General Question

spresto's avatar

What would you do if you saw a person on the street with a sign that said "Hungry, no work, please help!"?

Asked by spresto (903points) May 26th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

31 Answers

Les's avatar

If I could, and I had one handy (read: in my pocket), I’d give the person a dollar, then move on.

Edit: Is this a trick question?

Staalesen's avatar

Idealy: Get him food, and help him
Realisticly: Walk past

Fyrius's avatar

Hand him a sammich?

robmandu's avatar

Was in downtown Austin a bit this weekend. Those guys have the best signs!

A couple of the top of my head were:

- I have visions of a cheeseburger

- I won’t kid you. I want money for liquor.

Those guys are on top of their game.

MacBean's avatar

If I had money, I’d buy the person a meal. But I don’t have money, so I’d probably just offer a sympathetic smile and keep moving.

Fyrius's avatar

I’d give them some coins for originality, with the afterthought that they could have spent the effort on something more productive.

cwilbur's avatar

Walk past.

Look at it this way: in a city, if 8 people an hour give this person a dollar, he’s earning more than minimum wage. Tax-free. In a high-traffic area, this person could be seeing 1000 people an hour walk by. This is not behavior I want to encourage.

jfos's avatar

I would apologize for not being able to donate any money or food, but I could offer some work to do.

spresto's avatar

The general consensus appears to be that this is not behavior to tolerate or encourage.

Judi's avatar

It’s not the condition of his heatt that matters, it’s the condition of mine.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I am a child of Brooklyn and of NYC
I have a keen sense for who’s really in trouble and who’s ‘faking’ it for money (even though those people aren’t doing so well either, imo)
I generally give food if they need food and end up without a lunch

Fyrius's avatar

@cwilbur: I think getting 8 people to give you a dollar every hour is too much to hope for.

Judi's avatar

I meant heart, not heatt and it’s to late to edit.

wildpotato's avatar

@Fyrius I knew a homeless man in Colorado Springs who made $400—$500 per week (not every homeless person in the area was this successful, but a significant number were). So I would tell spresto’s hypothetical homeless person to make her way out of NY to the West, if I bothered to talk to her.

Crusader's avatar

A quarter or so is not out of the question, nor is a pack of peanuts…

cwilbur's avatar

@Fyrius: I’ve watched a beggar in a subway station have more than 10 people deposit money in his box in the time it took for my train to arrive. I don’t know that they were all $1 bills, either.

I’ve also seen beggars at the intersection of Mass Ave and Alewife Brook Parkway in Cambridge take in 4 or 5 donations every cycle of the lights.

If you find the right spot, begging is incredibly lucrative.

buster's avatar

It depends on what i am doing and how poor I am at the moment. Sometimes I don’t even acknowledge they are alive. I keep walking, skating, driving, biking etc. I give change but not usually bills to people if I am in a good mood. I sometimes tell them to promise me they will buy beer with the money I give them. I have given away granola bars. When I worked in a restaurant I made to go boxes of food that died in the window or was going to be trashed. Between the bus stop and my house I would find someone who was happy to have it. I give away beers if I have some in my backpack and I have enough money for more later. Actually talking to these people can be amazing.

Fyrius's avatar

@wildpotato, @cwilbur
Fair enough. I stand corrected.

YARNLADY's avatar

I carry a supply of business cards that are issued by the homeless groups here in town with information on how to contact them for help. I also carry a case of Nature Valley granola bars, and a case of bottled water which I hand out.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@YARNLADY that’s a REALLY good idea
I’ll start doing that

YARNLADY's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir thanks, I actually carry the food and water for myself, because I have an irrational fear of getting stranded.

Fyrius's avatar

@YARNLADY: Hooray for irrational fears that actually come in handy. :)

For a long time I’ve been carrying around stuff myself that more sane people would consider pointless, just in case I’d end up needing that tool today.

tehrani625's avatar

I just keep going, unless they are at the same bus stop as me. Then I talk, its way better then giving them money, and I get to hear some good stories.

amoreno06's avatar

i try and give them money if i have some. but then again, i need money too, AND i’m busting my ass for it.
maybe they have some problem to where they can’t hold down a job or whatnot. so sometimes i feel guilty when i don’t have anything.
i remember once i tried to give someone some food i was taking home from a restaurant and they were all grossed out. but come on, it’s food, not poison. so now i feel a bit weird about giving ppl anything.
my boyfriend ALWAYS tries to give them money. any change he might have. he’s poor as hell too but i like that he cares about ppl that much to give away what little he has to those less fortunate than him.

rhector63's avatar

look, they are there because they want to be. if i were them i would get up, go to the homeless shelter, take a shower, look for nice clothes, and go look for a job. and i know not all people are able to do this because of drug addictions and other stuff, but still they have the power to move on, they just there. doing nothing and hopeing for money while were here working our asses off hopeing we get a raise, and they really expect us to do that

Fyrius's avatar

@amoreno06 “i remember once i tried to give someone some food i was taking home from a restaurant and they were all grossed out.”
The saying “beggars can’t be choosers” comes to mind.

rhector63's avatar

once, i was at washington DC, and i had a similar thing happen like that to @Fyrius, but in this case i had not completely finished a sub i had bought from subway and as i was going to go throw it away, there was this homless guy asking for anybit of food and well he took the sub and thanked me and i was also gonna discard the soda and he took it also. i was actually pretty shocked. i was left with a considerable amount of respect for this person, even though he was homeless

amoreno06's avatar

@Fyrius right? that’s what i’m saying.
hey, if they don’t want my food, i know either my brother or his friend will eat it.

YARNLADY's avatar

My son once took pity on a beggar in front of the grocery store and gave him the four quarters of his allowance (a long time ago). After shopping, we went to the pizza shop and there was the same man, putting my son’s quarters into the arcade machine. I don’t mind feeding the poor, but paying for their arcade games just doesn’t do it for me.

Fyrius's avatar

@rhector63: It was @amoreno06‘s anecdote, not mine. :)

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