Author Topic: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?  (Read 1003 times)

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Offline Implode

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How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« on: September 07, 2017, 08:13:08 AM »
How do you handle strangers asking you for money?

I'm not talking about people waiting around on a street corner shaking a cup of coins. I mean those that actually approach you and ask directly with some story about needing to catch the last bus uptown or buy their kids some chicken nuggets. Do you ignore them? Give them money? Tell them to get lost? Something else?

I'm pretty torn on this. In the past I've ended up giving a few dollars a couple times because at worst, I'm losing a few to get them to leave me alone. I can't help but feel like I'm being taken advantage of, which of course is probably the case. But on the other hand, I know plenty of genuine cases of people needing a few dollars too. Do you assume the worst? Or the best?

One time a guy started getting indignant because he thought I didn't give enough. That particularly struck me, and I told him to go talk to someone else after. The "I don't have any cash on me" trick doesn't work anymore because people will ask you to follow them to an ATM. Next time should I just straight up say "No. Go away."? What do you do?

Offline El Barto

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2017, 08:22:00 AM »
"I don't carry cash anymore. Only plastic." Seems to me that debit cards have really put a hurt on panhandlers.

A few years ago I was getting gas when somebody showed up asking for gas money. Turned out to be a good friend of mine from childhood. Offered him the change in my door, $5-10 worth, and told him we'd get together to burn one at some point. Never saw him again. Probably for the best. Only true psychopath I've ever known.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2017, 08:28:47 AM »
I refuse.   I used to be very generous (and still am with some panhandlers) but the crooks and sheisters have ruined it for the rest of them.  I was going to Marillion at Toad's one night and a guy walked up, clean cut and gave the sob story about having to get gas, needing $5, so my friend gave it to him.  We're coming out of the show (great show, by the way) about four hours later, same guy comes up and gives the same story.  It was all I could do to pull my friend off him...

Never again.

And follow me to the ATM?  GTFO, not a chance.  Not on your life.   I don't say "only plastic", I say "got nothing, sorry." and pat my chest like I'm checking my suit pockets, and keep moving.

 

Online Zydar

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2017, 08:32:54 AM »
"I don't carry cash anymore. Only plastic."

Pretty much this. Which is kind of the truth, actually. I very rarely have cash on me these days.

Offline bosk1

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2017, 08:46:03 AM »
Tough call.  A lot of the time, I definitely feel like I'm being taken advantage of.  But at the same time, so what?  It's worth it for maybe that one time in 100 or whatever where I might be as sure as 100% that I'm being taken advantage of, but I'm wrong and end up unknowingly genuinely helping someone who needs it.  You just never know. 

But situationally, it just depends.  If I have the money on me, and I feel like I'm in a safe place where I can pull out my wallet without reasonable fear of dude pulling a knife or gun and taking the entire thing, I'll often give some.  But sometimes, I don't just because I'm in a hurry, or don't have a good attitude, or just whatever--sometimes, no good reason at all.  And I think that's a mistake and a character flaw of mine because, whether it's convenient or not, and whether I like to admit it or not when in the moment, the fact of the matter is that I can afford to help and can afford to be taken advantage of if it turns out that the person's motives are bad.  And if I can help someone who needs it, I feel that I should (i.e. am obligated) do so, regardless of the fact that I might be wrong and might be taken advantage of.  I believe my faith demands that of me.

But as to those times when I do not, my approach is simply to say "no, thank you.  Not right now." and move along. 
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Offline Adami

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2017, 08:52:15 AM »
I usually ask if they're hungry and go and buy them food. This is also because I don't carry much cash on me and don't have it to offer.
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Offline Implode

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2017, 09:18:28 AM »
I feel very similarly, Bosk. But I suppose it would benefit me to learn to say "no" a bit better.

Offline Chino

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2017, 09:24:52 AM »
"I don't carry cash anymore. Only plastic." Seems to me that debit cards have really put a hurt on panhandlers.

This doesn't work that great in Hartford depending on what they're looking for. The "I need a bus pass to get to ______ " is the most common one I hear. If you say you only have plastic, they point to the bus ticket machine that accepts them. I fell for this one day when I was in an extra good mood and bought some dude a bus pass for like $6. I figured it was like buying a homeless guy food rather than giving him money. The next day while walking into work, I see the guy again telling someone the same story he told me yesterday. And THEN, as I'm leaving work, I see the fucker again. Only this time he's not asking for a bus pass. He's walking through the crowds of people waiting for the buss with about a dozen passes fanned out offering to sell them at half price. Thanks to that asshole, I refuse to give anyone on the streets anything. If I'm out walking to lunch and someone asks, I'll occasionally respond with something like "If you're hungry I'm about to get food. You're welcome to sit down and have lunch on me". I've been taken up on that offer only twice. 

