Monday, 24 August 2009

Begging, the Dole, or an Honest Day's Work?

In the Daily Tele just the other day, there was this story about a guy who can earn $400 a day begging. Apparently he's not the only one. Slow days are when he clears about $75 or $150, but he's "disappointed" when he clears only $250. That's his standard.

He says he puts it in a bank account and he's saving for a friend who needs a liver transplant.

Now this story provoked outrage, plenty of people answered with declarations that they weren't going to pay the guy another cent, he was a leech and an idiot and he should get a job and why couldn't he pay rent and get off the streets.

My guess is many people were so mad because they felt they have been conned by him or others like him before, and they're mad because they don't clear money like that by what they think is 'easy money'. Though if you think sitting in shabby clothes on your bum in the street is fun, I'd think again.

And if you think it's easy money sitting around for 16 hours doing nothing ... well I can assure you it's not. My last job at the Industrial Relations Commission involved me sitting around doing nothing for long periods. I found it physically taxing and I wasn't earning $400 a day. I resigned and have less income than even there but it's a relief to be out of the sitting-on-butt business. Truly - sitting around all day isn't that great! I couldn't do it myself.

Others expressed the view that the guy should be paying tax, or that 'at least it was better than going on the dole'.

Anyhow, I don't know about tax, because if you're just giving him a bit of a donation, I don't know about that. Either way I wouldn't be paying tax if I could avoid it. I wonder if he has evaded birth and death too?

As for the guy being a leech on society, it seems that many people have forgotten that begging means that you choose to give someone something - albeit for nothing, or some might say, because they have inspired you or injected you with a feeling. It's a vague contract you make with them except they use guilt as a lever and don't give anything back that's solid except relief of that guilt. Or maybe self-image, or whatever.

Cake-sellers give you a cake in exchange for your bucks, but beggars just make you feel like you've done the right thing. Neither forces you to give anything. If you want them to die on the streets (or go bankrupt, whatever) just let them alone!

The last comparisons were the comparison of begging to the dole and to an 'honest job'. Not surprisingly, most people thought it was better for a person to 'get a job' than beg, not for his own sake but as if it were obligatory for him to do so. Many said it was 'good he wasn't on the dole' but some also talked about 'poor pensioners' who were taken in by his crap ... so there seemed to be a discrimination between pensioners and those on the dole (or different people feeling very differently about those on welfare, with the dole having bad connotations, but pensioners not having such a bad connotation. It's a lesson as to how to describe yourself if you're on welfare.)

It's also a lesson as to how to describe yourself if you've got a job. Remember, it's an honest job.

I'm not exactly sure what the heck a DIS honest job is. Professional liar? Working in advertising and political speech writing?

Anyhow, while we can parade our honest jobs, or some people can, I'm not exactly so sure why it's so great to have an honest job rather than to beg. Apart from the fact that you are obliged to pay taxes.

In both cases, someone agrees to pay you money. And when you think about it, some so-called honest jobs are pretty useless in function. Probably as useless as if you sat on your bum in the street. It's one of the reasons I've been disillusioned about many of the jobs I've read about, I feel like I am going to file files in a drawer that noone is ever going to look at again, shuffle paper off in a drawer that won't be seen again, pass paper to Mr B from Ms A which could have been passed directly from A to B if they had taken two seconds longer to do it, blah blah. It's boring boring crap!!!!!!!!


And yet that is what a lot of clerk like jobs are like, in my head I reason the main difference between them and not doing the job and letting the office run itself is someone actually pays you if you agree to do it. I didn't exactly feel like I was contributing to society at all. I just felt like someone thought I was.* And that was the reason to do the job.

Oh and someone will say you have an honest job and you are not a bludger.

So is the distasteful thing about people on the dole and begging is that they are collecting money and not only are they not doing anything but they also have been found out that they aren't doing anything?

As for begging and not being a dole bludger, basically, what's so great about saying at least you are not one but you are the other?

When you beg you play on someone's conscience or their image or their feeling of obligation or whatever. Many would call it a con. However, it depends on the day as to how much you are likely to get, and no one is obliged to give you a cent. There is however no cap on your limit, and you make a direct 'contract' with your contributors.

With a dole your claim is made to the State, not individuals in the street, and it's based on principles that assumedly Society agrees to/regulations that we agree to be governed under. And everyone's entitled to claim, but you have to make a disclosure under them and your receivable amount is capped.

Is it so much more principled to try one and not the other, and which one? I guess it depends on your principles.

*By the way I write this believing that many people who go on about their honest jobs do boring jobs that have very little impact on the world, like mine. On the other hand there are people whose jobs do have an impact on other people and if they don't turn up to work everyone gets frantic, or if they hadn't done their job ever, we'd be living in a world made of Stilton Cheese Towers and sipping funny green mucous speaking in beeps. Those people we have to thank for making the world we live in today possible. Not that a cheese tower wouldn't be interesting, for a holiday anyhow.


