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Money to strangers? - Accretions

Fata Morgana
2006-02-14 13:00
Money to strangers?
activism, personal
Poll #673189 money to strangers

How often do you give money to strangers?

Very often (e.g. whenever asked)

What kinds of strangers do you give money to? (Check all that apply.)

Anyone who asks
Those who ask nicely
Those selling homeless-produced magazines (Street Spirit, Street Sheet, etc.)
Street musicians
Those performing a service (e.g. washing windows)
Those who give a "good" reason (e.g. bus fare; explain what constitutes a good reason in comments)
Those who seem like they "need" it (explain in comments)
Those who seem like they won't "misuse" it (explain in comments)
Other (explain in comments)

Under what conditions do you refuse to give money to strangers? (explain in comments)
Comment | 9 Comments | | Link

2006-02-14 21:20 (UTC)
(no subject)
I'm happy to kick money to street musicians when I appreciate their service (I almost bought a CD from one band, but I had to sprint to catch the train). Otherwise, I prefer to chose where my money goes and give a monthly donation to groups that can better meet the actual clothe/feed/train/house needs than me tossing a few bucks in a pan. So, I pretty much refuse to give money to any strangers who ask for it.
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2006-02-14 21:21 (UTC)
(no subject)
I hate people asking me for money. It always feels like I'm being played like a harp, and I've run into a guy who has, at least twice, left his pregnant wife in a car and they are going to tow it unless he gets money for the gas can (he has money for the gas).

I would give money to street musicians if I liked their music (but I don't usually). I'd also give money to someone I thought was honestly stranded or otherwise wasn't playing me for money.

In addition to my heartless policy, when in Berkeley, I gave money to Dorothy Day House, under the theory that they'd provide food, and to BOSS, under the theory that BOSS would help those in need get of out being in need.
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2006-02-14 23:16 (UTC)
(no subject)
Someone gave *me* money once. I was trapped in the BART because I had only a $20 bill and couldn't use it in the addfare. I was asking everyone if they could break my 20 and some guy just gave me a couple of bucks instead. It felt very strange to be approaching strangers for money reasons.

I will very occasionally give money to a street musician
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2006-02-15 01:06 (UTC)
(no subject)
Good street musicians get my pocket change sometimes (although not very consistently). And I sometimes give money to people who seem to be going somewhere by transit and don't have money or don't have the right sort of change.

My brother combined both approaches once: he'd lost his wallet at a gig, and didn't have train fare home. So he set out his case and started playing trombone in the El until he got enough cash to buy his ticket. (And his wallet turned up the next day - he'd gotten jackets confused with someone else who realized it and got in touch with him.)
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2006-02-15 03:09 (UTC)
(no subject)
"Good reason":

Rarely does this go for homeless people, but mostly to students. Good reasons usually include bus fare for stranded people who look well-kept and seem really nervous about asking for money. It's terrible to be stuck in that situation and be stranded, as it's almost happened to me a few times.

"Those who need it":
For homeless people, occasionally the "need money for prescriptions" works. However, I'll be a little judicial and make sure they know what they're taking. If they really appear to be in tremendous pain, I'm more likely to believe them as I'm not willing to take the risk of falsely accusing someone of acting.

If they're asking for food, and they're near a food place, sometimes I'll offer to buy them a bite to eat (within reason). I'll give them a choice, at least, but if they outright refuse the offer - they really didn't want the food, did they?

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2006-02-15 04:23 (UTC)
(no subject)
Sometimes I give my pocket change to homeless people. I'm more likely to do it if it's actually in my pocket; if I have to rummage in my backpack for my purse and then dig it out of my purse, I won't bother.

Attitude is important. I'm much more likely to give somebody a dollar if they ask nicely and aren't intrusive.

I don't care where they spend the money that I give them. Once it's out of my hands and into theirs, it's none of my business.

I definitely don't give anything to people who come up with an elaborate story, like the aforementioned man with the pregnant wife. I find it offensive.
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2006-02-15 04:41 (UTC)
(no subject)
I'm much prejudiced towards young non-shabby looking people; because I've soon too many old, and too many shabby looking people always ask me for some change.

I usually give money to those who don't ask - people at the grocery stores short of some change, etc. Those who ask receive a generic "sorry". Actually - they don't really need it, but it simplifies their lives anyway.

I recall giving money to a homeless person twice in Berkeley: 1st time he used it on drugs (hindsight - d'oh! >:O), and second - he just looked too pitiful. :-\

So, all in all, I give money when I know exactly how it'll be spent.
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2006-02-15 17:51 (UTC)
(no subject)
I got very jaded about giving money to "homeless" or "needy" people when I saw my physics lab partner from NYU on a train telling a sob story about the three children she was raising (that I knew she didn't have) on her own and begging for money.

So far, I'm more likely to give small change to someone who needs bus fare, change for the subway, etc who doesn't look like they *need* it per se, but like they temporarily found themselves without change or whatever.

And on occasion, if someone's story was really the sort of thing one really wouldn't be able to make up, I've contributed to helping them out, especially if they offer to pay it back and offer me a business card or something so that I can get in touch with them for repayment (though I never follow through on such things).

And if a street musician is really good, they'll get pocket change. Though I have to admit I have at times been tempted to offer them money to *not* play for 10 minutes so I can wait for a subway in peace... ;-)
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2006-02-15 19:35 (UTC)
(no subject)
I go with my gut feeling usually. Sometimes I just can't help giving money, because someone's face haunts me. If they're selling Street Sheets, I feel pretty good about giving but only give about one out of every five times. I do give many times to good musicians.
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