Homeless Technology

Walked up Main Street today in down town SLC. A homeless guy steps out in front of me and says “Excuse me sure can you help me get something to eat?” My reply “Sorry brother I don’t have any cash on me.” His response “That’s OK, I have Venmo.” I started laughing, so hard I couldn’t respond. That’s all we need, technologically advanced homeless drug addict’s…


Generally, if your intention is no, keeping the response to “No” and nothing else, without breaking stride let alone stopping (go around or turn around etc) is the most simple.


Before they say anything, I tell them NO


I get the total avoidance thing but here’s the deal. I live down here, I’m around these guys everyday. I know many of them by name or moniker. I walk these streets, it’s like these guys are my neighbors in a sense.

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Not really commenting on your post directly, but it reminded me of a couple things I’ve seen over the years.

  1. When I was younger, I lived in an area with a lot of panhandlers. They usually had a gimick, like signing their hat. The one that I would usually give money to was the one that would sing gospel songs, some of which he wrote… plus he would sing and walk as I was usually coming or going.

  2. You would be surprised how much businesses pump credit out with inflated prices or interest rates to those that have very low income. There’s a country I visited a few times where in certain areas people were still living in huts with palm leaf roofs. You could buy a breakfast empanada (IIRC) that was delicious for 75 US cents, and was the size of a Chipotle burrito. In these areas the minimum wage was something like $9/day. Many in these areas had smartphones that would go for a couple hundred US dollars in that country, plus have an internet plan that cost $20-30 US per month. The phones were sold on credit and priced by monthly payment.


If you avoid them, how would one know their names? Regardless, what difference does that make? I still would not give them any money. Just tell them no, and walk away. Most panhandlers are non-violent, and if one decides to press his luck, more likely than not, you would have the ability to fend him off; hands, elbows, knees, fists, pepper, handgun.

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So much for the conventional escape.
How about Square or Bitcoin?

If “No” feels too uncivil, there’s always, “Sorry, can’t help.”
With pleasant demeanor, direct eye contact, and no break in stride.

Getting cornered at a crosswalk, transit stop, or queue is more complex.
“Think I have COVID, you should stay back.” might work for a while yet.

It’s not like I drive to town and run into these guys in a public parking lot. These guys are right outside of my door, on the sidewalk in front of our building, in or parking lot. Stepping outside is stepping into their world. I look at it like this, these are my sidewalks too, I live, work, shop, park right here. I pay my bills Here. They on the other hand have simply moved in and taken up residency. I guess it’s the old adage “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. I want to know who they are and I want them to know who I am, it’s all part of my self defense strategy.