off to me.

Your story reminds me of one time I was 30 cents short at a convenience store and the clerk and I were counting my change. I thought I had to put something back, and all of a sudden the clerk told me this lady gave her the 30 cents. I never even saw the lady who did this! Very nice.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
Honestly, I sometimes feel more willing to give money to someone with a sign like "spare some change for some beer" than to people that I think might be scamming me.
 

Karl_K

Super_Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
10,425
A friend of mines x-wife who is now a drug addict brags about making $300 in a day using this scam.
She was arrested for child abuse recently for doing it in 99 degree heat with her young kid with(not my friends, thankfully they had no kids).

I have bought gas before for people who were truly in need but most of the time it is a scam.
After a while you get a feel for it and if it don't feel right then don't.
I also if someone is short at the register I will cover it up to a buck or so if they aren't buying all junk food.
 

platinumrock

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2005
Messages
2,238
If he's healthy enough to come up to you and say, "Do you have 5 dollars?", then he should be healthy enough to say, "Are you hiring?"

I understand that the economy is bad, but people shouldn't give up either.

I usually say, "No I don't, sorry." And I walk away.

It's all a numbers game. For every 9 people that say no, there's bound to be one that says yes. As long as people give, they will keep asking. It seems to work for them.
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
platinumrock|1312351537|2982909 said:
If he's healthy enough to come up to you and say, "Do you have 5 dollars?", then he should be healthy enough to say, "Are you hiring?"
Well said!
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
10,293
This is a fairly common scam around here - and there are a few variations, too. I'm not adverse to helping someone who's truly in need with a handout, but having given in to this scam once or twice years ago, my scam alert now goes into high gear when someone comes up and asks for a specific (fairly large) amount like this. I figure someone who is truly in need will be willing to accept whatever change you're willing to offer, they wouldn't b asking you t pony up a specific amount. Or they might not be asking at all, even though their dilemma might be obvious. The danger with these scammers isn't just that you might be giving your hard-earned money to someone based on a lie, but that they might be waiting for you to take out your wallet or whatever for the chance to mug you.

Back when I commuted by bus I always had a few bus passes in my purse that I'd hand out in response to these hard luck stories. It didn't happen often, but once or twice the recipient actually walked over to the bus or light rail stop (presumably to wait for the bus, not to try to sell the pass!).
 

Imdanny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
6,186
I like to think of myself as a "nice" person but I can also be naive at times. I'm glad I posted this thread! I hadn't thought of it before I did, but now I have a very strong intuition that this was simply a scam. Thank you! I will certainly be more aware of scams like this in the future.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
5,384
There is a young beggar kid that is ALWAYS by this stoplight that I have to drive by to get on the hwy. His signs sometimes read "$5 bills only"

He is always filthy looking with this absent look in his eyes. I saw him go into a higher end grocery store by us.. odd... Everything in there is (yummy) but much more expensive. I am curious about his story, but the whole "Give me a $5 bill" is so rude.


As a side note, I am so exhausted I couldn't remember how to spell filthy. I wrote filfy, filfey and filfely.. :???: :???: maybe a nap... haha
 

Jennifer W

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
1,958
Danny, don't feel bad. You get to decide who you give your money to and you also get to decide that you need to keep it for your own needs as your first priority on any given day.

I support certain charities, and I don't give money to others, not because they aren't good causes, but because I have to decide how I want to manage the small amount I as one individual can give away to help others. I will help people out with spare change if I have some and it seems appropriate, but I can't help everyone, so while on one level, I feel bad that people live in poverty in wealthy countries (life choices not withstanding, because it is not my place to judge) I know I can't help everyone who might ask.

This man can ask if he likes, and you have a perfect right to tell him no, for any reason at all. Don't feel bad, you did nothing wrong! An individual example of generosity or with-holding of generosity isn't all that important, in the bigger picture. I do what I'm comfortable with when I'm put on the spot, bearing in mind that there's a longer term strategy to what I support financially.
 

hawaiianorangetree

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 17, 2009
Messages
2,692
"sorry, I don't carry cash" is what I always say when people ask for money. I think it's safer than just telling them your not giving it to them. It makes me feel safer anyway :)

We have the " homeless looking" people who clean your windscreen at the lights for your change. I used to do it until I heard one of them being interviewed on the radio one day and he said that he could easily earn $400 - $500 in a day in cash, plus still claim the dole. I don't feel so bad for telling them I have no change. :tongue:
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
10,293
Jennifer W|1312372672|2983001 said:
Danny, don't feel bad. You get to decide who you give your money to and you also get to decide that you need to keep it for your own needs as your first priority on any given day.

I support certain charities, and I don't give money to others, not because they aren't good causes, but because I have to decide how I want to manage the small amount I as one individual can give away to help others. I will help people out with spare change if I have some and it seems appropriate, but I can't help everyone, so while on one level, I feel bad that people live in poverty in wealthy countries (life choices not withstanding, because it is not my place to judge) I know I can't help everyone who might ask.

This man can ask if he likes, and you have a perfect right to tell him no, for any reason at all. Don't feel bad, you did nothing wrong! An individual example of generosity or with-holding of generosity isn't all that important, in the bigger picture. I do what I'm comfortable with when I'm put on the spot, bearing in mind that there's a longer term strategy to what I support financially.
Thank you Jennifer - nicely put!
 

