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Pan handler
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Cindi    Posted 07-09-2003 at 20:31:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
I was really surprised today to be approached in Walmart by a man asking for ninety nine cents. The way he went about it led me to believe that he had done it before, the way he began to step away when he saw the expression on my face, looking over my shoulder, lining up the next person to ask. It really ticked me off that he thought I was so stupid.

"Why ninety nine cents?" I asked. "If I give you a dollar are you going to hand me a penny? What is this, creative begging? How to make begging for a dollar sound like a good deal by making it ninety nine cents?" I still can't explain why but that made me furious.

The man appeared in good health, and while his clothes were dirty they were not in bad shape. Normally it doesn't bother me when someone asks me for money, I either give it to them or I don't but if I do, there needs to be some obvious reason that a job is not a possibility, and that can include anything from a handicap to obvious alcoholism, because I do view that as a disease.

But the guy with the ninety nine cents thing, really got under my skin, especailly since he was panhandling right in the store. I saw him hit a lot of other people (successfully, I might add) before he moved on to Wendy's and then went inside there and started up again.

I reported him to the manager, I was sitting in the drive-through and a moment later he was ushered outside. He gave me a dirty look and I gave him one right back. I like to think I am a fairly charitable person but when someone is creative enough to think up an elaborate marketing tool for begging, I'm inclined the think that they could use those talents to support themself.

screaminghollow    Posted 07-10-2003 at 11:31:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
Around washington DC there was always a few "street people" hanging around certain intersections and under overpasses. They'd often ask for change. For a few weeks, I'd pass a young blond woman on the side of the road with a can in her hand soliciting change from motorists stuck in morning rush hour. She was disheveled and dirty and I really took no pity on her or even considered giving her any money. One day, I happened to be in down town Washington and stopped at a convenience store to get a soda. There next to the back of the store was this young woman and a little girl. They had a plastic milk jug of water, a can of baked beans and a loaf of bread and were making baked bean sandwiches. From around the corner, I heard the little girl ask how many more days til they could "get bus tickets to granny's" The mother replied that they needed 12 more dollars, maybe tomorrow. I gave them $30.00 and a ride to the bus station a few miles away. I never saw her again.

After a while I wondered why she didn't go to a shelter for the homeless, why risk her little girl living under an overpass. why not ask the salvation army for help, why didn't granny take a collect call and help out? I guess I'll never know if they actually got on a bus or how they ended up living under the overpass. I suppose the money I gave still could have ended up for cigarrettes or booze.
I used to be infuriated by these panhandlers walking through traffic slowing up my commute to my job, (why don't they get a job?) Now I'm not so sure what to think. Is it simply a guy who forgot his wallet and doesn't want to ride home to get it. Is he really broke & stuck and needs a 99 cent tool or a qt of discount motor oil to fix his car or get it home.
A fellow ( in his 30's) once came into the sporting goods store where I worked and said he wanted to pay for a bicycle tool, which wasn't even in the package anymore. I asked why he didn't pick one of the ones in an unbroken package because now I'd have to go find the price. He replied that he had been riding his bike past the store three weeks earlier and his bike broke and he needed the tool to fix the bike and had no money, his folks were out of town and he couldn't reach any one on the phone to help out, so he shop-lifted the tool and fixed the bike enough that he could get home. He came back to pay for the tool. He lived almost 20 miles away. His vision was so bad that he can't get a driver's license. He had to ride his bike back, just to pay for the tool, ($2.79). It is very strange what some people do.

WallSal55    Posted 07-10-2003 at 10:41:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
I would have done the same thing. (Some folks
are bi-polar and can behave that way. Harmless
or not, who knows?)

Cindi    Posted 07-10-2003 at 08:18:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
Maybe 'disease' is not the exact word I'm looking for. Addiction maybe.

MikeH-Tx    Posted 07-10-2003 at 06:37:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yep, that would have made me mad too.

Another thing that gets my goat is the rising number of
kids that panhandle at intersections to get money to take
their team somewhere. Begging in order to make the

What happened to carwashes?

Jimbob    Posted 07-10-2003 at 04:53:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hey, that 99 cent Kmart Blue Light Special should be reported to Walmart Management- good job Cindi.

Les    Posted 07-10-2003 at 02:56:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
Panhandling is his job. Doesn't sound like he's all that good at it though.
I'll probly catch heck for this but, in my opinion, you should stop viewing alcoholism as a disease. It's an addiction. Calling it a disease takes away the responsibility of the person who has it. Means it just may not be his fault and may even be somebody else's fault that he's the way he is.
Are you saying that if you had perceived that he was an alcoholic, you would have given him money? Where's the gain in that?

