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  #61  
Old 05.12.2009, 15:13
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Please think about, don't simply thumb me down. It's soon X-mas, I call on you to invite one of those miserable people to your homes, the place where charity begins.
I think the meaning of charity begins at home, is that you should treat those who live with you like you would like to be treated, then doing the same thing with strangers will be easier. Not that you should invite beggars into your home, of course you can do as you please.

I applaud your 'values' but I do not think it is even polite to try to impose them onto others. As many people have expressed here, even though there are people in deep trouble, the majority of beggars could get a job and live what we call a 'normal' life.
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  #62  
Old 05.12.2009, 15:42
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Re: This thread is disgusting

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Many beggars are deceitful
Many people are deceitful...I don't get your point. Absolutely, a lot of people who seem homeless actually aren't. Sometimes the money goes elsewhere. I think most people can judge whether a person is needy or not (you won't always get it right, but then you'll just have to live with someone who isn't as poor as you thought taking your two francs).

Anyway, telling someone to get off his high horse is a little ridiculous - this is a highly emotive subject for some and I'm sure you'd be on the highest of horses if a thread touched on a subject that was emotive for you and people reacted flippantly.

I remember once I was on Camden Road with friends and we saw a homeless man with his dog. I wanted to give some money and a friend stopped me saying that there were shelters he could go to if he wanted. So I walked up to him and asked him. This turned into a 40 minute conversation - apparently there was only one small shelter in London that allows dogs - getting in was like winning the lottery. So he either slept on the streets or abandoned his only friend. All is not as it seems, and this thread is possibly the tallest ivory tower I've seen.
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  #63  
Old 05.12.2009, 15:45
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the majority of beggars could get a job and live what we call a 'normal' life.
Yes this must be true. They've probably dreamt of sleeping in soggy cardboard since they were toddlers.
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  #64  
Old 05.12.2009, 16:01
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Many people are deceitful...
Here I agree with you.
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  #65  
Old 05.12.2009, 16:08
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Re: Beggars on the streets

I think some people might have misunderstood my point at starting this thread, which was that I was amazed to see so many beggars in one specific point of Basel, which is not really a poor or dangerous area in particular.
Whether people give money or not is a personal issue and if they want to discuss it great. Some of us feel intimidated when we are asked for money, I am afraid because I come from a country where if you dont give money you will get insulted or robbed in many instances. I was once spat at by a young child (about 8-9) because I did not want to give him my bag of groceries...I usually give money if i have it in my pockets but not if it means I will have to open my wallet. Many might think my experience is not relevant, but it is relevant to me and I am the only who can live my life and make decisions and take responsability for it.
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  #66  
Old 05.12.2009, 17:00
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Re: Beggars on the streets

Has anyone seen the film "The Pursuit of Happiness" starring Will Smith? I know its a Hollywood film but the incident where he and his son had to literally fight for a place to sleep at night at one of the shelters is accurate - similar to what economisto described as well. Over Christmas one year, some of us students didnt go home for Christmas and cooked a huge batch of pasta and went out on the high street to pass them out. We couldnt afford to give them money but a warm meal was really welcomed. During one of the chats, I asked the bloke why he wasnt in a shelter on Christmas eve, he simply said there wasnt any space.

I dont think any of us here are viciously making fun of the homeless or beggers and trying to think of clever quips to tell them that we arent giving them money but there are just too many deceitful people out there who'll spin sob stories just to earn a quid or two off you, use your money for other things than the basic necessities to keep them afloat (alcohol is not a basic necessity). Not to mention the organised crime gangs who kidnap children, blind them or chop of their limbs, steal babies and dump it into the hands of 8 year old little girls for the day, to beg for money - which is rampant in developing countries like India, Cambodia and even places like Italy.

zurihegel, I admire your work as a social worker and no one is disagreeing with you that there are real destitute cases out there, but dont have a go at us for being safe than sorry, or rather shall I say, cynical.
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  #67  
Old 05.12.2009, 17:41
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Re: This thread is disgusting

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Many people are deceitful...I don't get your point.
The point is im not going to give my money to someone who I don't know really needs it or not. You say it's "easy to judge" but it's not at all... many beggars make a living off of convincing people they are much worse off than they actually are. Saying people are deceitful... of course that can be applied generally but we are talking specifically about beggars here so I find that a moot point. Of course not all would be deceitful... but if I can't tell then i'm not going to give money.

