Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The grifters and the peddlers

Tonight I was approached by a man who has approached me on at least two other occasions. I saw him coming from a mile away as he crossed an intersection at a very odd angle just to catch me. And of course not a single person nearby for me to hide behind. As expected, he needed a dollar. He had four quarters. Well I told him I had no dollars. So then he asked if I had a five, because he had a few dollars and needed a fiver. Strange. I thought he had no dollars.

I do not carry much money with me these days, especially on campus where my student card gets me my meals. But it must be a hard time for small-time grifters these days. What I mean by that is that I am guessing the average guy asking for a buck today is about half as likely as someone asking thirty years ago because everyone uses debit cards these days. We all love to keep digital transactions of every time we spend money. We like to carry around a piece of plastic to pay for things. And most of all, we don't have change when the people who may or may not need it ask for some.

So to all you non-helpless people out there asking me for some change or a dollar for four quarters (I still don't get that one), I apologize that we do not carry change around to help you make a living. I am sure somewhere someone has got a modern trick up their sleeve that will sweep the nations of their debit cards and PIN numbers.

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