Wednesday, January 11, 2006

You've been scammed

The weather is wonderful and you're about to get on to or off of a major highway. The traffic light ahead changes signaling STOP, and a line of vehicle begins

As you sit there waiting you notice an adult standing there holding a sign that reads, WILL WORK FOR FOOD. If it's a guy it might be, DISABLED VET: WILL WORK FOR FOOD. If a gal is holding the sign, she might have a couple of young kids there with her.

It tugs at your heartstrings. It calls upon your conscience. There but for the grace of God go I.

They're willing to work! He served in the military defending us! And now, they're reduced to begging for food!!!

It could be me standing there! Or my kids!

Drivers motion, open their windows, drop money into the outstretched hand feeling better about themselves after they pull away when the light changes. Even if it's only in some small way they've helped a truly deserving person.

They've also just been scammed.

Have you ever noticed that you never see them working when the weather's bad? Did you ever happen to notice an expensive, late-model vehicle tucked just out of sight sitting there empty?

Unless law enforcement tells them to move along or they'll get busted for loitering, there's really nothing illegal about what these shysters are doing. They're don't threaten and are invariably polite saying "Thank you!" "God bless you!" or some such.

They stand there on the roadsides holding up their advertisement and people just give them money for doing so.

You go to work. So do they, but because they don't have to worry about any of that messy paperwork IRS requires, what they earn is completely tax free. And since there's no paperwork to show they have any income at all, they might even qualify for public assistance.

[B]egging can be lucrative. [Pancoast] claims the family sometimes makes $300 a day asking for money and has made as much as $800. The family also receives $500 a month in food stamps.
More here.

NOTE: Before I retired I spent mumble-something years in and around social services. I've never given any of ‘em a dime. Instead of money, I did give out my business card telling them to call me directly. Rather than trying to get through the always clogged appointment line, I'd get ‘em an "Next Day" appointment with our workfare program.

I never heard from a one of ‘em which really didn't surprise me since as I pulled away, I watched in my rearview mirror as they threw my card on the ground in disgust.

NOTE 2: About the same time local law enforcement developed a much stronger stance in dealing with the "Roadside Advertisers" here after one "Executive" killed another one who'd made the mistake of trespassing on his very lucrative territory.


Blogger Mark said...

After what I just went through (see latest post)I would be tempted to join these yo-yo's but I HAVE TOO MUCH SELF-ESTEEM!

Get some pride.

I don't give anyone a nickel either. I offer to buy them food or i direct them to organizations that give food and hard goods to the needy for the asking.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Joe said...

Your entry reminds me of something that happened some years ago. I was at a gas station/convenience store on Blanding Blvd. next to Youngerman Circle, just off I-295. There was a guy standing at the intersection with a "will work for food" sign. He looked perfectly capable of working; he looked about in his mid-40s, tall, with no apparent physical infirmities. This was in the late 1980s when we were allegedly in the midst of the first Bush's horrible economy, and no one really through the guy was all that unusual.

I was pumping gas into my car and noticed the guy. He was occasionally offered some money, which he took. I wnet inside to pay for the gas, and as I walked back to my car, I noticed he was crossing Youngerman toward the convenience store. I entered my car and was about to drive away when I noticed he was walking behind the store. This piqued my curiosity, since there was nothing back there except a driveway that circled around the building.

I slowly drove around the back of the store and noticed him climbing into a really nice late-model pickup. I'm talking nice -- about two years old, not a scratch, gun rack, toolbox in the bed, really sweet. Far nicer than the old car I was driving back then.

That disgusted me so much, I never gave a dime to any of those scammers again. On a couple of occasions, I've rolled down the window and offered them some work cutting my grass. Usually, they just laugh at you.

3:07 PM  
Blogger doyle said...

As soon as Desert Storm started, Joe, that when the signs changed to include Disabled Vet.

Dumb these folk ain't.

I never offered to buy 'em a darned thing, Mark. That would have meant I'd have had to either take 'em or meet 'em somewhere. The only other alternative would to be buy it and take it back to them.

While most are just scammers, I'm not going to put myself at risk because of the rather <polite cough> colorful backgrounds some have.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

"I never offered to buy 'em a darned thing, Mark."

I have yet to have one say "Okay, I'd like a sandwhich". Because THEY AREN'T HUNGRY, as you so keenly pointed out!

As far as the work thing goes, why would you want one of them at your house, Joe?

Remember the girl in Utah, can't remember her name who was kidnapped because her MILLIONNAIRE IDIOT father was dragging these dipshits home to work on his house for food?

Funny t-shirt I saw: Bill Clinton with a sign: "Will Work For Head".

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Joe said...


Fear not. I would never let any of these bums near my home...I'm just interested in their reaction to the offer, especially if they have a "will work..." sign.

Besides, my wife would never let me hire one of them. Doing yard work is sometimes the only excercise I get.

1:48 PM  
Blogger doyle said...

Joe's a fellow former Lon Gailander, Mark, so I knew what he was saying. We speaka da same lingo.

The kidnapped girl's name is Elizabeth Smart.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Yeah, Smart. Which her father wasn't. Hey, Joe, you want to come out to California and cut my grass? I'll buy you a hotdog and a coke! LOL

1:30 PM  

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