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zurihegel, I admire your work as a social worker and no one is disagreeing with you that there are real destitute cases out there, but dont have a go at us for being safe than sorry, or rather shall I say, cynical.
Precisely.
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  #68  
Old 05.12.2009, 17:47
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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Over Christmas one year, some of us students didnt go home for Christmas and cooked a huge batch of pasta and went out on the high street to pass them out. We couldnt afford to give them money but a warm meal was really welcomed.
Oh wow! How timely is this?! I've just been sitting here trying to think what I can do with all this soup...
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  #69  
Old 05.12.2009, 17:51
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Re: This thread is disgusting

I agree with most posts. If people want to beg then fine. Just dont expect me to like it. In Geneva there are loads of beggars outside of supermarkets who seem like they know one line and repeat it all day long. No way im giving you money. At least they are not pushy.
In the centre of town also there are loads of beggars who dont just sit there. Most of them play music (badly i admit) but at least they do something (entairtaining (?) in this case)
Point is, if you want people to give you money then do something in return. Even teach that dog you carry around with you to do tricks. I would give a franc or two in this case.
But still most beggars are just fakes. Dont they have any dignity? Ok i admit that some people do need to beg (why they are still in the 4th most expensive city in the world i dont know though) but thats just a small percentage
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  #70  
Old 05.12.2009, 18:12
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Re: This thread is disgusting

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Ok i admit that some people do need to beg (why they are still in the 4th most expensive city in the world i dont know though) but thats just a small percentage
i suppose its not as easy as scrounging up enough cash to catch a greyhound bus to socal. but at least the homeless people there ask for spare change, and dont specify that they want 5 chf.

i treat this situation as i do any other situation where i am disturbed for the sake of money...people knocking on my door selling magazines, people calling while im eating dinner trying to sell stuff, people in the train handing me some paper then coming back hoping for cash... i get genuinely pissed off! and as a general rule of thumb, i never give money to people who **** me off.
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  #71  
Old 05.12.2009, 18:14
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Re: This thread is disgusting

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i treat this situation as i do any other situation where i am disturbed for the sake of money...people knocking on my door selling magazines, people calling while im eating dinner trying to sell stuff, people in the train handing me some paper then coming back hoping for cash... i get genuinely pissed off! and as a general rule of thumb, i never give money to people who **** me off.
I am exactly the same in that respect.
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  #72  
Old 05.12.2009, 18:27
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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Hi Guys,

I started this thread not as a real complaint but more because of true concern. I came from the doctor today and got of tram 11 at the Johaniterbrucke stop (in Basel). I was approached by a decently dressed guy with the famous Entchuldigung! and then he proceeded to ask for money. I played dumb and walked across the road. This is the 5th or 7th time that I was approached by 'beggars' that are most of the times well dressed, the weird thing is that it is always at the Johaniterbrucke stop.
Does this happen in other places in CH? I was apporached is NL a couple of times in Rotterdam, by junkies but I lived there for 6 years, I have been living here for 4 months!!!Oh well, maybe I moved to the wrong area of Basel...but otherwise I honestly love it...

Cheers!
It hasn't happened to me in this part of the world as much as elsewhere it has. Probably you can blame the economic crisis effect and other factors which are not exclusive to other countries but also Switzerland. But in your case it is most likely just a common scam or sometimes even it turns out to be a racket.

