Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Beggars CAN be choosers

I recently read a fun blog by my friend who talks about what it is like to receive uninvited solicitors at his home on a Saturday morning.

In New York, you don't get this at your home (yay for locked main doors.) You get this on the subway. There was a guy who had a REALLY good pitch on the subway one day. He said something like, "Hi, can I have your attention please. My name is Jacob and I have never done this before. I am not homeless nor am I sick. I have a good job but I am in a touch situation. I am married with two kids and we just moved to New York when my job transfered me. I start work tomorrow, but they just told me that I have to purchase a $400 insurance policy in order to start work. After all of our moving expenses, we don't have enough cash left. I already have $300 but I need the final $100 in order to start work tomorrow. Can someone please help me out?"

You should have seen the number of people giving money- he really tugged on our heart strings. It really was too bad, then, when 4 months later I saw the same guy, on the same train, giving the same speech. GRRR!!!!! I was REALLY pissed off, and wanted to warn these passengers that this guy was a swindler. But then I thought twice- if this guy has the balls to walk on a subway car and ask for money, and he does a good enough show to make people give, why shouldn't he profit? People feel better when they give money to those who need it, he feels better because he has made a quick buck, so who am I to stop it? I am ticked off that people are being taken advantage of, but at the end of the day, the only person who loses out is me because I am the only one who feel icky in the transaction.

So, much like my friend Mike who wrote the blog (referenced above), maybe I should see this beggar display for what it really is: a performance. My “realist” side doesn’t always let me look at things romantically, so this would be a real effort. But my time on the subway would be much more pleasant...


  1. Hmm, sounds more fun than the corporate gig I got going on.

  2. I don't know how I feel about this one... I think I fall on the "feeling icky" side. There's a difference between performing and lying.


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