Most of the time I just wave and say "Sorry, can't help you" and continue on my way. Though the other day I had a guy make me feel like a real piece of shit. I saw a pretty shaggy looking guy eyeing me as I approached and he made the typical gestures a homeless storyteller usually does. He turns to me and says "Excuse me sir". I cut the guy off and just said "Nope. Sorry". He pointed to his wrist (he saw me wearing a watch) and said "all I wanted was the time".

Offline AngelBack

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2017, 09:35:29 AM »
The ex and I were in St. Croix a few years ago and we rented a jeep to explore the island.  Of course we were warned where NOT to stop but being rather naive we stopped at a local convenience store so she could get a bottled water.

I waited in the parking lot and was approached by a local asking for money.  I told him I had none and he then produced a coconut and said he wanted 2 dollars for the coconut.  i politely said "no thanks".  He then said, "please, I'm hungry, just 2 dollars". 

Then in a stroke of brilliance i told him, "if you are hungry, eat your coconut".  He walked away.  Then returned with a machete and took a chop at the nut.  He said, "l will cut it for you".

I enjoyed that 2 dollar coconut.
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Offline Grappler

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2017, 09:42:06 AM »
I completely ignore all panhandlers.  I just don't trust people that I don't know - it's the same reason that I tuck my bag under my legs when I doze off on the commuter train while going to/from work.  In the block and a half that I walk from the train station to my office, I pass by 3-5 panhandlers.  If someone approaches me with a sob story, I'll tell them that I don't have any money or ignore them as well. 

Maybe some people truly need money, but my budget is extremely tight and every spare dollar that I have will need to go to my family and kids, rather than a stranger whom I have no idea how they'd use that money.

Offline Phoenix87x

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2017, 10:12:12 AM »
I went to college in North Philly, so I dealt with this on a daily basis. I basically just ignored them or said "sorry" and kept on walking.

If I know someone and they are legit down on their luck, then I am cool helping, but as far as strangers go, its not happening.
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Offline Stadler

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2017, 10:13:27 AM »
I usually ask if they're hungry and go and buy them food. This is also because I don't carry much cash on me and don't have it to offer.

I do this.   I will drop change into cups, too.  When I lived in Philly, you kind of got used to who was for reals (the dude in the wheelchair that just whipped out his cock and started peeing one time when I was sitting at the light) and who was a pretender (the guy that showed up to his corner in a $200 Flyers jersey).

True story:  taking my kid to school, and we stop at Wawa.  She got her breakfast and I got a breakfast sandwich (the kind that are sitting in the warmer at the cash register) with my coffee.  I pull out and am at the light to make a U-turn and one guy - one of two guys who are regulars - is sitting there in his wheelchair (the other guy wheels him around, but he wasn't there at that point).  I think I'm doing something good, so I roll the window down and say "hey boss, are you hungry?  have you had breakfast yet?"  And he says, "No, not yet."  I said "here, take this; it's still warm."    He looks at it, looks at me, and says "I wouldn't eat this shit, and neither should you! It's not good for you!" and he hands it back to me.  I take it - dumbfounded - and drive off when the light changed.

My kid - maybe 8 at the time - says "Daddy, what happened?"  I said "I really don't know".    The sandwich was good, though. 

Offline El Barto

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2017, 10:27:14 AM »
He looks at it, looks at me, and says "I wouldn't eat this shit, and neither should you! It's not good for you!" and he hands it back to me.
:lol I'd have given him two bucks for his concern.


He turns to me and says "Excuse me sir". I cut the guy off and just said "Nope. Sorry". He pointed to his wrist (he saw me wearing a watch) and said "all I wanted was the time".
I had one make me feel pretty bad a while back, though it was entirely on me. I was walking into a pizza buffet, back when I'd eat that garbage, and on the way in he handed me an "I'm a deaf dude" note. I blew the whole thing off, and before the door even shut behind me I was feeling bad about it. It was 20 degrees outside, and whether or not that dude was actually deaf, I was fixing to stuff myself full of hot pizza. Wolfed down a few pieces and then walked next door to buy him a whatameal.
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Offline rumborak

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2017, 10:45:18 AM »
There were two events in reasonably short succession that made me not give money anymore:

1. Went into the subway, two people, one in a wheelchair, asking for money. I give them some money, get pamphlet in return that tells me I will rot in hell lest I repent.
2. I get approached by a woman, and she tells me a rather convincing story. I give her money, continue walking down the street. 100 yards down the street I get asked by two homeless guys "did you just give her money? Look back, she's already gone to get her fix now. Sorry bud, but you just bought her drugs."