Laila619

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
11,611
$5 is a lot of money to just openly ask someone for. Maybe a few quarters or even a dollar, but not $5.
 

phoenixgirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 20, 2003
Messages
3,369
Sounds like a scam to me too. There's a guy who walks around downtown in a suit telling people he got stranded here after a business meeting and needs $20 for the bus. He's approached my husband with the same story months apart. I think people use stories about gas or bus fare because you're likely to give more if you think you're filling a specific, one time need for a person. I saw an episode of Intervention about Chad Gerlach, an on-again off-again professional cyclist with addiction issues, and they showed him pulling the gas station "I just need X amount" trick and then using it for drugs.
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
Its a scam and it works or people wouldn't be doing it as much as they are.I worked for a retailer at a strip mall and watched out the window as these people would come back over and over again making the rounds telling people they were stranded.The mall management stopped sending people over to the property when the business would call about it. I was getting in my car after work one evening and a teen age girl that worked the parking lot a couple times a week came out of a store carrying a bag and had the nerve (or stupidity)to ask me for bus fair because she had spent all her money the store! There have been news paper articles written in my area about how people can make a couple hundred a week end with the "money for gas" scam. Ive been hit up in for money coming out of my bank recently.
 

wildcat03

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
503
I live in the 5 blocks in between an Amtrak station and an urban area's bus depot. If I get to Starbucks and to work without being asked for money twice, it's a rare day. I used to feel uncomfortable saying no. Now that I'm a resident physician in the emergency department and frequently take care of these same patients (also providing them with food while they are in the ER) I guess I feel more comfortable saying no - since I feel like I already do my part.
 

mrscushion

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2008
Messages
3,309
Karl_K|1312348689|2982882 said:
A friend of mines x-wife who is now a drug addict brags about making $300 in a day using this scam.
Ditto. These people are often drug addicts financing their habit. In NYC, they would sometimes tell me that they needed to "borrow" the money and ask for my address (which I obviously did not give) so they could send me back the $ in the mail. Yeah, right.
 

platinumrock

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2005
Messages
2,238
Imdanny|1312391463|2983202 said:
bean|1312371581|2982990 said:
His signs sometimes read "$5 bills only"
Wow.
$5 bills?? Man, I must be in the wrong profession. :sick:
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
8,087
I give money periodically, just because ... I dunno, I'm a soft touch? I tend to give more to women, and to people who seem ... genuine: if, at the end of the day, that's all an act, well, so be it; then they deserve what they can get for being really good actors.

That said, there's a woman who's been huddling in the vicinity of Lex and the low 60s since I was in college a decade ago (I can only assume it's a good spot with rich pickings from tourists who don't walk the route every day), and I once gave a woman outside a gas station in California 20 bucks for her sick kid's emergency appointment only to see her running the exact same thing on another lady a week later. I guess at the end of the day, I'd rather take the chance on being scammed than feel like I might have let somebody slip through the cracks.

That said, if I ever feel like I'm being intimidated or harassed or extorted? Hell, no. Danny, you have nothing to feel guilty about.
 

Lanie

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
1,793
I see beggars all of the time here. I've had a couple come up to me at the gas station while I'm filling up, and they'll ask for money. You say no, that you don't carry cash. And then they'll say "well can you buy me something inside" and I feel bad, but at the same time, they shouldn't be coming up to a woman like that, when it's dusk. It's scary, and I just don't like it. Obviously I have money bc I'm filling up my car, and they can sit there and talk and talk bc you aren't going anywhere as you wait to fill up your car.

I have noticed them asking for more specific amounts recently. One of my friends carries a bunch of granola bars in his car, and if he's at a light with a beggar, he'll give them one. He said most are happy and eat it right there, but others take it and then want money.

There's a man who begs at a corner by where I live around dinner time, and he looks to be about 60ish, and he always has on a nice collared shirt, khaki slacks, and a belt. His sign says that he was laid off and needs money for food. It's so sad. My heart breaks any time I see him. I didn't see him for awhile, but he's back, and his hair is clearly longer, but he is still dressed very nice. :(sad

Don't feel bad about saying no to this guy. Do you not have a lot of beggars where you live?
 

swingirl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,660
Thanks for NOT giving him $5 or 50 cents. When people do, it just encourages them to keep begging at that location because they are so successful. Most of the time we can tell a habitual beggar/scammer from a person who finds themselves in a difficult situation and needs help.
 

Lanie

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 20, 2008
Messages
1,793
swingirl|1312409712|2983468 said:
Thanks for NOT giving him $5 or 50 cents. When people do, it just encourages them to keep begging at that location because they are so successful. Most of the time we can tell a habitual beggar/scammer from a person who finds themselves in a difficult situation and needs help.
I don't know if I could tell. I'm inclined to think they are all scammers. Maybe I'm just pessimistic. I've never been in a bad situation I guess. I always fill up my tank before it gets to 0. I have a cell phone on me, so if I happened to leave my wallet, I could call any number of friends to come give me money. I guess if my car was stalled out, I'd call someone, again, using my own cell phone. I suppose I could have no cell phone, no cash...I don't know.

Would you guys let a stranger use your cell phone to call someone?
 

y2kitty

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 30, 2009
Messages
1,770
I must be a b*tch. I turn people down all the time and don't have a second thought about it. In fact, if I see what looks like a homeless person walk up to me and try to speak I shut them down with "I'm not talking to you". They don't continue to speak after that usually. If you feel guilty, I can recommend a few specific episodes of "Intervention" where they document people begging to get money for drugs/alcohol.
 
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