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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!


foreverondiet Sat 06-Jul-13 23:02:33

I once asked a man begging what sandwich he'd like to eat from the tesco he was sitting outside. He said nothing as he was a strict gluten free vegan! I then asked if he wanted fruit or salad but he said he needed the money for a bone for his dog. I didn't buy him anything and it reinforced my view that many begging for money for drugs - yanbu I agree with what you did....

WafflyVersatile Sat 06-Jul-13 23:02:07

I can understand your frustration, Futterby!

Goes to show it's best to ask them what they'd like though.

Futterby Sat 06-Jul-13 22:59:37

*I watched him light up a fag

Futterby Sat 06-Jul-13 22:58:02

I used to give homeless people gifts. Once, I had been chatting to a homeless man selling the Big Issue and asked him how he was. He said to me "I'm happy hen, as long as it's not raining." That really got to me, so I went and bought him a jacket. A lovely waterproof one with a hood. I was 16 at the time, with very little income but I've always been one to give what I can so I spent my last money buying him this jacket.

So I went and gave it to him the next day and he just looked at me and went "thanks". I was a bit hmm for thinking he would be a bit happier about it, but I just said "you're welcome" and went on my way. As I was walking away, I turned around to watch him stuff the brand new jacket in the nearest bin.

I was too humiliated to mention it to him. The next day, on my way past again, I watched light up a fag and take a call on his iPhone.

Three days ago, there was a man sitting in Glasgow Center with no shoes or socks. I'm very wary, now, of giving homeless people anything (which is a wee shame but I can't help it) but I went in to a Sports Direct and bought him a pack of five thick socks to keep him warm. Went over to him and handed them over, and he snatched them out my hand and shoved them up his jumper and then acted like nothing had happened.

I'm 18 years old and a full time student, with myself and my partner living on his part time wage. We also have a baby on the way. I spent the money I was going to spend on our dinner on those socks that he didn't even want, so I didn't eat that night.

YANBU. I just wanted to rant a little.

SugarMouse1 Sat 06-Jul-13 22:49:01

Never, ever give to those Roma beggar children.

Its just encouraging their parents to exploit them.

I guess food is okay though, although the adults might just take that as well!

WafflyVersatile Sat 06-Jul-13 22:46:51

It's entirely optional whether you give them anything or not. So you are not unreasonable.

But, so what if they spend the money on drink and drugs? I'd want drink if I was homeless. Once you hand over money it's their money to spend as they see fit. Just because they are homeless doesn't mean they should not be allowed some agency in their lives.

SugarMouse1 Sat 06-Jul-13 22:40:29

Well, if he accepted and was happy with it then that's fine, no harm done is there?
But, I guess he could have been vegan/veggie/Muslim/Jewish/coeliac so maybe you can inadvertently insult someone or make them ill if you buy food for them, ISWIM?
There already are soup kitchens etc for the homeless to get food. As to them spending it on drink/drugs, well tbh I don't really blame them if they are living such a harsh, lonely life on the streets.
It could probably drive the best of us into an addiction.
I don't agree with buying the big issue though, because most people selling it aren't homeless (as in rough sleepers) most live in hostels/squats/sofa surf- I 'm sorry but whats so bad about that???

Pitmountainpony Sat 06-Jul-13 22:18:54

I worked fundraising on the steets of London. Ten years ago...two hundred quid a day was about right back then.....of course you do have to be begging all day to make that......which takes some effort. More Than one beggar revealed this to was offered a job but chugging did not pay as well as begging.......he found it very amusing that he made more than we did and of course we all know how well those chiggers get paid.

looseleaf Sat 06-Jul-13 20:37:42

Glad OP feels better about her food choice being well received. Nice to make even a small difference to anyone who might need it more.
I once had a friend's puppy for a week and it made it much easier to talk to a man begging on the street as broke the ice. after chatting for a while I asked his name and said I hoped we'd meet again. He said noone ever asked or remembered his name and how hard he found that which really taught me a lesson and whether anyone offers food or money it sobers me that it could just as well be me sitting there and longing for dignity and thought

Murtette Sat 06-Jul-13 20:26:37

dfrty (who re-ignited the zombie thread) - I read the dog food thing as meaning that the friend gave the homeless person tins of dog food for his dog. I know the dog wasn't mentioned but I think that that is what was meant.

LittleSporksBigSpork Sat 06-Jul-13 19:17:55

That's because those are beggars, most homeless people look just like everyone else. One girl does not equate to the entire beggar or homeless population and that doesn't make her or any of them less human.

Zombie thread gets advice page from actual former homeless person.

Essexgirlupnorth Sat 06-Jul-13 19:13:40

No I don't think that was unreasonable. Had a talk at the WI who said that most of the people begging were not actually homeless, one girl made £300 a day and spent most of it on drugs.
Really made me think twice about giving people money.

LRDLearningDomHome Sat 06-Jul-13 18:57:01

It's a rumour.

Not unusual for a child to be listless or asleep if they're malnourished, no.

