Friday, July 17, 2009

This is gonna turn into a rant

Okay I've never used my blog as a place to rant...but...there's a first time for everything, right? I wish I knew how to make a vote-type of thing so I could see how many people feel the same as I do on this subject.

I went to the local shopping center to pick up my mail, lunch, and a few groceries. No big deal. But after picking up my mail and lunch at Subway, I walked over to Safeway. I could see as I got closer that there were solicitors in front of the door, and that always bugs me. But there wasn't just a solicitor...there were 3 of them. A homeless man (with really nice shoes) holding his cardboard sign that said simply "homeless please help", and a woman at a little foldable desk on one side of the door and another woman with a little girl on the other. The little girl was quite outgoing and made sure I knew that she wanted my attention for a donation when I came out.

Now, a little about me. I have charitable causes that I support. But I don't give money to panhandlers, and I don't put money in the buckets of people standing outside of grocery stores. Ever. A box of Girl Scout cookies? Sure. But pretty much any other cause...not gonna do it. And it annoys me to no end when I am accosted at the entrance/exit of retail stores. When I drive up and I see them at one door, I park by the other door to avoid them. But this time I was walking from Subway, and the only way to avoid them would have been to go to my car and move my car, which seemed kind of stupid when I was only going into the store for some grapes and air freshener.

I mentioned to the store manager that I really didn't like having any solicitors at the door, but 3 was just over the top. He looked surprised, and said 3? Really? He only approved 1, and the way it works is each group can only be here one day a month. So I told him he might want to go outside and check. The homeless man probably wasn't an approved solicitor, but there were 2 others. He went outside immediately to deal with the situation and get rid of the unapproved one, and I turned to the woman who was in line behind me and apologized for taking that additional 30 seconds to voice my complaint. She then proceeded to chew me out saying why didn't I just walk by and ignore them. Because I shouldn't have to walk by them, that's why. Target doesn't allow solicitors in front of the stores, but unfortunately I can't do my grocery shopping at Target.

Charitable organizations need donations - I get that. I used to do animal adoptions for the local shelter every weekend, and we had donations jars in our adoption room. But we didn't ask for any donations. If people are feeling it, and they want to contribute and are in a financial position to be able to do so, then they do. But all of these folks that are taking donations for every little thing under the sun just drive me nuts as they park themselves in front of the entrances to retail stores. I do what I can for the organizations I choose to support, and I don't need to be asked to do more when all I'm looking to do is buy a pound of grapes.

Rant over. Yarn is calling.


pendie said...

I so agree with you on the solicitors; I don't care if I can walk by them or not, I don't like them either. Good for you for saying something to the manager. Stick to your guns!!

peachesforever said...

I agree with you on that, too! I will NOT give panhandlers money. I've offered them food and was turned down once. I try to ignore them, but I feel guilty - and why? There are just too many organizations, groups, ball teams, etc asking for donations. I can't help them all, but do try to help the ones that I know about and that are really using the money for the purpose it was given...cheryl

Pam the Yarn Goddess said...

It got so bad in Sacramento that panhandlers in one of the main downtown areas (full of upscale restaurants and clubs and filled with locals on weekend nights) would accost people entering/leaving establishments or just walking down the street and demanding at least $1.00 or several cigarettes. If you didn't give them anything, they would curse you out or throw things at you. The City Council finally had to outlaw their presence and arrest them on sight.

My husband doesn't mind giving people a buck or so, but I refuse to. Down here, people walk up to you at the gas station where you're a captive audience. What I prefer to is to take people inside McDonald's if they're rummaging through the garbage can and buy them something to eat. We've done that a few times, and people are very appreciative. Having been in that situation myself, I understand the desperateness and shame they're feeling. Having someone reach out a friendly hand without judgment means the world to them. But panhandlers, or people who work in pairs on different street corners? Get a job.

Robin said...

I always say that the time that they spent sitting there panhandling they could have been using looking for a job or actually working. I know there's all kinds of reasons why they're in that situation, which I can sympathize with to a point, but the bottom line is it usually was the sum total of a lot of bad choices.