EDIT: Bonus story: Harvard Square used to have some Hare Krishna dancing. Turns out they were fake, collecting a ton of money from tourists.
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Offline El Barto

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2017, 10:49:13 AM »
Down the street from a friend's house there was a husband/wife panhandler team staking out adjacent corners of a freeway intersection. Occasionally they'd get into a fight and their cardboard signs would read something like "That's guy's a wifebeater!", and "the woman accross the street is a slut!"  :lol
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Offline Kattelox

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2017, 10:54:02 AM »
I don't give them anything. In the past I was burned by giving a few bucks to someone because I'm a people pleaser, only to see them the very next day (or sometimes in the same night) doing the same song and dance.

There was only one time in the last few years I've made the exception and that was some lady at a payphone who had run out of money and was visibly shaken because she really needed to call someone, so I gave her several of the quarters in my pocket. She appeared genuinely grateful, thanking me over and over.

But overall, no, I don't give people money anymore. I usually never have cash on me anyway, just some coins, if that.

Offline Dave_Manchester

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2017, 10:56:33 AM »
I generally say no and then ignore them (not always easy when they then play that loud public-shaming "Ok, thank-you anyway sir, you have a good day, God bless!" card). Very rarely, if the situation is either one of very obvious need, or else one hell of a professional scam, I'll give whatever they ask.

The only times I engage the clear scammers is when they play that psychological trick of asking for stupidly small and exact sums ("Have you got 17 pence, mate?"), the trick being that most people will a) assume that if he's asking for such a precise amount then it must be true that he needs it for something, and b) most people won't actually pick out 17 pennies but will instead just give him a pound. In those cases I'll enter into the game and toy with them a little, mainly just for my own interest, to see how quickly they can think on their feet and spin a coherent tale on the spot. Some of those guys are extremely skilled tricksters and it's interesting seeing first hand how they do it. I never end up giving them anything but it's funny to see them eventually break (99% of them do) and say "Alright, fuck it mate, you got me" and walk away.

Offline SchecterShredder

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #17 on: September 07, 2017, 11:01:11 AM »
I'm among the folks who won't give money,  but i will buy lunch or a coffee for someone. It's a hard fact that many homeless suffer from mental health and addiction issues,  so i feel that my money isn't going to help them in that regard.

Offline Dublagent66

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2017, 11:03:44 AM »
If a stranger ever asks me for money, I'll make him/her wish that they never asked.
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Offline lordxizor

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #19 on: September 07, 2017, 02:27:02 PM »
I donate to charities that help homeless/hungry people in my area instead of giving to panhandlers.

Offline lonestar

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #20 on: September 07, 2017, 05:09:33 PM »
I've hung around enough drunks and drug addicts to know that 99% of them are trying to earn a fix. If they want to talk and seek help, I'll go out of my way to help them, but money will rarely ever leave my pockets.


If a stranger ever asks me for money, I'll make him/her wish that they never asked.

Why?
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Offline black_biff_stadler

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2017, 11:15:36 PM »
Because he'll play The Astonishing for them.
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Offline Skeever

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2017, 05:01:26 AM »
I always give money to street musicians if I have money on me.
I rarely, if ever, give money to panhandlers.

Offline ReaperKK

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2017, 05:15:54 AM »
Don't give money to panhandles but I will give money to buskers.

Offline Stadler

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2017, 07:17:12 AM »
Don't give money to panhandles but I will give money to buskers.

Another true story, also involving Toad's Place:

I was in college, 1989, living at home and working at an engineering firm over the summer, and there was a club in New Haven that was "50's themed" (can't remember the name off the top...).  Our office manager put her card in the fish bowl and won a "happy hour" for the office.   We all went down, and two of the surveryors and I decided we needed a little more excitement, so we took the party elsewhere.  Boppers!  That was the name of the club.  Anyway... so we went to another place (Demery's I think; it was right down the road from Toad's and so that fits) for a few and we were walking out and a homeless guy was trying to play Wild Horses by the Stones on a guitar with maybe two strings.    One of my friends pulled out a dollar and threw it in the case, but after it hit realized (in his inebriation) that it was a $10.   The guy looks at it, looks at my friend (who also looked at it and then looked at the homeless guy) and the homeless guy says "Whoa, for that, I'll tell you that the Stones are playing at Toad's Place (a small, 700 seat max club) tonight.  Secret show!"   We were all like "Right buddy, sure.  Don't drink that ten spot all in one place, bro!"   We saw a line at Toad's (not unusual for their Saturday night dance parties) and went elsewhere. 

Next day, I woke up and my mom says "Hey, you were in New Haven.  Did you see Mick Jagger anywhere?   The Rolling Stones played a surprise show at Toad's Place.  Did you go?"   Goddammit.  No.   

Offline gmillerdrake

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #25 on: September 08, 2017, 08:17:09 AM »
In my younger years I would give $$ to the folks on the corners and intersections quite a bit. I picked up hitch hikers a lot as well. I haven't picked up a hitch hiker since I've been married (12 years) and I rarely give out $$ now to those who are asking for it.

