Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Walmart beggars... and me

Is my asking for donations just like someone sitting at an intersection with a "will write for money" sign?

Because, to me, it often feels that way. (Not that I could stop writing anyway.)

Every entrance and exit at the local Walmart is usually occupied by someone holding a sign asking for money. I also know someone who works there who says those same people come in and buy alcoholic beverages as soon as they collect enough- although one guy did buy a sleeping bag once because he said his was stolen.

And one of her co-workers' adult offspring also sit there with their signs. Even though they actually have a home in town, their signs often give the impression they are traveling and ran out of money.

One guy even sits there with a gas can.

You'll see the same person trying different signs on different days; I guess that's "A/B Testing".

As long as they aren't holding a gun (or threatening to do so) against people's heads, I am not too bothered by the begging. Although it would be nice if they were honest about their situations and what they are spending the money on. I actually used to give money to some people like this, even suspecting they would just buy booze- but knowing too many of the behind the scenes stories has made me lose sympathy for the Walmart beggars.

I don't want to be seen as being too much like them, either.

So I try to provide something in exchange for the donations, and I try to not ask unless things get really sticky. This is my job, such as it is. And, if I ever ask and you want to tell me exactly what you think of my request, I don't delete any comments, so everyone could see what you have to say on the matter. I hope it seems like a "fair" deal.



  1. If you give to 10 beggars, and 9 of them buy booze, but one buys a burger, or a motel room, was it worth it?

    1. It's not so much what they buy, it's that they are lying about what they intend to do with the money. If a guy had a sign that said "need money for booze" I would still consider giving him some.

    2. So you're saying we should send you booze?

    3. After the past couple of days... I probably wouldn't reject it.

  2. Free market begging is legitimate -- even when the beggar is not totally honest (who of us is???). And gifts for living supplies is an honorable offering (including lots of booze -- after all, for many of them, that falls into the category of "living supplies". I was there once).

    I see donations in support of respected bloggers and writers as a different category altogether. The web has freed many good liberty-oriented writers and given rise to others to work independently. Thus they are not beholding to the whims and political rent-seeking of advertisers and publishers, who simply do not tolerate dissenting views which fall outside a specific spectrum of "correctness". You dealt with that in your "media" writing of the last day or two.

    This falls into volunteerism, which is at the heart and core of what most of us around here subscribe to. Let the readers know you are paid with donations and many will respond -- hopefully enough to let you eek out a meager living (liberty is not a highly popular topic in a statist world). These are not "subscriptions" in the sense Gary North markets them -- Gary charges 15 bucks a month for the privilege of reading his stuff) -- but it sure ain't "begging".

    You stand out among writers of liberty essays in that you know how to walk the thin rope with the local publisher. You have a skill to produce hard-hitting articles -- things that the local statists have to stop and think about -- but worded in such a way they don't get rejected at the starting gate by the publisher. Not an easy task no matter how skilled the writer.

    Keep up the good work. Sam

    1. The first time I ever gave money to a beggar was when I was still a teenager. I had gone to a Big City and there was a guy standing on the sidewalk asking for money. He smelled of booze and other things and said he was hungry, so I gave him a dollar or two. He was very grateful and giving him the money made me happy. We both won.

  3. Back in my church days, it was common practice for the preacher to make a special note of upcoming events or special things the church wanted to do or purchase. Often it seems people will 'pony up' the dough when they know exactly what it is they are supporting, or if something comes up that they really want to be part of. Last week when you said you were shy thirty bucks, it reminded me a little bit of the way the church did things.

    I certainly don't mean that in any kind of negative light, so please don't misunderstand. In fact, had I read that blog post 'on time' rather than a while afterwards (you'd already received enough to cover the expense) I most likely would have chipped in.

    It kind of got me to thinking though, since I do gain a lot of value from your efforts here.... I really ought to toss you a few bucks.

    At least enough for you to buy a beer ~_^

    1. I don't see that in a negative light at all. Last week, I didn't say what the $30 was for, though. It is the quarterly payment to keep my websites up. I have an alert set to remind me a couple weeks before it is due- for some reason I didn't get the alert this time so it caught me by surprise. I hate when that happens.

      And, I thank you for you support! Although I rarely drink alcohol I would be more likely to buy hard apple cider or something from Tennessee which was aged in a barrel, rather than beer.

  4. God calls on us to give to those in need. If we give and they are lying or use the gift for dishonest purposes, they are the ones responsible. Yes, I know some don't believe, but they can substitute their own moral compass.