…be none of your god damned business.
I’ve seen a number of videos going around Facebook and Twitter over the last couple of months where an individual will give a homeless person a sum of cash, usually $100, and they will then follow the person to see what they spend it on. The assumption being that they are going to spend it on alcohol of drugs. Then, I assume as I’ve never clicked on the links, there is some heart warming story where they spend it on someone else or on, shock horror, food or something. These videos really grind my gears because it is no one’s business what a person spends their money on. If you buy your groceries is it your business what the person on the check out spends their cash on? For all you know they may be double dropping acid every night and smoking crack to get out of bed in the morning, it’s none of your business though. The same goes for homeless people as for everyone else.
Added to this is that these videos help to cement the notion of the deserving and the undeserving poor. Homeless person X is obviously deserving poor as they sent the money to their elderly mother (or whatever) whereas homeless person Y is undeserving (Boo! Hiss!) as they spent it on drink/drugs. It doesn’t matter that the $100 meant that their lives were a little easier for a short time and that it meant that they had a brief reprieve from having to beg, borrow or steal in order to get through the day.
I was homeless and living on the streets for a number of years and got by through begging, busking and selling the Big Issue and if someone had given me £100 back then I would have been able to take a few days off trying to make money on the streets, and would therefore have been free’d from the threat of violence, the dirty looks, the random abuse and the condescension of the general public for a while. I wouldn’t have spent my money on something that would gain the approval of these video makers, I would most likely have gotten shit faced drunk and probably bought a new pair of boots. And you know what? It wouldn’t have been anyone’s business but that would have drastically improved my life; even if for a short time.
OK, rant over. Normal service to be resumed shortly…