Monday, November 19, 2007

I really don't think I should feel guilty

Actually I'm a little pissed. I may be overreacting (in my head of course. I generally don't overreact in public)

After work today, I went down to the nearest post office to mail something to my seester. I chose that one over the one closer to my house because it's next door to the craft store and I needed longer knitting needles for a project. (I have that gauge and storage) It was either Ben Franklin, or Wal Mart and Wally World rarely has the needles I want when I need them.

Anywho, que me, walking to the front of the store. Young couple sitting there. He says to me, "Can you spare some change? We're freezing and need to get on the bus." as soon as he said change, I told them that I didn't have any cash on me, that I was very sorry. And it was likely true. I don't generally have any cash on me. Someimes I have a little change, sometimes a couple of dollars, but I wasn't going to start rummaging and plus, it's better that I don't give my last few bucks away, I might need it. Remember the time I lent my step brother all my cash and he used it to take his girlfriend to the movies?

So, I could tell he was getting a little angry, because at this point she stopped him from saying anything else. I wished them well as I moved along. I realize how I appear to those who don't know me.

I'm a clacker. for those of you who have not seen "The Devil Wears Prada" you can hear me from a mile away on account of my heels. And I have elephant feet. They aren't fat, just loud. I wear suits to work. I try to appear as though I am a successful individual. Mary Kay Ash said, "fake it till you make it" and damned if I don't try to dress the part.

What they didn't understand is that I work 40 hours a week. I buy my nylons in bulk at Wal Mart and my suit was $60 at Sears. Two years ago. I do make good money but the bulk of that goes to my credit card bill. (and knitting needles). I might have a mortgage and kids to feed, for all they know.

Perhaps I am prejudging them as they were prejudging me. But I get upset when people panhandle then get mad when I say no. Hell, I'm so tight I don't like to give my father money. And I tend to think that out of two people, one should be able to work. Which means you don't have time to sit in front of the mall and ask for money to ride the bus.

(quick check of the purse found me $6.40)

I might be a bitch. I may find myself panhandling some day for being stingy. Maybe they simply were not able or were trapped without cash. Who knows? But I still don't think I deserved anger. Actually I was a little scared that he would bash my windshield or key my car.

Regardless, they were gone when I came out.


Sensei Ern said...

You do not need to feel guilty. The rough estimate of how much you are taxed and fee-d by the government is 55%. Of the federal funds gathered, $2.8 trillion budget for 2007, $1 trillion went to social welfare programs, not including Social Security.

One third of you taxed income went to welfare programs, excluding SS.

Figure out how much you paid in taxes. Take one third of that. According to a Googled site, about 10% of the population in below the poverty level today. That means you and eight other people are paying for one person. So, in effect take one third of half your income, or, one sixth, and multiply it times nine (the number of people above the poverty line) and that is how much is already going to help one person below the poverty line. 150% of your income went to help one person.

I know it is oversimplifying the equation, but my point is, we are taxed to death to help the very guy that gave you a foul look for not giving him another $6. If the government had not gotten into the business of buying votes with welfare, you would have a lot more cash, sure, much of it would be spent on needles, but you would have more to help the people you feel drawn to help, with 100% of the money going to the person in need, and not a bureaucrat doing just good enough at their job to not lose that job.

If the federal government was not supporting that one person, it wouldn't take nine people to lift that one person. It would take maybe five people.

To assuage any pangs of guilt, I recommend you donate to a local homeless shelter. If you do and still feel guilty, donate more. If you still feel guilty, I could use some extra.

THW said...

I don't give money to panhandlers either.

rebturtle said...

I like to counter their pleas with offers of direct help. Panhandlers often make up wondrous tear-jerking stories about "I just need a ..." So if they just need a meal, I'll offer to buy them one. A bus ticket, sure, let's go get one. Almost always, they either don't really need the item, or know that going to get it will take them away from their carefully selected panhandling spot.

This has two great effects. One, it puts them in an uncomfortable position by having to decide how to turn down someone who didn't really turn them down. Three, you can actually be a good Samaritan without second guessing yourself (too much), because you know exactly where your money is going.

I think that anyone who can work should, but unfortunately panhandling can be good enough money to live on - or sustain a drug habit. There are also many who are able and willing to work but are psychologically or socially incapable of retaining one. Those are the people I truly pity.

Of course I can't resolve any of these issues while simply passing on the street, so everyone gets treated on a case-by-case basis with me. This includes how much of a hurry I'm in (a sad facet of modern society), whether I have my family with me, and most importantly, my mood.

Ginamonster said...

Thing is, Randy, I don't know where the nearest bus ticket it. And they were both pretty young. Like, early to mid twenties. And I just got the feeling (and you know how I am about my feelings) that they are taking the easy way right now.