General Question

rebbel's avatar

Dilemma concerning street musicians/beggars?

Asked by rebbel (31966points) May 27th, 2011

A strange, be it minor, dilemma I have.
When I was in Athens some weeks ago I was drinking a beer with my girlfriend and some friends, down of the Parthenon.
In the streets there are quite some beggars, immigrants who sell all kind of stuff and street musicians.
Every now and then I buy a lighter or some paper handkerchiefs.
I’m happy, they’re happy.
And sometimes a musician comes to your table and plays a bit.
Now here’s the dilemma: If you give some money (which is what they want) because you like their music, they disappear.
If you don’t give, they will stay and keep on playing (until you give some anyway, after some time).
So what gives?
Give nothing and enjoy the music (but leaving the musician annoyed and yourself with a feeling of awkwardness) or give some money and see them take off (a few coins lighter and drinking your beer without accompanying music)?

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8 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I would give the coins and enjoy the silence.

Or wait a bit while they play, and then give them some.

rebbel's avatar

The thing is, @marinelife , that some sound quite nice and it brings a good atmosphere.
Others you would gladly give some more coins than you would give usually just so they would take some extra lessons.
It is, by the way, how i do it, the way you described it, but you can feel really awkward when they look at you with those sad, sad eyes be they sincere or not.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Request a song, tip them after they play it.

Seelix's avatar

If you speak the language that they do, ask them to stick around for a while because you enjoy their music. Flash some dough while you’re asking so they know it’ll be worth it.

downtide's avatar

I think @Seelix has the right idea. That’s what I would do. Pay them to stay, not pay them to leave.

rebbel's avatar

Yep, i think you are right @downtide , @Seelix has the perfect idea (@WestRiverrat ‘s is close to perfect)
So perfect it is almost obvious!
Thanks all!

tko7800's avatar

That reminds me of the best street musician I ever saw in a subway in New York. He played an out-of-tune saxophone as loud as he possibly could and then after a couple of minutes of inflicting his torture he would say, “if I see money, I will stop.” New Yorkers are a stubborn bunch though and I never recalled anyone giving him anything. Anyway, I almost get the impression the ones that disappear after you give them money are kind’ve doing what the NYC saxophone guy is doing – just in a less obnoxious way.

_zen_'s avatar

@tko7800 I met him too. That was fuinny and ingenious.

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