Thursday, February 7, 2013

Vancouver needs a higher caliber of beggar

I met reader Ron for dinner last night which was quite good fun.  He is in Vancouver regularly, and so we got together for burgers and beers.  It was great fun, and always fun to meet someone from our little corner of Al Gore's Information Superhighway.

And there's a decent blog post that will come out of that, where some ideas I'd been having crystallized.  That will have to wait for another day.  Instead, I have to make a statement about the low caliber of the beggars on Vancouver's streets.

Like other pretty but hippy-dippy cities (San Francisco, Boulder, Portland) it attracts middle class kids who get a kick out of slumming as pan handlers.  Easy to pick them out: well dressed, well groomed, well fed.

I actually find this seriously annoying - there are people who actually do need help.  I remember one in Austin whose face was a study of misery and shame.  She's the type that I don't think twice about giving some cash.  Or the guy by the side of the road with the sign saying Wife and dog kidnapped by space aliens.  Need cash for martial arts lessons.  I gave him a sawbuck because his street theater made me laugh.

The punks last night?  They weren't clever, they weren't in need, they weren't even good liars, and they didn't even remember that they'd tried to hit on us before.  And one of them didn't seem to appreciate my single word "No" answer.  It seemed to somehow offend his sense of dignity, or something.

Look, yuppie hippy dude - no means no.  Sheesh.


Murphy's Law said...

Sounds like New Orleans gutter punks. All under thirty, usually white, and when not begging, they're smoking or drinking and just being generally annoying towards the people around them who actually do get up and go to work every day. They have homes. They just choose not to be at them. See "Occupy Movement" for other examples.

NotClauswitz said...

I "had" to panhandle when I was in Spain after nearly all my belongings were stolen, but I couldn't get used to approaching anyone with more than, "Got a spare cigarette?"
I stunk at it and couldn't develop a method - just NOT my way of dealing with it, whatever IT is.

TinCan Assassin said...

Too bad you're in Her Majesty's Realm. Hate to think what would happen if they got offended and uppity, and you are denied your means of defense (err defence)

Archer said...

Reminds me of the two funniest panhandler signs I've seen.

"Ninjas stole my money. Need $$ for kung fu lesson."

"Wife left, house burned down, dog died (miss that dog!). Need cash for beer and hookers."

I've always thought that second one - carried by a weather-beaten, gnarled old guy - was the best ever!

Unknown said...

most original sign I've seen was in Denver... Old guy with sign... "saving for a hooker" Now that I think of it he was "gnarled" too! He must have gotten enough to cover his beer.

Old NFO said...

Yeah, they are pretty pathetic...

Cargosquid said...

The most money I've given to a panhandler was the one with the sign,


The truth works every time.

kx59 said...

I ran across the very same ilk in San Francisco and Portland.
Well dressed college aged prick came up to me in a Bart station in SF trying to pan handle money with a story about having aids and needing medicine.
My reply was "get the f-word away from me".
He seemed genuinely shocked.

Anonymous said...

To all you heartless bar stewards...
We need more workhouses.