Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Recession Side Effects

Some possible side effects could include, but are not limited to:

Panic Attacks
Loss of 401K
Shrinkage of 529 plans
Increase in beggars in parking lots......

For the sake of being politically correct, let's not call them "Beggars" let's call them "Solicitors of other peoples hard earned money." I can not tell you how many times recently I have been approached at random by strange men, always men, asking for money. I understand that things are hard on everyone right now. Everyone I know is tightening up the purse strings and watching their money and spending habits more closely. I understand that because of this more people are in need, but this also means that people have less to give.

I'm a sucker for charity work or helping families out when I hear of a need, I commonly try to drag everyone I know into helping out as well, but I do not take kindly to being approached in a parking lot by men that are big and intimidating, especially when I have my kids with me. It makes me feel unsafe, incredibly protective and damn it, guilty for saying no.

Yesterday I was pumping gas when a man approached me at the pump, he came from the front of my car and stopped at the driver side window, staring bluntly into my car, he could see my purse, phone, keys and a couple of dollars I had sitting in the cup holder. He then offered to clean my windshield for a few bucks. I told him "no, thanks, I'm good" and overheard a conversation going on between the manager of the gas station and someone in the car on the other side of my pump. The Manager was telling the person in the car that they are not allowed to be on the property asking customers for money, and that they were going to call the police if they didn't leave. The "Solicitor" was still standing by my window staring at me, I wouldn't make eye contact, and he finally mumbled something about "God bless you anyway" nice, thanks... then yelled to the person in the car about how no one was willing to help them, he got in the car, slammed the door and drove off. I stood there looking at the Manager, feeling like shit and honestly a little scared. He probably did need a couple of bucks for gas, but I just can't give to everyone, I can't. I also shut down in situations like that, all I can think of is not to make eye contact, hurry through and hopefully I won't end up on the 5 o' clock news. I didn't have the girls with me yesterday, or I probably would have been a basket case. When I think back on it, it makes me angry, because I know he targeted me because I'm female and I was alone. There were men pumping gas too, but he didn't approach them, just me.

How are you supposed to react when people are coming at you from all directions? Where do you draw the line? Giving a couple of bucks in the grand scheme of things wouldn't have been a big deal, and it might have been worth it to ease my guilt of saying no.


Michelle said...

I just try to be polite, say no thank you and move on. I have given left over food or an unopened soda to someone asking for money. I feel at least they have something to eat but my kids are suckers though and always want me to help. I don't usually carry cash so it usually solves the problem. I understand your feelings though, I want to help but no one can help everyone!

Poodlehead said...

Where in the HELL are you hanging out? I have not had anyone asked me for money since I went to see Phil Lesh and friends. People asking for spare change are fixtures in hippie band's parking lots. We call them spangers.

Maybe you ought to get out of the begging areas and come on south a little. hahahahahahahahahah!

I'm a Mom!..? said...

I was south!!! 2 of the times it's happened, I was out in Inverness!!

Average Joe American said...

Next time somebody does this too you yell out. "Dont come one step closer, I've got a gun and I'm not afraid to blow your friggen head off". You and your kids safety is WAY more important than being polite to a stranger who's intentions you dont know. Mary Kate and Ashley need their mom around. Not to mention hubby would be devastated.


Anonymous said...

I get the wanting to help those in need. It makes my heart hurt that so many have so very little. If you want to help and can help, make a donation to a shelter or a place that serves food to homeless people or something like that.

I LOVE the comment above mine about the gun and blowing heads off. Start shrieking "I just bought a new stun gun and I'm DYING to test that bad boy out! You wanna be my guinea pig, come closer! Otherwise, back the feck off!!"

Candice said...

I totally understand where you are coming from. It scares me if someone stares at me for an unreasonable amount of time. I haven't been asked for money recently, but it has happened to me before. I'm always scared of what will happen after I tell them no...will they walk away or try to hurt me. Anyway, I say give to an organization to ease your mind.

Unknown said...

About two weeks ago we had the same thing happen to us. We had stopped at a Chevron to get some drinks. Before Mark could even get out of the car, a guy come up to the van window and said that he had a "gas leak" and needed a few bucks to buy some gas. Mark told him that we didn't have cash (we only had 20's) and rolled up the window and we drove off.

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

I hate that. And, I'm with you. I never know what to do in those situations. The things you listed? Try Xanex.

Anonymous said...

You might want to avoid the Shell station near your mom's house. I was asked 3 times in 3 weeks for change, but the guy gave me really good windshield cleanings. The third time I told him I didn't have any change, he washed it anyway and told me to have a blessed day. He seemed nice, but strangers make me nervous. I guess it's easy to approach someone who's filling up their tank, because they can't just walk away.
Much love,
Your Aunt