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.