Within the last month, I bet I've been approached at least a handful of times. This is new for me, and I find this trend disturbing. I remember when I was in junior high school, fellow students would try to bum a quarter off of you just to buy a bag of Doritos or some candy. This begging in parking lots seems a little more extreme than that. It has been young men and woman, some dirty and homeless appearing, some not, but all are pretty believable.
Yesterday it was two young guys outside of the Taco Time asking for a buck for the bus. When we mentioned it to the employee inside the restaurant, he was surprised and said that they had just come in to exchange a fistful of dollar bills for a $10 bill. Hmmmm. This bugs me.
Today, as we were coming out of the Borders bookstore, we were approached by a young man who was very upset. His story was that his wife had kicked him out of the car and he was stranded. Rubbing his head like he was hurt, he asked for money for the bus. Upon my refusal, he quickly exited the parking lot and disappeared between buildings. As we were driving out, in drove a Sheriff. I then noticed a couple of other vehicles hanging around; I wonder if someone called to report the panhandler. I suspect so.
Is this behavior illegal? I know the retail establishments do not like it, as it discourages business. These young people are very good actors, and I'm assuming they get quite a bit of money; similar story with the intersection beggars or else they would not stand in the rain begging, I think. I just wish they wouldn't do it.
I always take the same stand, especially with young people; if you are strong and healthy enough to beg in a parking lot, you are strong and healthy enough to work. Even being a sign-jockey on the side of the busy street is more respectable than begging, in my view. I never give money - I usually don't have cash, anyway. Besides, it always seems stupid for a woman to open her bag to fish out some money in front of someone like that. It's just not safe; they could snatch your bag, or hit you over the head and then snatch your bag, while you were distracted. I have had them call me dirty names as I'm walking to my car after a refusal, as well. Nice.
Yeah, I don't like this trend. I don't like young people lying and begging. I don't like it that they get money for doing so. I don't like it that they prefer to do that instead of earning money in a respectable way.
Perhaps they are desperate and can't get a job. OK, I'm willing to consider that, but I really think they are just looking for drug money, to be honest.
“Charity does not mean that the land should be full of beggars. We can provide some support and means for the beggars, but provide food, clothing and other conveniences in such a way that you are not encouraging laziness and begging.”~Sri Sathya Sai Baba