I was more surprised by some "decently dressed blokes" who would ask me for a spare coin at Lidl or Aldi next to the chain of baskets. I struggle to find a small change in my own wallet myself, not talking about having a spare penny for strangers.
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  #73  
Old 05.12.2009, 18:41
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Re: This thread is disgusting

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people knocking on my door selling magazines, people calling while im eating dinner trying to sell stuff, people in the train handing me some paper then coming back hoping for cash... i get genuinely pissed off! and as a general rule of thumb, i never give money to people who **** me off.
Its really not easy going from door to door trying to sell stuff, especially yucky cookies that you have to say are delish even though they are not. Were you ever a brownie? I tend to be more patient with door-to-door salesmen (over Jehovahs witnesses, carol singers....) until they start getting pushy.

The paper incident happened to me on an S bahn to I-cant-remember-where. I was really taken aback when this girl shoved a piece of paper in front of me and I managed to figure out with my almost non-existent German that she was asking for donations to help her sick daughter. She was wearing a designer jacket and belt, nicely manicured nails...

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa right.

A few moments later, she came back and looked at me expectantly. Snatched that piece of paper back when I smiled and said no. *huffs*
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  #74  
Old 05.12.2009, 18:44
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.

The paper incident happened to me on an S bahn to I-cant-remember-where. I was really taken aback when this girl shoved a piece of paper in front of me and I managed to figure out with my almost non-existent German that she was asking for donations to help her sick daughter. She was wearing a designer jacket and belt.
This is a well known scam, seen it everywhere from Italy to Peru.
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Old 05.12.2009, 18:45
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Re: This thread is disgusting

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This is a well known scam, seen it everywhere from Italy to Peru.
Gosh, t'was my first time...and in Switzerland!
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  #76  
Old 05.12.2009, 18:58
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Re: Beggars on the streets

I'm asked almost every day for money while I'm waiting for the bus at the station in Geneva. Sometimes I give, usually not because I don't carry much cash, though I give away cigarettes no problem unless the guy is really aggressive.

But I wanted to share something really funny that happened the other day. I was in Coop's toy section looking for gifts and this little boy, approximately 8 years old, showed me all the money he had and very politely asked me for 5 francs in order to have enough to buy a birthday gift for his brother! I was really surprised, and asked to see this marvelous gift. I gave him the money because he was so cute and I made sure he bought the gift. Now I think I've done something very bad, because he'll think it's safe to ask strangers for money... though maybe he chose me because I'm a woman and probably around the same age as his mother...
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Old 05.12.2009, 19:03
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Gosh, t'was my first time...and in Switzerland!
Actually it makes me sometimes feel that there are real people, who breath the air next to me, those who need help and attention, instead of uniform dull society minding their own business and not being very responsive. Welcome to new Switzerland
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  #78  
Old 06.12.2009, 11:28
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Re: This thread is disgusting

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...All is not as it seems, and this thread is possibly the tallest ivory tower I've seen.
There is nothing to be added to this anymore. Thanks, Economisto, for summing up this thread in such short but clear words.
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  #79  
Old 06.12.2009, 12:02
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Re: Beggars on the streets

I have only been approached I think once in Basel by a beggar. Which I have found amazingly low for a city.

I guess my frame of reference is much different as I am used to large American cities, such as New York, Boston, Chicago, LA, and San Fran. In these cities, beggars (panhandlers) are often in your face and I would be surprised if I did not have at least 3 people ask me for money.

So that was a glaring difference I noticed between the US and Switzeland, just not being approached for money. Even in smaller cities in the US that are similar in size to basel, specifically in downtown areas, I am typically approached.

The only other time I can think I was approached by someone anywhere in Switzerland for money was in Lugano. And the person turned out to be a young, American student traveling Europe who wanted money. That was quite a strange and unexpected experience.
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Old 06.12.2009, 15:08
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Re: Beggars on the streets

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There is a regular beggar in the station underpass at the main station in Lausanne. He sometimes plays a recorder [very badly] but most often just begs. He has crutches but whether or not he really needs these, is open to question. When I passed by on Wednesday, he was on his mobile 'phone!!! Probably goes home in a Mercedes too.
Suppose he needs the Natel to call for a taxi ! and a taxi of THIS size



in order to stuff the crutches
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