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14 reasons why people begging for food money mightn't want your hamburger
Rainbow, rainbow
I haven't been in the position of begging for food money (I've busked, but that was for pocket money, so and also it's not the same) so these reasons are from my imagination, not experience. As such, they likely lack nuance and I'm probably missing piles more.
  1. They don't know where that hamburger's been.
  2. They're vegetarian.
  3. They're gluten-free.
  4. Or lactose-intolerant.
  5. Or have other allergies.
  6. Or other medical conditions.
  7. Or just want to eat healthily to prevent future medical conditions which they won't be able to afford to treat.
  8. They've actually just eaten. It's just that they'd like to eat tomorrow too, but it's forecast for rain: miserable and unprofitable weather for begging, and a dollar keeps better than your hamburger.
  9. They've actually just eaten. It's just that they'd like to feed their kid too, and a hamburger is a poor substitute for formula.
  10. They lied. They don't need money for food. It's just that they don't have a card that says "Need money for toothpaste and toilet paper".
  11. They lied. They don't need money for food. It's just that begging for food money gets more money than begging for shoes-that-don't-leak money.
  12. Let alone for condom money.
  13. They'd love a hamburger right now. But begging for charity is soul-destroying enough at the best of times, let alone when someone implies they're a drunken gambling-addicted drug addict not to be trusted with bit of spare change. Honestly they'd rather starve for another day than accept your right to judge their sincerity.
  14. Bugger the burger. They've had a shitty week and they deserve a beer, dammit.
Not that I'm saying one should always give money to beggars. There's plenty of reasons one might choose not to, or not be able to. (Sometimes I choose not to because it's a nuisance wrestling my purse out of my bag. No claims of sainthood from this corner.)

I'm not even saying one should never offer a hamburger to beggars. Just, if they refuse it, that isn't evidence that they don't need the money.

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Oh, and one more reason where I was specifically asked by someone for money for this purpose:

To buy a pack of sanitary towels.

She also wanted enough money to buy a bus ticket to get to the women's refuge on the other side of the Bay, which was on a route where you had to pay extra on top of the local day pass. But her period had just started, and she wanted to get a sanitary towel before getting on the hour long bus ride. And yes, in that situation, *I'd* consider the pack of sanitary towels a higher priority than food, for practical as well as psychological reasons.


(I will generally ask the person what they would like to eat and go and buy it for them. If its summertime, i add in water - cold, if possible. Partly bc I rarely carry cash and partly bc this is what I was taught to do by one of the few people that has shared with me that she has had to beg for food.)

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