Maybe the world has whittled me down a bit and I'm too cynical, but as a lot of you have stated in your stories it seems like more often than not the $$ you are giving to them isn't doing anything to really 'help' them other than maybe get a fix. Now with the advent of social media there are more and more stories of these 'homeless' people actually living in great homes...driving nice cars etc because of the living they are making off of people.

One local story that came out a few years ago was about a beggar who hangs out at Bush Stadium during the Cardinals Baseball season. dude was filmed walking back to his Mercedes at the end of the night and when confronted he had no remorse at all....don't remember his exact quote but it was along the lines of 'I'm not lying to anyone'....he was just asking for money and people are giving it to him.

 
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Offline Stadler

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2017, 08:31:07 AM »
In my younger years I would give $$ to the folks on the corners and intersections quite a bit. I picked up hitch hikers a lot as well. I haven't picked up a hitch hiker since I've been married (12 years) and I rarely give out $$ now to those who are asking for it.

Maybe the world has whittled me down a bit and I'm too cynical, but as a lot of you have stated in your stories it seems like more often than not the $$ you are giving to them isn't doing anything to really 'help' them other than maybe get a fix. Now with the advent of social media there are more and more stories of these 'homeless' people actually living in great homes...driving nice cars etc because of the living they are making off of people.

One local story that came out a few years ago was about a beggar who hangs out at Bush Stadium during the Cardinals Baseball season. dude was filmed walking back to his Mercedes at the end of the night and when confronted he had no remorse at all....don't remember his exact quote but it was along the lines of 'I'm not lying to anyone'....he was just asking for money and people are giving it to him.

 

Stephen King, I think, has a story along those lines in one of his short story collections.

I don't know if it's true or not (they are weird enough where it could be, but unreliable enough where it might not be) but two girls I went to high school with in southern Connecticut (they were two years younger than me) claimed to have went down to New York City and sat in the train station for a couple hours with a coffee cup and made over $400.   

Offline Kattelox

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #27 on: September 08, 2017, 08:45:08 AM »
There's a guy in the nearby city who is so infamous for panhandling gas money to get back to Danville (a city 40 minutes to the east) over the years that he has his own Facebook meme that pops up on my feed every once in a while. He's quite literally been at this for years. In recent months he's taken to riding the buses faking a neck injury, complete with neck brace and, for some reason, a cane. Recently I learned he actually has his own house!

https://tinyurl.com/y97cz2uy

He's part of the reason I don't give money anymore, but thankfully I never gave to him.

Offline SchecterShredder

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #28 on: September 08, 2017, 09:21:25 AM »
It can definitely be a profitable business. When I was 19 (drinking age here is 18) my car was towed while some friends and I were in the bar. One of us set up shop on the corner, and within 30 minutes we had $25 for cab fare. Took less time than waiting for a friend to come pick us up.

Offline Dublagent66

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #29 on: September 08, 2017, 03:54:15 PM »
I've hung around enough drunks and drug addicts to know that 99% of them are trying to earn a fix. If they want to talk and seek help, I'll go out of my way to help them, but money will rarely ever leave my pockets.


If a stranger ever asks me for money, I'll make him/her wish that they never asked.

Why?

Why not?

Because he'll play The Astonishing for them.

 :lol  Good idea!  That'll teach em... :rollin
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Offline Cable

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #30 on: September 08, 2017, 08:38:37 PM »
I ignore them now. Haven't found a reason they do it outside of a fix, and unfortunately the rate genuine ones are hosed. Plus the many chronic examples here illustrate that "feeding" them keeps them coming back. Reinforces the behavior.
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Offline wolfking

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #31 on: September 10, 2017, 04:38:30 AM »
The "I don't have any cash on me" trick doesn't work anymore because people will ask you to follow them to an ATM.

Is this for real?

Offline Implode

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #32 on: September 10, 2017, 01:43:35 PM »
Yes. It happened to me recently. I didn't agree to it, but yeah.

Offline rumborak

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #33 on: September 10, 2017, 04:22:11 PM »
And then? I mean, now you have a bunch of $20 bills, which isn't something they can expect to get.
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Offline jammindude

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Re: How do you handle strangers asking you for money?
« Reply #34 on: September 10, 2017, 05:22:05 PM »
The ex and I were in St. Croix a few years ago and we rented a jeep to explore the island.  Of course we were warned where NOT to stop but being rather naive we stopped at a local convenience store so she could get a bottled water.

I waited in the parking lot and was approached by a local asking for money.  I told him I had none and he then produced a coconut and said he wanted 2 dollars for the coconut.  i politely said "no thanks".  He then said, "please, I'm hungry, just 2 dollars". 

Then in a stroke of brilliance i told him, "if you are hungry, eat your coconut".  He walked away.  Then returned with a machete and took a chop at the nut.  He said, "l will cut it for you".

I enjoyed that 2 dollar coconut.

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