A question of work ethic.

A few weeks ago, Kelly and I were leaving our favorite coffee shop in Downtown Canton (Muggswigz) when we were approached by a man who was loitering around outside. He came up and said something like, “Excuse me. Are you from around here?”

“Yeah,” I answered.

“Well,” he continued. “I’m not. I live in Toledo, and I was down here doing some work. Now, I’m waiting for the greyhound to take me back, but I was wondering, if it’s not too much trouble, could I get 4 dollars off of you? I don’t have any cash on me, and I’m hungry, so I want to go across the street and get some McDonald’s.”

“You know what?” I said. “All I have is a five. Here.”

“Thank you! You don’t know how much this means! God bless you!” he replied. Then, the man returned to the spot were he was loitering.

Kelly and I got back in the car, and I said, “That pisses me off! He’s just standing there!”

“Well, what did you expect?” Kelly asked. “You don’t give money to someone and expect to dictate how they spend it. Just give or don’t and move on.”

“I don’t care how he spends it!” I said. “I assumed he would spend it on drugs. What pisses me off is that he told me he was going across the street! He’s not even trying to make it look like he’s going across the street.”

“So…you want him to lie to you some more?”

“All I ask is that he have a little work ethic! Panhandling is an occupation, just like any other. I just ask that, if he tries to create the illusion that he’s just looking for food to get money, he maintain that illusion until I can’t see him anymore!”

Kelly sighed. “I think you are ridiculous.”

“No! What’s ridiculous is the standard we hold our beggars to. We should really expect more! I feel ripped off now!”

My question to all of you, then, is, “AM I being ridiculous?” Should I expect this man to walk around the corner for 30 seconds to earn his pay? I, personally, don’t think it’s too much to ask!

On a related note, he approached us again yesterday. He didn’t recognize us, and I didn’t give him any money this time. I don’t expect him to remember everyone he talks to, and if he had gone around the corner last time, I might have given him more money!


9 Responses to “A question of work ethic.”

  1. And this is why tax cuts by themselves don’t stimulate the economy.

    When I was going to art school there were a bunch of panhandlers around the area, here are the stories I feel are relevant.

    One guy used to come up to you and ask him what time it was all the time, we gave him a $2 watch from McDonald’s one day, no one liked that guy.

    Another dude came up to me while I was in line at McDonald’s and asked me if I would buy him some food, since he was homeless and hungry. I told him to order whatever he wanted and left him to eat his lunch.

    There was a homeless guy named Kevin who used to camp out in front of the art supplies store. I talked to that guy a couple times a week for 3 years. One day he asked me to buy him some coffee because he was cold, so I did. It was the only time in those three years that he ever asked for anything.

    Waiting to cross the street one day, a guy approached Kevin and I asking for bus fare. He said he was working a construction project and didn’t have money to get home that day. He was wearing overalls, had a hardhat, a tool belt and was covered in plaster dust. I gave him the money. Kevin told me I was an idiot. I said ‘Even if that was a scam, that guy gets the A for effort. If he goes to the trouble to put on a costume to sell his story, he can have my $4.’

    You can maybe extrapolate an answer there.

  2. And there you go!

  3. See, what I resent is the cliched lying of these panhandlers. They’re always from some *other* city in Ohio and need to get back there but mysteriously have no money whatsoever. If this guy actually came to Canton to work, wouldn’t they have given him money for his work? How is it that he came all the way from Toledo to Canton to work a job but then he has no money at all?

    I wish they’d just tell the truth.

    “Excuse me, are you from around here? Well, I am too. Only since I lost my job and my wife left me, I’ve been begging outside trendy independent coffee shops in order to get by. I don’t really use drugs that often, but I do really like fast food and internet poker, so that’s probably where your money will go if you give it to me.”

    What you should do, Jason, is instead of giving them money give them information on Stark State’s many wortwhile associates degree programs.

  4. I never thought of doing that! I should be a walking advert for Stark State!

  5. Ha ha. Maybe he already went there and he’s paying off his student debt.

  6. UnkleMike Says:

    Maybe He Decided He Wanted That SUPERSIZED And Then Realized He Didn’t Have Enough Money Now Since That Would Cost Him More Than The Regular Happy Meal

  7. quicksilverthor Says:

    A little show would be nice, but Kelly is right too. Don’t look for anything in particular and you’ll find a lot. I have to work on that myself.

  8. Aw cousin. You’re rather poetic. 🙂

  9. quicksilverthor Says:

    I have to make clear that I ripped that one off a private eye film. It was a great line for the way you should handle a search with no blocks.

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