Here's a post I dug up from Thanksgiving of 2006 that apparently didn't meet my standards so I saved it in draft form, then never completed/published it:Just say no to panhandlers?
My first reaction when I clicked on this article, before I even started reading it, was total disgust that a bunch of relatively rich people shopping in downtown Seattle need more excuses to keep more of their more money to themselves during the holidays. It's not that I hold anything against people who don't give to panhandlers (I rarely pitch them anything either), just that I don't think we all need a tutorial on how to say "no" guiltlessly.
I think it's cool to provide people with better avenues for donating money that will be used more efficiently to help people who don't benefit from other people's high-visibility panhandling, but I agree with the people in the article that have a bad taste in their mouths with an effort that is aimed to discourage people from giving at the street level if they feel like it. All to make their shiny storefronts look tidier.
While I'm often annoyed by panhandlers, I balk at people who get so resentful and critical of them.
My personal panhandler preference? I actually give more to obnoxious people who entertain me somehow. Not just aggressively beg, but tell me a joke or try to ham it up. This is probably totally sick and twisted of me, but I often feel like asking the simple beggars to try to put a little more energy into it -- you know, give me something for my money! Perhaps a little jig? A crooked toothless smile? An off-colour limerick?One of the things I loved about Chicago was how many street performers there were. I *love* people who preach, sing, soft-shoe, or make screechy violin sounds on streetcorners. That's, like, GOD to me. I don't know that I like the practice of making them get LICENSED, though.
I remember one day when I gave to a quiet man who needed money. I got to see the creases in his hand and touch his palm. We didn't say anything to each other -- it was a gift. To me.
Labels: money, music, sociopolitical commentary, thanksgiving, values