When You Ask Me If I Can Spare a Dollar

Things I Notice

Your shoes

Your pants

Your shirt

Your jacket

Your sign (too many details? Not enough details? Is it done in a bic pen you found on the ground or is there some sharpee action going on there?)

Your teeth (too white?)

If you say you’re a veteran, do you look like you could be a veteran

If you say you’re a veteran, do you look like you may have been dishonorably discharged

If you say you’re a veteran, what war, just wondering

If you say you have kids, do you really have kids

If you say you lost your job, were you really fired

How apologetic are you to be asking for money

How embarrassed are you to be asking for money

Are you mentioning god too much

“Fellow Christians”

“Find it in your heart”

What else could I spend this dollar on

Things I Want to Notice

You’re a human asking for another human for help

Can I help you


19 Comments / Post A Comment

ellabella (#1,480)

I donate to Henry Street Settlement and the Food Bank for New York City because I don’t want to have to think about all these things but I do want to help the population that’s asking me for money on the street.

Logan I feel like that’s probably not your jam but the Food Bank literally sent me a handwritten card thanking me for my $25 donation and that basically made my day.

chic noir (#713)

@ellabella- This is a good suggestion, something that I might do and the handwritten thank you card would make my day.

garli (#4,150)

@ellabella I feel really judgmental when panhandlers have dogs. I do donate to food banks though.

mookie (#4,257)

@garli not saying that this applies to all with a dog but a lot of the ones who have a dog its because they’re sleeping on the street.
there are people who will prey on homeless, steal from them or assault them(sometimes even videotaping the assault)
i work with shelters (i work for a medical outreach charity) and have been told by a lot of folks that if not for the dogs alertness they would have been victims.

chic noir (#713)

Sadly I find myself doing the same thing. What offer to do instead of giving a buck is to buy the person a sandwhich,a bottle of water, coffee or a swipe with my subway card.

@chic noir This is one advantage of being a smoker, most homeless dudes appreciate a cigarette way more than a quarter.

@fo (#839)

@stuffisthings “most homeless dudes appreciate a cigarette way more than a quarter.”

Yeah, bc most big cities, a cig costs *more* than a quarter now, even if you buy a whole pack.

chic noir (#713)

@@fo – Yea even the guys selling “lose ones” do so at two for a dollar.

rubiksboob (#1,185)

Where do people who are panhandling get their sharpies?! Is that just the first thing one buys? Are they getting distributed by someone?

Elsajeni (#1,763)

@rubiksboob Places that you can make your own photocopies will typically have a little “office supplies” station with pens and markers out for customers to use; I’m guessing some folks make their signs there.

@rubiksboob They come into the library and use ours

aetataureate (#1,310)

Just no seriously why does any of this matter at all, even in a remote, “I wish I didn’t think that” way.

jquick (#3,730)

Where I live all the pan handlers smoke and are over weight. When I travel to Portland, I notice they all have nicer phones than I do (I have a floppy phone).

frenz.lo (#455)

-Am I alone or with a group? How fast is the group moving? Will I get left behind if I stop?
-What is the perceived likelihood that I will also get sexually harassed during this charitable transaction?
-Have I heard that this guy robs people?
-Where is my money? Will I have to open a complicated bag, or reveal other money to access it?
-Will I get to leave, or will I still be stuck waiting for the bus/train with this person?
-Does this person seem like they intend to rob me?
-Is it night time? Are there other people around?
-Does this person live on my street and so will this lead to future requests for cash?

kellyography (#250)

I don’t give panhandlers money, as a general rule. There is a guy I see every day, twice a day on my way to and from work, since I moved to this neighborhood. I did the math a while ago and if I gave him a dollar or even 50 cents every time I saw him, I would have given him upwards of five thousand dollars by now. I’m not in a position where I can just hand strangers five thousand dollars, so I donate to charitable organizations when I can, and say “sorry, no” whenever anyone asks me for money on the street.

This is…do people really think this way? When people ask me for money, I usually think “do I have any cash to spare?” (physically or metaphorically) and if the answer is yes, I give it. If the answer is no, I don’t.

Little_Lakes (#3,998)

Something I learned from working at a food bank that serves a homeless and nearing homelessness population: those ‘nice’ clothes and shoes you see are generally donated by the well-to-do. Many food banks and shelters take donations and give them to this population. The shelters especially seek out clothes that clients could potentially wear on job interviews.

I sense that people worry that pan-handlers are taking advantage, and at least from my food bank experience I can say that while there are certainly some who come to the food bank who take advantage, the vast majority do not. When I first started working there I wondered why so many clients gave me a funny look when I would send them off with a, “See you next week!” I realized very quickly they were hoping they would NOT be there next week. Even, and maybe especially, those who seemed the least ‘humble.’ Defense mechanisms, hanging onto what dignity they can, etc…

in_parenthesis (#4,213)

@Little_Lakes Well said.

km1312 (#213)

somewhat unrelatedly, The Soloist is an underrated film, amiright?

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