I was strolling the main drag in Royal Oak when I noticed a man and a woman sitting by the side of the road facing foot traffic. They claimed to be poor and homeless and held a tiny sign begging for money.
When you looked at their clothes they looked homeless. They both looked like life had given them a raw deal. I just wasn’t buying their story. I walked past and did not give them anything. There were signs of scam. There was the fresh and clean University of Michigan back pack and stacked suit cases. They looked more like a couple waiting for Delta Flight 484 than needing money.
I am a sucker for wanting to help people, but I am convinced that begging for money is a multi-million dollar industry for lazy people who don’t want to look for work. The people who suffer are the ones that really need help. They are folks that are injured, mentally challenged and legitimately have society’s foot pressing on their necks.
But you don’t know who is legit and who is running a scam. I have fallen for scams and give less and less.
One of the biggest scams is the guy in the parking lot who needs $5.85 for an auto part so he can fix his car. He gives and exact amount because it makes the story sound better and he knows you are going to give him a $10 or $20 bill and tell him to keep the change. This is the high roller beggar. He does not want pennies. He wants to get paid.
The food scam is a good one. The person says they want money for food. I offered to take a guy into a Burger King who was begging for food and get him whatever he wanted. He refused.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. Do you think he wanted that money for something else? Maybe drugs or booze?
I saw one beggar with a baby having lunch at an expensive outdoor cafe a few blocks away. I think this was her lunch break from ripping people off.
I still give to people with missing body parts. I figure that poor SOB has really had a rough go of it in life and needs help. I sometimes even think that is a scam. He might have a blue screen that only makes it like he is missing a couple arms and a leg. Who knows.
People always complain about the beggars in Detroit. You haven’t seen anything yet. Check out the beggars in Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco. They give new meaning to the term moble home community.
My son Brandon is curious about beggars. He asks a million questions and I always tell him that if he doesn’t get his education that will be him some day.
I hope he listens.