Lenore    Posted 07-10-2003 at 08:31:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
Wow I agree.
Our "feel good, it's not your fault" society is creating a group of irresponsible people.My dad's family had a real alcohol problem.
Three of his 5 brothers died from it.
They chose to drink; the other 2 chose not to. My dad drank for a while then made a decission that he could not handle it. He just decided to never drink again and didn't. I have seen my son struggle with it as a teenager. He has made a choice not to drink. I do not think it is a disease any more than I think drug addiction is a disease. I think it is a choice. Diseases are something you have no choice about. You catch diseases; you dont catch alcohol or drugs, you consciously take them.

I also think all these "ADD" & "ADHD", etc, etc. are also cop outs for good discipline and good diets of children. If parents did their jobs right, teach children honesty, good manners, integrity and fed them good home cooked meals without all the chemicals in fast foods; also if schools got back to teaching education instead of political correctness we would see a big improvement in our society!

I am not claiming I did not make some of these same mistakes; hind sight is much better. I see now all the things I could have done better.

I agree...    Posted 07-10-2003 at 04:31:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have known plenty of people that liked the bottle...

It is a 'choice', not a disease...


williamf    Posted 07-10-2003 at 04:52:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
Alcoholism is often the result of a genetic predisposition. It's not wrong to consider it a disease. In fact, it's helpful. Then the alcoholic has neither himself (no guilt to be an excuse to drink) nor anyone else ("I'll show 'em.") to blame.
Alcoholism isn't a choice, drinking is.
I've chosen not to drink every day for sixteen years now.

screaminghollow    Posted 07-10-2003 at 11:46:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
I came from a family of 4th generation German immigrants. They truly loved their beer, seven days a week from noon until midnight. But not a drunks among em. Alcoholics maybe. Everyone of them could say no at any time. Guess I was lucky. I've heard of folks who can't face the morning without and stay drunk all day. Not enough willpower to stay away from the sauce. Like me not having the will power to avoid that candy bar. I agree that too many people describe it as a disease for the wrong reason. It isn't like the flu where you get it despite your best efforts. I agree that some folks have a greater drive to drink than others, and a few don't have the will power to overcome the desire. But it still comes down to will power or choice.

Salmoneye    Posted 07-10-2003 at 05:12:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
Genetic Predisposition?

I'd like someone to explain that one to me...

A 'genetic' ability to process and 'handle' alcohol differently than others, yes...

A 'predisposition' to not be able to mentally choose to avoid alcohol?...Not bloody likely...

Cop-Out feel-good propaganda...Has to be someone or something elses fault...

Don't blame anyone for their choices in life...

PS.....I admire your 'Choice' to stay away from alcohol if you feel you have a 'problem' with it...

WallSal55    Posted 07-10-2003 at 10:54:30       [Reply]  [No Email]
I see shades of gray. My husband can drink and
it run's in his family genetics. The ability to
stop is something else--because I believe he is
spiritually, chemically, emotionally and psychologically addicted to the alcohol. So far,
he has been able to choose to stop twice. The
second time may be credited to me being in Al
Anon and some unseen forces of the Divine at work.
God help me, if he picks it up again. I didn't think he was going to get the trainwreck stopped
this time. I think they do have a choice, but it
depends on how far the disease has progressed.
It is a disease that is Progressive leading to
insanity or death. If sobriety is found, the
disease is arrested, not cured.

So...    Posted 07-10-2003 at 11:11:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
Then according to your 'definition', smoking is a disease too?

How bout running around on your spouse?

Biting your fingernails?

Where does it stop and become the responsibility of the person doing harm to themselves and their loved ones?

I do know that people have problems...The 'problem drinking' (or smoking, or drug use, or nail biting) is not the 'disease', but a symptom of a troubled person/mind/soul that needs a crutch...

I am happy that you are both 'dry'...May you always be so...


DeadCarp    Posted 07-09-2003 at 20:50:35       [Reply]  [No Email]
In the sixties i worked at Boeing in Seattle & liked to hang around 1st & Pike on Saturdays, people-watch, snack on deep-fried chicken necks, pester the pawnshop guys -- well a fella asked if i could spare a quarter and got my attention cuz they usually asked for a dime. I stayed behind, but got curious and followed him. There was a big clock on a building so i kept track for 15 minutes and near as i could tell, he got 12 quarters. That's $12 an HOUR! Just for asking! And most of us were lucky to make $2.50! Go figger -----

Cindi    Posted 07-09-2003 at 21:05:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well inflation has hit, if he got ten people in an hour to give him .99 cents that's basically ten dollars an hour. Just for asking. Good work if you can get it I guess.

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