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To give a homeless man a meal deal rather than the money?

(385 Posts)
TheSeventhHorcrux Fri 01-Feb-13 20:33:36

There is a homeless man sat outside the Tesco Express with a little cup asking for money. Instead of giving him
Money I went inside and bought him a meal deal (crisps, ham sandwich and drink) and gave that to him. He was very polite and grateful about it and I thought nothing more of it until my friend then later accused me of being patronising by presenting him with food rather than te money.
When I lived in South Aftica I would often give food rather than money as in many cases the money went on drinks and drugs etc.
Am I being unreasonable to "control" the expenditure of this man (as put by friend) and not just give him money. I'm quite concerned now that he would have been offended, as my friend certainly thinks so!


iloveshortshorts Fri 01-Feb-13 21:15:55

I think you were lovely OP.

I once asked a homeless man what he wanted as i walked into a co op and he said milk and biscuits so i bought it for him, then he said i bought the wrong milk (i bought full fat blue top) so i changed it to the green top milk for him.

DoItToJulia Fri 01-Feb-13 21:20:16

I have often thought about doing that. Maybe, inspired by you, I will next time.

ArtemisatBrauron Fri 01-Feb-13 21:20:51

We used to buy milk for a homeless man in Oxford when we were at university there, once they only had organic left and we gave it to him, the next time we saw him he claimed it had given him a sore stomach and asked if we could get the 'normal stuff' smile

KelleStar Fri 01-Feb-13 21:21:48

I think it's a kind thing you did. I've often bought a cup of coffee/ sandwich. A local homeless charity 'sell' tokens/vouchers for a small donation, that you can then give to homeless people to use in a hotel, includes a hot meal and a shower.

DonderandBlitzen Fri 01-Feb-13 21:22:04

I think as your friend gave him nothing at all then she doesn't get to pick holes in what you did give.

moondog Fri 01-Feb-13 21:23:18

'My mate used to hand over tins of dog food - I did point out he would need a tin opener - she dutifully handed one over the following morning.'

Holly, priceless (as are later comments re orthodoxy).

Thewhingingdefective Fri 01-Feb-13 21:24:29

You did a kind thing. Stop beating yourself up about it.

TheSeventhHorcrux Fri 01-Feb-13 21:26:44

I wonder whether maybe she commented as she thought I was showing her up? She's quite sensitive. She "joked" the other day that I was going to get arrested for helping a man up the stairs with his two suitcases at the tube in case he thought I was going to steal them. As I pointed out though I'm not very big and could barely get one up the stairs let alone run off with it!

So long as I didn't offend the homeless guy I don't mind. I do hope he is a vegetarian though blush

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 01-Feb-13 21:27:32


Your friend however is rather obnoxious

moondog Fri 01-Feb-13 21:28:17

Ah The Seventh.
You have entertained us before with your amusingly improbable anecdotes have you not?
I so enjoy them.
<reaches for wine?

TheScreamingfrog Fri 01-Feb-13 21:28:20

I tried to buy food for a homeless man once but by the time I got back to him he had moved on. I saw a policeman close by. The only person to benefit was DH who ended up with the sandwich! hmm

Matildaduck Fri 01-Feb-13 21:30:31

I think that you did a lovely thing. When travelling around the world we always gave food to begging children ( they are often begging to give over the money) i would like to give food or drinks to the homeless. Yes they may usually buy drugs and buying food is definately the right thing to do.

My dd and i gave some cash to a homeless man a while ago, it's sobering when you have so much.

starsandunicorns Fri 01-Feb-13 21:34:16

My dd2 feels awful walking past them shes 15 and while chatting along the street she walked over and popped a pound to a homless guy that was playing the flute. I spoke about the big issuse etc and said to buy that or a coffee for them. On talking to her about it she said that it reminds her of when we were homless ok we werent on the streets but did sleep on peoples floors for a month. That was nearly 7 years ok. She said next time she get a coffee smile

Whydobabiescry Fri 01-Feb-13 21:38:52

I think you did a very kind thing and should ignore your friend. At least that poor homeless man won't be hungry today x

starsandunicorns Fri 01-Feb-13 21:39:29

She said ok she give coffee. on phone long post not my strong point

HollyBerryBush Fri 01-Feb-13 21:40:51

moondog the guy had a dog on a string - like a lot of people she had more empathjy for animals than humans.

It was retrospectively funny though - a tin of chum every morning .....

Dictionary definition of orthodox = pertaining to, or conforming to the approved form of any doctrine, philosophy, ideology, etc. ...ergo, anyone conformist woudl likely be seeking church/faith help if in need. Which negates that posters quantry about ham sandwiches

Although I am massively enjoying these stories of 'beggers' complaining about the wrong sort of milk being given to them though. If you were telling the same story about a play date the consensus would be not to invite the rude child back grin

pigletpower Fri 01-Feb-13 21:47:48

Moondog-full moon? What a shitty posthmm

claraschu Fri 01-Feb-13 21:48:44

I have told homeless people (truthfully), "I don't have any cash with me, but I'm going shopping with my credit card; would you like me to pick up something for you?" They always seem pleased, and one was vegetarian, so I was glad I asked first.

Greensleeves Fri 01-Feb-13 21:55:35

I'm sure you meant well, but no I don't think it was a particularly nice thing to do. I would have given him the money if I was in a position to give him anything at all. And frankly, sleeping rough on your own is fucking unbearable, so if my couple of quid went towards a bottle of cheap brandy or a packet of fags, I'm not judging.

borisjohnsonshair Fri 01-Feb-13 22:07:02

If I were homeless I'd probably spend all my money on drugs and booze as well - I'm sure it would help to blot out the misery of the situation sad

notsofrownieface Fri 01-Feb-13 22:12:34

OP you did a lovely thing. You are NBU at all. Your friend is a tit. If you want to help the homeless, giving to a homeless charity is the way to go, unfortunately giving hard cash to the homeless doesn't help them in the long term.

PariahHairy Fri 01-Feb-13 22:15:10

I agree boris, if I was homeless being pissed out of my mind would probably take the sting out of sleeping in a doorway in the depth of winter. I give money to homeless people if I can afford it.

I can just imagine all these worthy people proffering sandwiches and coffee, the going home to a lovely warm house to enjoy their morally superior posh wine.

Greensleeves Fri 01-Feb-13 22:15:35

"doesn't help them in the long term" - well, you don't know that. Turning points in people's lives come in many different forms.

but IMO helping somebody get through another horrible cold night is worth doing in itself. Helping the in the short term. Better than nothing.

sukysue Fri 01-Feb-13 22:15:38

Good for you op. I would do the same it;s your money you can do what u like with it if he didn't want the food he could refuse it. Did this friend who accused you of being patronising give him anything or gives anything to any one else?

PessaryPam Fri 01-Feb-13 22:16:40

I think you did the right thing. If he was hungry it was what he needed.

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