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AIBU to want to buy a sleeping bag for a street beggar and huffy that my family member wouldn't lend me the money to do so?

(75 Posts)
KelperRose Thu 18-Oct-12 18:20:41

Yesterday we were in town, I was chumming a member of my family for him to get a few specific bits and pieces so involved a couple of hours in and of out shops in the main area's of Edinburgh.

Anyway it was absolutely pissing down with rain and there was one beggar (I'm sure that term is not pc but unsure what else to use?) who was soaked to the skin with a sopping wet blanket covering him.....he didn't even have a coat.

I felt so bad for this guy I wanted to help in a constructive way but didn't have my debit card on me (I deliberately left it home as I knew I'd buy stuff I didn't need in the shops otherwise and come home with more boots I don't really need)

I asked person with me if he would help by lending me the money to buy him a sleeping bag or a nice warm waterproof jacket and I'd give him the money as soon as we got home.

He refused on the basis of he thought it was a completely stupid thing to do.

So was he in the right and was it a stupid idea or should he have lent me the money for what would have been at max 2 hours?

BonVoyageCharlieBrown Thu 18-Oct-12 18:24:47

You sound like a lovely person. You could always go back and see if the person is still there and get one then?

DeadQODy Thu 18-Oct-12 18:27:50

I don't know, unfortunately, it seems that a lot of beggars are not what they seem to be. Leaves you not knowing which way to go. If he had no coat on him, he must have a little den somewhere?

lubeybooby Thu 18-Oct-12 18:30:17

I think that's a lovely thing to do and I'd have lent the dosh to do it. Your family member is a meanie, presumably they knew you would pay it back no issues.

CookieRookie Thu 18-Oct-12 18:32:38

So if you had asked him/her for the money, or even more than you actually requested for something they deemed okay they would have given it? That's horrible.

If my mother, brother, SIL etc asked me for money it would be given with a heart and half NOT conditions.

Prividing you're not prone to buying outrageous things, circus animals, hot air balloons and the like on a whim he/she should have given you the money.

DunderMifflin Thu 18-Oct-12 18:32:53

You are lovely - he is not (although someone will say we should consider he - your relative - may not have been able to afford it)

kakapo Thu 18-Oct-12 18:32:59

Well, the homeless person aside, YABU to expect someone to lend you money. Nice if they do, but it's totally up to them isn't it.

I would have thought if you want to be able to do these things, then the more pressing issue is getting to a point where you can take your debit card with you without buying unwanted things.

CookieRookie Thu 18-Oct-12 18:33:16


EmmelineGoulden Thu 18-Oct-12 18:34:18

I would be somewhat sceptical that it's the best way to address the problem of people sleeping rough, but that's why I wouldn't have given a sleeping bag, doesn't mean you have to do or think what I'd do.

I think your relative WBU to try to control what you spent money on because he didn't think it was wise. I would be annoyed at him too. Quite patronizing if he'd have been happy to lend you the money for another purpose (buying yourself booze, say).

LightbulbSoup Thu 18-Oct-12 18:35:27

I'd have lent you the money. You sound like a caring person. It wouldn't have occurred to me to do that but I certainly would have helped you out.

FromEsme Thu 18-Oct-12 18:36:51

I suppose it's their choice, but I would have lent you the money. Could you donate something to a homeless shelter instead? Or give something to the next homeless person you see?

I volunteered at Shelter one Christmas. It was great. I had tons of fun.

Also, I knew you must have been in Edinburgh straight away from the word "chumming". Such an Edinburgh word.

MeFour Thu 18-Oct-12 18:36:58

I would be wary of presenting anything to a homeless person. My ds had a gift practically thrown back on his face recently. I've always supported homeless charities (sponsored sleep outs befriending Big issue sellers etc) but will now inly give through charities

kakapo Thu 18-Oct-12 18:37:46

He wasn't controlling what the OP spent her money on though. He was controlling what he lent her money for.

The OP wanted to buy a sleeping bag. There were two ways this could have been done - with money from her debit card, or money from her relative's debit card. She has control over the first, and no control over the second. The solution is to sort out the one she has control over.

bushymcbush Thu 18-Oct-12 18:37:49

Yanbu - it was your money (given that you would have paid him back). If you had wanted to buy yourself something, would he have loaned you money for it?

FromEsme Thu 18-Oct-12 18:38:00

MeFour yes those coarse horrible homeless people are such bastards aren't they?

MeFour Thu 18-Oct-12 18:40:12

Did I say that? Really?
Just that I would give through a charity rather than direct to a person.

Iodine Thu 18-Oct-12 18:46:45

Maybe he didn't have the money to lend you and was embarrassed?

It would have been a very nice thing to do though. I am a bit skint at the moment but saw a man sheltering under a blanket under a shops awning in really heavy rain. Everyone walked past him ignoring him. He wasn't asking for anything.

I couldn't stop thinking about hin so offered him a hot drink of his choice from costa opposite. He said he'd love a lemonade instead so I got him one and a chocolate bar. He had a lot to say about his life and I hope I made his day a little easier.

KelperRose Thu 18-Oct-12 18:50:30

Thank you for the replies

@MeFour on principal I don't agree with registered charities as so much donated never reaches the people it's supposed to benefit.

@FromEsme I think I'll consider doing something similar

If you want to help a beggar/homeless person what is the best way to do it?

AThingInYourLife Thu 18-Oct-12 18:56:00

"it was your money (given that you would have paid him back)."

shock grin

So if I plan to pay someone back, their money is my money?


FromEsme Thu 18-Oct-12 18:59:14

KelperRose when I worked at Shelter, most of the guys there just said that things like that helped. I made one guy a cup of tea and he said it was nice just to have another person make you a cuppa. I was having a really rough time of it back then, and to be honest, it was nice for me to feel wanted and needed too.

Shelter really seem to not make a big distinction between the volunteers and the homeless people that come in. A lot of the volunteers used to be on the streets.

Personally I think volunteering, or just going up to someone who's on the street and asking if they would like a sandwich or a drink is helpful. And buying the Big Issue as well.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 18-Oct-12 19:03:51

I've worked in shelters my whole life. The waterproof jacket would have been a good idea but maybe not a sleeping bag. They are difficult to get and keep clean and dry. We used to give bedding out and it used to get abandoned a lot for that reason. Dry socks, dry shoes, drinks, food, an ear, a smile. All great things but ask the person.

I give money to the Red Cross because those poor buggers were out in the snow trying to get my folks in when I was in a lovely warm shelter.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Thu 18-Oct-12 19:04:32

A brand new sleeping bag or warm jacket can make someone a target for robbery. It's always better to give a donation to a reputable charity.

I feel pretty strongly about this and probably wouldn't have loaned you the money either. Well maybe I would have but I'd have told you why I didn't want to and would have wanted some convincing.

I also suspect like another poster your friend may not have had the money to spend on something like that after buying the things he needed.

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Thu 18-Oct-12 19:06:07

A charity can usually get two or three good jackets for what one costs on the high street and they know what cuts and fabrics are most suitable as well.

AdoraBell Thu 18-Oct-12 19:06:14

NU to want to do it, but you can't expect someone to lend you the money to do so.

my2centsis Thu 18-Oct-12 19:09:27

You are so lovely, to be honest the thought of someone being wet and cold like that makes me really sad and if I lived in your country I would probably make it my mission to try find the guy and help him out (I think I have issues lol)

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