You have no idea whether this rumour is true, and saying it's made you 'wary' of beggars in general just sounds like an excuse to judge people, to me.

You don't want to give stuff, fine, don't.

ChuffMuffin Sat 06-Jul-13 18:54:31

I live in a big city and I don't give money to the "homeless" in the streets, because 9 times out of 10 they aren't homeless at all, just beggars. I'm not saying they're all trying it on, but the majority definitely are. There are a pair that work the local shopping arcade where I work. I see them coming and going to their spots, which they only do on a Friday and Saturday (wonder why? hmm).

Anyway they got moved off by the police last week. They came back about half an hour later nicely dressed, saw the police weren't about, went and got changed, and returned to begging. Unfuckingbelievable.

They also tried to scam me in my shop once for changing coins in to notes, then started yelling at me that I was short changing them when I wasn't. Pair of bastards.

Souredstones Sat 06-Jul-13 18:47:01

Not exactly a rumour when something that you've seen is explained to you by someone who witnesses it every day. Very unusual for a child to be permanently listless and asleep no?

LRDLearningDomHome Sat 06-Jul-13 18:45:06

You heard a rumour, and now you think you 'witnessed it'? hmm

I know this is a zombie thread but what a ridiculous thing to say.

Souredstones Sat 06-Jul-13 18:28:57

Some homeless don't deserve the title of human though. I was in Italy last year a beggar was sat outside a bar from 9am with a child of about 4 years of age who was asleep. We walked past again at lunchtime and sat in the bar opposite for over an hour, child was still asleep. Went about our business went back into town for dinner at 8pm they had moved to a different part of town but the child was still asleep. Went into town the following day and saw her again, child was in the same position again at 10am.

It wasn't even what I'd say as a child being asleep it was lollopping in its mothers arms not sleeping.

The second day I asked in the bar why the police hadnt moved her on and was met with a shrugged shoulder and an explanation that it is extremely common over there for beggars to drug their children to make them look sick or keep them quiet so they earn more money. They're disposable commodities.

I would have called a person a liar if someone had told me that goes on if I'd not witnessed it.

I'm very wary if beggars and homeless people as a result now.

dfrty Sat 06-Jul-13 17:43:23

that is disgusting. Homeless people are human beings. Giving them food is an act of kindness, but dog food? That's vile; they don't deserve to be treated like dogs. Tell your friend she can go to hell.

RIZZ0 Mon 18-Feb-13 17:56:16

The op gave something to someone in need. So SWNBU.

I once gave a coat to someone homeless instead of a charity shop. He was very happy with it. He didn't berate me for assuming his style, or patronising him!
I think that's just some posters getting irate behalf for the sake of it. While they sit on their laptops and iPads, in the warm, being supercilious.

If you are in need and someone helps you, you can always say no thankyou to what is offered, can you not?

Everyone is different and will want to do different things. I used to give a sandwich to a homeless guy near my local shop whenever i didnt have cash on me, which i paid for on card. A sandwich is better than nothing, which would have been the alternative. Like the op I asked him what filling and it was fine.

And its not just about thinking they'll spend it on drink and drugs, in a lot of cases beggars are organised by gangs who take all their money at the end of the day, or who sit with drugged-up trafficked children in their laps looking like they're sleeping. To those people, a sandwich is a bonus, and in the case of the children, arguments like those waged against the op seem pretty petty.

plaingirly Mon 18-Feb-13 17:36:56

I tend to ask the person what they want - there aren't many homeless people on the streets that I frequent now but I used to see a few regulars each day.

I know there was one man that I bought bacon sandwiches for most mornings - he actually said he preferred the food being bought for him as people in the shops gave him mucky looks when he went in with his sleeping bag.

ineedabodytransplant Mon 18-Feb-13 15:22:09

There has been a homeless chap around our local shops for the last couple of years. Never asks for anything, and generally whenever I see him he is reading a book. I got him a tea and started talking to him last year as the snow was pretty heavy, and asked him whether he wouldn't prefer to be indoors if possible, but he said he loved the outdoors. after talking I found out how he likes his drink/food etc so I often buy him a coffee, or a meal deal etc but I do speak to him and he because he is quite intelligent, a conversation is never a difficulty. And I always have a home for my paperbacks..

He is always grateful, but I am not doing it to gain brownie points, I do it just because I can.

Just lately a couple of other blokes have taken to hanging round the same shops. Totally different. Shoving cups in your face, asking outright for any change. Yet they smoke and have mobiles.

Their situation may be exactly the same as the first chap, but the way they go about it is so different. They get nothing, as it's my choice what I do with my money.

TheFallenNinja Sat 16-Feb-13 09:09:02

Good for you. Money isn't always the answer.

HoratiaWinwood Sat 16-Feb-13 09:06:30

Well done Seventh!

missalien Sat 16-Feb-13 08:40:58

Mine too Boffin I love that saying

BoffinMum Sat 16-Feb-13 08:30:29

I think saying hello and smiling and passing the time of day is an important part of it. There but for the grace of god is my personal motto.

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