Bitch on the Blog

September 3, 2014


Health Alert: Lecture on the horizon.

Just told guy outside cornershop, (sweet, young, of uncertain nationality – I don’t ask that most awful question “Where do you come from?”): “Never ever ask anyone if they have change.” As begging goes it’s so brainless and, for the one with or without change in her pocket, a complete turnoff. Ask me for fifty pence, one Pound Sterling, a fiver. Tell me what you need. But please don’t just sit there and ask me for “change”. He took it well, though I dare say he wasn’t sure what I was trying to convey.

Most of you who communicate with me on this blog are both of strong opinion and live in cultures different to mine. Actually let’s forget the ‘culture’ bit since people within the same culture can be, and are, so very different from each other. Please do let me know how you ‘give’ when directly approached, how you give via, say a charity, how you give to  a friend. Or, why you do NOT give.

The young man above remained courteous when I told him how not to go about it. And no, I did NOT leave him shortchanged. For that I know too well what it feels like having to ask in the first place.




  1. To known charities where I regularly contribute, I transfer funds through internet banking. Occasionally I even issue cheques. When confronted like you were, I simply hand over either a note of a reasonable value or a coin of reasonable value and move on.

    Comment by rummuser — September 4, 2014 @ 01:46 | Reply

    • It’s difficult, Ramana. I imagine India being full of those down and out. Here people tend to close their eyes to misery staring them in the face. One of the nicest people I met a couple of years ago told me the other day – and I was startled – that she never ever gives so much as the time of day to “beggars”. It’s a mindset so very different from mine. When I meet someone in need all I see is that MOMENT. I am sure someone will tell me that I am being taken for a ride. I don’t it see that way. I trust my instinct. And sometimes, to my shame, I do have to excuse myself because I don’t have anything to give – other than a smile and my time for a chat.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 4, 2014 @ 16:18 | Reply

  2. I am not sure that I live in a culture, but will comment anyway.

    This reminds me of a hispanic lady who begged me for money to drive to a town a few hundred miles down the freeway. I gave her nearly enough to cover it, then went in to the busy restaurant to meet with some coworkers. Two hours later, I came out and she was still begging. Her car must use a lot of gas. Or maybe she needed to buy a new car.

    For the most part I am hoarding my money so that when the economy implodes, I will be in a position to help the truly needy. At the moment, the US poor who aren’t addicts are usually wanting organic foods for their daily dinning and expecting to have a two week long cruise vacation once a year. But I do donate to some charities.

    Comment by Looney — September 4, 2014 @ 02:30 | Reply

    • Dear Looney, we are not talking culture as in ‘yoghurt’.

      Don’t be bitter. The moment money changes hands it’s not yours any longer. Whatever the recipient does with it is their business. Reminds me of a moment about four years ago when I had managed to successfully lock myself out of the house. Purse inside. Brilliant. The Angel being away. Bank closed. New to the city no one whose door I could knock on. Not that that stopped me.

      Went into hotel. Concierges are your friends. I needed five pounds (Sterling). Manager looked me up and down and said: “You don’t look the kind who spends money on drink”. What if I had looked “Down and out In Paris and London”? The fiver was mine. Duly repaid the next morning. There is an Aesop’s tale in that little vignette. It’ll keep.

      The rest of your acid comment I shall ignore. Not least because I don’t like cruises. Ever.

      Organic and yours,


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 4, 2014 @ 16:09 | Reply

  3. If asked directly I usually give $5 if I happen to have an extra bit handy. If the requestor is obnoxious I simply ignore the demand/request. Most I’ve ever given is $20 and that was years ago when it meant something.

    Comment by shackman — September 4, 2014 @ 13:24 | Reply

    • I remember the Angel once coming hone, slightly startled at a response of one of those guys sitting in the doorway outside the supermarket. “I offered him a can of beer” [Out of the four my son had just bought]. The guy, with no thought to imminent future, declined. “I’ve already got one”, he said. One of those stories you do’t know whether to laugh at, cry at, or forget all about it.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 4, 2014 @ 15:55 | Reply

  4. Thinks….. hard……. I am wary of the out strected hand in this country….. and yet have been known to give (I’m told) over generously….. a Salvationist of my one time ken told me that the Christmas fiver I had given, on the way home from work, to a chap lying on a bench would be spent on drugs or alcohol and that I shouldn’t have given it. So, when the “christian” charities knock on my door I refer them to Matthew 19:21 and then ask if they have done that and close the door.
    There was the bloke who was obviously hoping to score some substance who asked me for some money to buy a sandwich. I declined and went into the nearest sandwhich outlet , bought a couple of cheese sandwiches and a cup of tea and sought him out. I found him on the ‘phone agreeing to meet someone., handed over the sandwiches and tea and said, “I hope you like cheese and take sugar in your tea.”. I turned and walked away and a few minutes later was tapped on teh shoulder, “Thanks for this and the message mate.”

    One thing I will NOT do is respond to the large charities’ requests for regular donations via a variety of means. These are requested in a varuety of ways, on the street, (“May I have a word?”) , at the door (“Good day. And how are you?” ), by post (Return to sender) …… No, the latter can elicit response if it’s one of “My” charities.

    BTW If I ever have large win on the lottery and any one wonders what I’m going to do about the begging letters…. I’ll keep sending them.

    Comment by magpie11 — September 4, 2014 @ 19:43 | Reply

  5. I never give money to people in the street. I’ve read so many times that they’re not necessarily homeless or penniless or jobless. Also, many of them have mental health or addiction problems and those require specialist help rather than cash.

    Comment by nick — September 4, 2014 @ 20:15 | Reply

    • Difficult one, Nick. Do you really think that people would put themselves out on the street if they weren’t in dire need?

      Let’s leave addiction out of the picture for the moment – you can actually (involuntarily) kill someone by not facilitating the means to buy their next drink/fix. You say they need ‘specialist help rather than cash’. Oh, Nick, nothing keeps your sanity more than enough money in your pocket. And what ‘specialist help’? Its hardly freely given, is it? Fact is that the self righteous let a lot of their fellow humans fall through the net, down the plug hole. I don’t have the answer. All I do have is compassion and whilst I can’t save humanity I will put some little pathetic band aid on someone’s utter humiliation – if and when I can.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — September 6, 2014 @ 04:52 | Reply

  6. My husband gives a lot to a lot of charities. So I don’t give anything.

    Comment by bikehikebabe66 — September 6, 2014 @ 01:22 | Reply

    • P.S. Most money goes to colleges & universities. Those are charities too.

      Comment by bikehikebabe66 — September 6, 2014 @ 01:55 | Reply

      • “… colleges and universities”. That’s great, BHB. Investment in the future.


        Comment by bitchontheblog — September 6, 2014 @ 04:54 | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: