Aug 4th, 2003

Panhandling for Fun and Profit

This should probably go to the rants section of my site, and not linger here in the blog world, but you know, it's on my mind now.

What happened to car washes and bake sales and even those horrible candy sales and wrapping paper sales as a means of teaching children to work for their money?

Back in my day, which was, granted, somewhere along the year God invented dirt, if the school band needed money to go to a marching band competition (and lord knows, THAT wasn't very likely in my high school), all the band members got together with the sponsor/teacher and went to a gas station and held a car wash. The cute girls stood on the side of the road in their bikinis, holding hand made signs offering to wash your car for a buck or five.

There were plenty of dusty cars, and much more splashing and bonding and general horsing around and everyone had a great time and money was made. Earned.

Maybe the band mothers baked brownies and cookies and you held a bake sale on the school grounds or out side of the local grocery store.

In any event, the students did something to earn the money they were asking for. But no more. If I see one more group of kids standing in the middle of traffic, under the watchful eye of their personal Fagen, holding out a cup asking for spare change, I am going to just lose it.

I've already started offending little Boy Scouts when they hold their little mitts out at the grocery store and ask for change. (Not even the decency to sell yummy cookies like the Girl Scouts.) I'll squat down to get eye to eye with them, and then I'll tell them, that , no, they won't be getting change from me because the Boy Scouts of America don't allow little gay Boy Scouts and that kind of prejudice is unacceptable to me and my money. And the adult in charge just looks daggers at me and has to explain.

But this begging thing has gone too far. It was one thing when it was a bunch of hunky firemen holding out a big rubber boot. Gimmicky, clever and infrequent. But the weekly barrage of begging children, asking for money for new soccer balls, or uniforms, or what ever is just too much. And half of these aren't even school sponsored, they are community-based leagues.

Well correct my crabby ass if I'm wrong, but if Mommy and Daddy are putting their kids into an after school sports league, isn't it their responsiblity to buy the freaking soccer balls?

And what about standing in the middle of US-1? What responsible adult thinks sticking teenagers and even younger kids in a busy 6-lane intersection is a good idea? With their hands out, asking for spare change.

I say no. Even the bums under the bridges offer to wipe a filthy rag across my windshield in exchange for a quarter. You want to teach kids the value of money? Make them work for it, not beg for it.