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Beggars are running a game on us

Written By: Terry Foster | July 27, 2011

Filed Under: Life

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.

Do you believe this guy?

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.

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13 Responses to “Beggars are running a game on us”

  1. Chandra Says:

    I personally know of a guy who is a beggar down by the casino… He gets droppped off every morning by his wife in his ESCALADE, with his PRIVATE SCHOOL EDUCATED children strapped in the back seat. All 3 of them. With their Northface Jackets and Back packs. If I could stand looking like a bum I would also choose that 6 hour day rather than a few jobs the rest of us have to go to every day !


  2. Dave Jakes Says:

    I believe the Lord blesses those who try to help, even if we do get scammed sometimes. One scam I witnessed was a guy at a gas station with a “broken down” car asking for money to get it towed. Well, the car sure looked the part. But after he asked every single customer there and nobody gave him anything, we all witnessed a miracle. He got in his broken down car and drove off!


  3. Adam Says:

    I never give money to anyone, I have worked in areas where I see people begging and just go and buy booze or drugs right after they get enough money. You are correct in your assumption that they are just lazy. It frankly pisses me off that money that could be going to people that really need help or assistance is squandered by these dregs of society.


  4. len suarez Says:

    Great topic, everytime I go to a Tigers game we park at the Ford Field structure and walk to comerica. I see the same guy asking for money in the same spot everytime, we always eat someting ez on the way “fastfood”. So I started getting a extra burger and a bottle of water and when he asks I just say here you go!! Everytime he gives the same reaction, like wtf is this??
    Love the show!


  5. Nathan S. Says:

    It’s so hard to know sometimes. That new Michigan bag may just have been someone else’s the day before. I’ve bought a few guys food from time to time and I’m generally a sucker for someone who’s not just sitting there with a cup..

    but back in December I had a young lady in a new-looking northface coat and designer jeans crying hysterically in Heartland (Farmington Hills) at 9pm come up and ask for some gas money because she needed to get home to her kids and her husband had just left and canceled her credit cards. I gave her $10 and she was very thankful. A minute late another lady asked me if I gave her money because she had been following her for 20 minutes and watched her collect about $500.

    Just makes you not want to be generous any more.


    • Terry Foster Says:

      Wow Nathan that is a heck of a story. You got dealt, but guess what? I would have fallen for the same story. A woman in tears gets to me. And it really sounded like you were doing the right thing. The sad thing is if something really happens to someone and they approach you, i bet you wont give them a dime. deception hurts those that really needs it.


  6. Val Says:

    While in Royal Oak, I heard a group of panhandlers comparing the best spots for making money. Moving to metro Detroit was such a revelation because it seems everyone is trying to get over. That being said, I still tend to drop some quarters or a dollar or two. It’s spare change I won’t miss. What if the person is really hungry or in true need? I’d rather err on the side of caution.


    • Terry Foster Says:

      What you say is true val, but we donate to soup kitchens and homeless shelters. That way you believe the money has a better chance of helping somebody out.


  7. Joe Says:

    This is exactly why I do not give to people on the streets. There probably are a few who will go buy food or something they really need, but it is more likely that you are paying for liquor, cigarettes, or drugs. I once gave a guy 10 dollars at a gas station and saw him an hour later walking out of a liquor store with a couple bottles. Donate some money to a charity or bring a bunch of food to a church or soup kitchen. Don’t keep contributing to someone’s habit.


  8. Mirna Says:

    I only give the ciggaretts, they never say no


  9. Ramon Reig Says:

    Hi Terry,

    I am in Miami and I just saw your blog and today when I start researching on the web. Today I realized that almost all the beggar in Miami streets have the same “modus operandis”.

    Every day I see more women or men asking for money with the same characteristics. They dressed the same, even the signs they hold are written for the same person. I have the feeling that behind those people there is an organization, and I think it should be stopped now.


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