Ambiguity (pixsky) wrote in thequestionclub,

Do you think there are more beggars around than there used to be? Where do you live?
What do you do when you're asked for money on the street by beggars?
do you ever not give them anything?
Any stories of extreme behaviour?

I feel like there are way more people begging these days. I'll get asked for money 2, 3 times a day. I don't look rich! I'm a student who works part time at a supermarket and can't afford cafe coffee most days! I'm not sure if there are just more people around, or if it's because I'm not in a high school uniform anymore. I think there may actually be more around. Melbourne.

I keep coins in my pockets as 'bum change'- long story short, when I'm reading on the library lawn near my university I'm frequently- at least once an hour, two or three times an afternoon- asked for money by homeless guys, drug addicts and the down and out, and I'm not cool with taking my wallet out in those situations- I'll just dig for some change and fork it over, apologise if they look disappointed "sorry mate, all I've got on me." This is because I've had at least one guy peer into my wallet and say "Can't you give me the $20?" and i'm like "this is my train ticket home and groceries until payday next week." (Because it is. And i'm not getting a $150 fine for travelling without a ticket for anyone, because I can't afford to).

I feel bad not being able to help out more, but I also get annoyed when people harass me for my hard-earned, minimum wage pay, and they've got track marks up their arms and are giving me some bullshit story about needing to buy a blanket when it's unseasonably warm weather. "So can you give me the $20? Then I could get food as well."
I tend to figure that that guy needing a blanket is not totally my responsibility. If I give him the $2 I can spare, and so do ten other people, he should have plenty. It's not like we don't have a welfare system designed to support people, either. I understand people being down and out, needing a hand, but I simply cannot afford to help everyone out, and so often it really does seem to be some guy, reeking of bong smoke or alcohol, or covered in tracks. It's not everyone, and I try to support people who seem genuine, and I buy the Big Issue because it's people trying to help themselves- but so often I'll give all my change to an addict just to get them to leave me alone.
Everyone has a sob story, and most of them seem a little bit constructed.

My boyfriend gave this guy all the change in his wallet one afternoon, when the guy asked him for the only note in there. The boyfriend just lost his job and the twenty was probably one of his last. He said "Sorry, mate, I need this." The guy started really pleading, saying "But it's my birthday today. Don't you want to give me a birthday present?" and he just wouldn't leave. In the end, the boy and I got up and walked into the Library to escape.
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