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We’ve all done it: you step off a train or busy street corner, and the first thing to greet you is an outstretched arm holding a paper cup.
You know what’s coming next; the person asking begs for spare change as they stare into your eyes.
We often don’t like to linger in such uncomfortable situations, either tossing over some coins from our wallet or politely shaking our head.
But have you ever wondered how other people really react when asked for cash donations?
In this article, we will explore some of the most cringeworthy replies that people have shared, revealing just how strange giving can be!
1. One Step Away From Their Shoes
Some people we completely real with their answer.
They explained that their finances aren’t great and while it may appear they have some money, they are really one mistake or accident away from financial ruin.
2. Give Them Gift Cards
Have unwanted gift cards taking up space?
Some people give them to the homeless to use.
Whether it’s to a fast food restaurant for a meal, or Walmart to get a jacket, a gift card can be a game changer to someone in need.
3. Give Them Spare Change
When parting with physical dollar bills seems too much, many people are happy to hand over any spare change in their pockets or car.
Thankfully, these small microtransactions add up for the average homeless person over time. It’s better than giving nothing, right?
4. Being Stern but Polite
Sometimes a stern “no” goes a long way. Whether you have the money to spare or not, some people confess to not giving homeless people money ever, out of principle.
These people admit they say “no” and keep walking, not allowing the person to engage them in a conversation where they may feel pressured to give them money.
5. Offer Food Instead
For many people, they would instead give homeless people food than money. However, it doesn’t always work out the way they imagined.
“I had a guy panhandling on the corner of a shopping center I was going to,” recalls one man. “I stopped at Wendy’s, doubled my order, and gave him the second half. He got mad and told me he was there for cash, not food, so now I don’t waste my time with those folks.
6. Offer a Few Dollars
Many people are happy to give a few dollars if they are approached kindly and respectfully. It’s their way of paying it forward in a sense.
“If I have cash, I might toss them a few bucks,” reveals one woman. “Don’t really care if they use it for food, drugs, or whatever; just be happy, my friend. If I don’t have money, I just tell them I got nothing.”
7. Be Sarcastic
Some people aren’t the kindest men and women in the world; thus, they confess they take a sarcastic approach to denying homeless people’s requests.
“If you see them coming, ask them for a dollar first,” advises one man. “You get the best reactions and confused looks.”
8. Saying, “Sorry, No Cash”
With many transactions moving away from cold, hard cash, sometimes honesty is the best approach when people get approached for money.
Simply saying, “Sorry, I don’t have any cash on me,” works because it’s true. However, don’t be surprised if homeless people follow up with, “That’s okay; I have Venmo!”
9. Ignore Them
Unfortunately, like many things in society we don’t want to see or interact with, many people admit they ignore panhandlers and homeless people begging for money.
“Out of sight, out of mind” is how millions of Americans choose to deal with the homeless problem on a personal level, which is something that sadly won’t change anytime soon.
10. The Pocket Patdown
Countless people, myself included, utilize the tried-and-true method of patting your pockets as you walk as you mumble a quiet “Sorry” in their direction.
It’s the best way to distance yourself from the situation while making the least effort possible. This method isn’t pretty, but it’s effective.
11. Give Them as Much as You Can Afford
For particularly wealthy people, they have no problem giving homeless people as much as they can afford.
Many people recall times when they decided to change a homeless person’s life by rewarding them with a large sum of money. Having this kind of expendable income is something I wish I had!
12. The Death Stare
For anyone constantly encountering homeless people begging for money, sometimes matching their aggression is the best action plan.
“I don’t make eye contact and ignore them,” explains one woman. “If they continue to try to engage me, I give them a death stare and a firm no. Sorry if that makes me a jerk, but being a female, I’ve learned to look like I’m more trouble than I’m worth after multiple instances of attempted assault.”
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This thread inspired this article.
I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.