Monday, August 13, 2007

Will Work For Food

Homelessness is a problem in our country, and I would not make light of how serious it is. Truth is, most of us aren't more than a few paychecks away from the street, and a lot of folks are out there, and can't find their way home. It is sad. Especially when we are pissing away more dollars than stars in six galaxies on a war in Iraq that shouldn't have ever gotten up and running, and that cannot possibly ever be won, no matter how much money we throw at it.

That said, I sometimes find it hard to believe that the off-ramps on Hwy 217 and the Fred Meyer's all coincidentally always have a trio of panhandlers at peak traffic periods and weekends. The faces change, but there is a sameness about them, and I would not be a bit surprised to find out that the folks who stand there are organized. That a van delivers them in the morning and picks them up in the evening, and that the driver, or whoever sent him, gets a cut of the action.

Recently, I saw a transaction just ahead of me that I found interesting. Guy in a truck stopped, waved the sign-holder over, and passed him a bottle of beer. Got a great grin from the panhandler -- shoot, he cut out the middle-man.

Democracy in action ...


Dan Moran said...

I've been homeless and I've worked with homeless people -- if you're worried about being scammed by the cults who plant "homeless" at, fyi -- real homeless people have dirty shoes. A tidy homeless person may have clean clothes on -- but their shoes will be dirty. This isn't a 100% rule but it's the best one I know for sorting real from scam.

Steve Perry said...

Thanks for the tip, Dan. I've never been homeless, though we were passing poor as hippies. Always managed to have enough for rent, and once we had children, work was always in the cards.

For a couple years, my wife and I volunteered at a Salvation Army shelter for street kids, mostly serving food and talking to them.

There were a lot of clothes donations. The kids could come in, pick out new shirts, shoes, coats, like that. What struck me what that most of them would wear an outfit until it got dirty, then just toss it and put on a new one. There was a washer and dryer at the place, now closed, called Greenhouse, but only a few of the kids used them.

They all liked ranch dressing, and they all smoked like chimneys.

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm a liberal, and I typically agree with the "hard times" idea.

But I'm hiring, and I've been trying to find employees for an easy office job for which I'm paying $10-15 hourly.

Can't find anybody.