July 5, 2009

4th of July


Unfortunately for all, it wasn't until after I retrieved the hot dogs from the grill this afternoon that I remembered that I didn't have any buns. Faced with such bad fortune, I left my family to fight over a bag of potato chips and a liter of grape soda while I ran to the nearest grocery store to purchase the ingredient needed to complete our healthy meal.

I was in the process of weighing the merits of whole wheat sandwich rolls when a man in his mid-forties approached me from behind and tapped me on the shoulder. There wasn't anything overtly wrong with this man other than the fact that he was wearing mid-thigh running shorts and penny loafers without socks.

"Can I borrow a couple of dollars?" he asked.

The details of exactly when and how the man would repay the debt were a little fuzzy, so I declined. To his credit, the man didn't seem upset with my refusal. The last I saw of him, he was headed in the direction of the T.V. dinners.

A few minutes later, I was in the checkout line when I overheard the woman in line in front of me tell the cashier that a strange man had solicited her for loose change in the produce aisle. Eager to be included on the list of potential victims, I piped up that I had a similar encounter with a man matching the woman's description on the other side of the store.

To make a long story short, the cashier summoned the store manager, who in turn called security, who appeared in the form of a bald Goliath with biceps as big as my waist. The Goliath barged out the front office and made a beeline for the frozen food aisle. The lady in line in front of me had a dinner party starting in thirty minutes and I had a platter of charred frankfurters that were in the process of shriveling and shedding their skins, but we both decided that the action taking place on aisle three far outweighed in importance and excitement the obligations we had to our families and friends.

The woman and I began to head down one aisle when the ill-dressed man shot out of another, carrying a carton of Neapolitan ice cream under his arm. He made his way to the 10 items or less line, where he paid for his purchase in quarters and dimes.

"You have to admire his perseverance," the woman noted.
I had to agree.

I was even more impressed with the man's commitment to his cause when I noticed the wad of small bills protruding from his pant's pocket.

16 comments

Kamity said...

Yikes. That reminds me of a few years ago when some guy solicited me in the Smith's parking lot to buy him beer. He told me he'd been in a coma for the past 20 years and was amazed by cell phones. He then asked if I could buy him beer. "I can't buy you beer; I'm not over 21." I said. "I am!" he cheerfully announced.

Unfortunately my fiancee had mono at the time. We were headed to the pharmacy to get him antibiotics and he was too sick to know what was going on. I had to fend for myself against Creepy Soliticing Guy in the Parking Lot.

Kaci said...

Wow! What is wrong with people! I always just get the Jesus Saves creepos. I once told a guy yes I know it's great huh! That threw him for a loop.

Foursons said...

I never even imagined....

Leadia Jarvis said...

You were in the presence of a true American. A patriot, practically. It's the American way to let others pay for your needs. And oddly, these same folks will "work" their buts off to make it happen. Next time raise a salute and thank him for playing a role in what makes our country great ;)

Jennifer said...

Ick!! That's why I like shopping with my kids. I'm always distracted and no one talks to me. That's the way I like it.camache

Vanessa said...

Ha! Honestly I hope they let him keep the mula! He worked for it ;)

Diva Ma @ Mommy Fabulous said...

Omg! That gives beggers a bad name. I've been looking for a side gig and by-golly this one may just work!

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Okay, so I have to ask...

Did you say to him,
"Is that a wad of bills in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

ba-dum-bum.

Anonymous said...

wow. are you for real that you were SO inconvenienced by this man asking to borrow "a couple of dollars" that you would force your family to wait longer for their dinner so that you could point him out to a grocery store security goon? WOW.

OBVIOUSLY he is what is wrong with america.

Renee said...

Jesus said we should feed the hungry. He did not say we should decide if they are really hungry or not. I too am surprised that someone asking to borrow a couple of dollars in a food store would be something you would need to tell security about. Heaven forbid he might actually be hungry. Maybe the bills in his pocket we what he had collected from some generous person in the store. Who knows? When people ask for help, I try to give it. If they are scamming me, that's between them and God. I am just going to follow HIS instruction to helps those in need. But how judgemental and snarky of you. I think you earned you your blog title today. Just sub person for mom.

Meagan and John said...

I love when people anonymously leave neggative comments--not man enough to fess up who said it, I also love how people like to point out how God says though shalt not judge and point out how wrong you were to judge somebody

Good thing I pride myself on being humble so I would never point out someones wrong doings.

Honestly, I use to have people like this come up to me all the time, once a dude followed me out to my car, in a dark parking lot to ask me again for money--not cool at all, I was a lone and very freaked out by the situation, not because I was being judgmental but because I was a young femals, alone, walking out to my car at night and a dude was following me, I wish I would have only had the brains to get security out on him.

A lot of people on the streets asking for money either have more money than I do or they have mental problems, and after working with a lot of schizophrinics and other types of mental disorders I realize the last thing I need is one of them to "snap" on me because I don't have a few dollars--trust me I don't

Way to go jana for getting him removed from the store--he doesn't need to be approxing random women asking for money--even if he did need them, there are organizations out there to help people who really need it

Vicky Kendrick said...

I agree with Jana for reporting him to the security. I live in Chicago and many times bums ask for money and being a student, I didnot have enough money. One time a bum threw an empty beer bottle at me for not giving him money and the bottle broke and all the glass flew just a couple of feet from my feet. I was so scared and shaken. I cried all the way home. One of friend got beaten up by a beggar even after she gave him money. I would definetely report a beggar soliciting inside a store especially if I am alone.

Janille said...

Listen, I have a friend who decided to be "homeless" for a year all over America and see what really went on and he said that 95% of these people are homeless by choice - they simply don't want to have a job, etc. They like getting other people to pay for things for them.

Beggars at Salt Lake City Temple Square were interviewed - they treated begging like a job, often had other means of income, they just liked seeing what they could get out of people visiting a religious site. They bragged about it.

My sister lived in D.C. and was constantly harassed by homeless people on her way to and from work every day.

I don't ever give money to strangers - women should NEVER do it, especially by themselves, or with their children. People are crazy and assaults happen in parking lots. You were right to report him. There are plenty of organizations supported by tax dollars or church dollars that help people with food and housing.

Renee said...

No one said YOU have to give them anything, oh wait, just Jesus. But really, in a grocery store, well-lit, daytime? Why turn him into security? Just say no and move along.

Anonymous said...

lol - well put, renee. this is so NIMBY.

Anonymous said...

A lot of people who ask for money do already have it as the man in the grocery store did. I take my son to Barnes & Noble often to see storytime and play with the trains. There is always the same woman asking for money with the same story. She just moved last week, works at a puppy shelter that did not pay her, and her daughter is waiting for her in the store to eat. She has asked me for money more than once, so it is obvious she encounters so many people she does not recognize me as I do her. It is ashame because when people really do need money others are not going to believe them because of these scams.