Maria said...

I was just looking at this article on An Onymous Lefty, some comparisons to tips and charities as begging too.

It raises the question what constitues begging? And what's so 'poor' about it?

Of course waiters etc provide a service(well they're supposed to!) but in the end if the charge isn't built in and they are asking for tips then some may go on about begging because they feel like they're being guilt-tripped to throw the few extra bucks in. And there is not a set charge.

And charities are beggars too, basically using another conscience trip to get your cash, except people don't like to use the same tag for them because they want to see charities as doing good work so want to basket them differently. Instead of looking at how they get the money, it's what it is eventually used for that seems to concern people. (Of course many charities have to be set up in a certain way that is quite different from your person who asks for a dollar for a coffee. But a charity, unless it's selling you a pen on a special day, is basically asking you to give your money to their cause. When a beggar asks they're saying give me money for my cause. It's just their cause is very very individual, like, I want a burger, rather than I am going to research cancer)

Anonymous Bosch said...

Clearly, begging is a service industry, which provides those customers who choose to avail themselves of it with the mental health benefit of the satisfaction of altruism. It really becomes a problem when the service providers get a little too aggressive in the pursuit of prospective customers, though.

Maria said...

Maybe a sign that says "Leave your guilt with me! I will look after it for $10 an hour!" or something.

I once saw a beggar who had in his little kitty a $100 note. I thought maybe it was the lure, you know, a rich beggar who had thrown a $100 note into his box to try to persuade others to throw in large amounts as well, and I thought it might have been a good idea but pretty hopeful.

After all, how many people walk home and think "Oh, here's a $100 note I can give away! I have no use for it!"

Heck, if you can I am willing to take it off you!

But after reading this story I am thinking maybe there are plenty of beggars who get $100 notes. Maybe it's the usual.

Maria said...

I remember reading some stories about beggars, some people go on about how you should always give money to them and others how you should never, blah blah.

I have given to a few beggars, but I am not a regular. I haven't liked a few times when I have given to a couple of kids and then I saw them run off to the newsagency to buy something, probably lollies or a magazine.

Anyhow I remember some people saying if beggars are, like some claim, really hard up and starving they would take anything, any food. They wouldn't be picky. If they can afford to be picky then you can afford to not give them money!

For instance some said that perhaps you should offer to buy them a cheap meal instead of giving them money. If they refuse then most likely they are lazy, or picky or saving it for booze or drugs or something. If they are genuinely hungry like they say they would take your offer even if the food is cheap.

I remember someone commenting that they had tried this ploy once and pointed to a fast food joint and offered to buy the beggar a meal there. The beggar replied, "No thanks, the food there isn't very good."

Picky beggar!

Maria said...

Perhaps we could all go politically correct and call it a new negotiating tactic.

Some self-help books could add it to their lists of negotiating tactics, along with the win-win, the compromise, blah blah, they'd have the "beg, or abject grovel, or guilt-trip".

I am not begging for your money. I am jut employing a strategy to negotiate an arrangement with your money between us. Hmmm hmmm.

R.H. said...

I've never given beggars a thing -not even to the experts in California. In fact I screamed at a bloke in California who'd got me twice, as I walked down a street and came back, the 'begging' becomes automatic, part of their being, they don't even look at the people they're pestering. The welfare system there is bad, so they've got some excuse, it's much better here, and they're all on welfare here anyway. It's a racket. And a standover at times. I get annoyed hearing people have been insulted by these sponges. If it happened to me I'd thump them, no worries.

R.H. said...

It's just another scam -from Scam-Central: California. They've got cardboard squares over there with a spiel on them: "Lost my job, kids to support, please help..."

Only one really interested me: "No story, no crap, I just want a beer."

Maria said...

I passed one once and thought to give one a muesli bar.

But then I thought he looked pretty fat.

It's funny how some of them going on about starving but they are so fat. I know health experts go on about how sitting on your butt slows your metabolism but surely if the fat comes from somewhere. If you are really starving it would have to disappear after a while. No, I am sure they are eating somehow. Just probably pretty low quality stuff.

Fresh fruit and a gym membership, the fatties should be begging for.

Maybe they could create a "The Biggest Loser Hobo" Reality show.

I wonder if that is stretching reality tv a bit far?

Winner gets off the streets? At least all the contestants would live in a house togethefor the duration for the show!

Imagine the fuss when they have to vote one of the team "out of the house and back to your bench in the park" at the end of each episode!!!

Maria said...

Ahhh - forgive typos in above comment. Please do the 'you know what I mean'. I was typing fast and typing over stuff in bits :) Some bits came out ... incorrectly. But I think the gist is there.