Do you Believe the Story?
Do you give them money? Food? Nothing?
Again , the dichotomy of the reality of this city is clear as day and it tests our humanity every time we stop at a robot and see of them approaching..
They start their routine…shaking the cup they hold while their blind uncle/cousin/nephew walks tucked in behind them. The blind at least looks real…but whether these people are the real thing?
And your routine is the same , you roll up your window , or look distracted and shake your head “no” while they walk past the front of your car…
Let’s start with the obvious…
Around Balfour Park , near the McDonald’s they are there in force…the street beggars with their plastic bags, walking up to the cars , one by one and making the same gesture of ‘hand-to-mouth’…
The question is – do you buy the story?
Do you believe that those kids are truly starving and that their display is an act of desperation on the hard asphalt? Do you believe that the lady holding her child in her arms and begging on the street side is suffering along with her child that she brings with her to ‘work’ every day?
Or , do you believe that they have stumbled on a powerful psychological influence that causes a reaction from motorists to give them food and money?
Are they tapping in to a deep instilled string of emotion that will at times cause the reaction they need – the response of giving?
I have noticed an increase of the kids especially when the school holidays take effect…plus , I have seen images of real starving people – just look at pictures taken from Ethiopia , the Concentration Camps or war zones , where you can clearly see the ribs protruding and kids with distended stomachs ; these guys don’t look ANYTHING like that..
Are they taking serious and immoral advantage of our entrenched empathy and manipulating our emotions for financial gain?
Or , do people like the man in this photo below offer a service of some value?
Disabled , crippled or another act?
We have all seen the video taken of the “cripple” beggar who , after a day’s work , incredibly ‘stood’ up and walked away from the street corner with no evidence of disability and no doubt retreated to count his days (tax free) takings?
Has this evidence and our suspicions that all is not quite as it seems to be with many of these beggars led us to not buy into their story and thereby not contribute to their ‘plight?’
In my view , this is the case…possibly , in the beginning , the street folk that found a way to get motorists to part with some small change to help has been recognised by more sinister elements as a regular income stream and all it takes is a day of standing with a sign,plastic bag or small child and knowing that while a vast majority of people may not give anything , it’s the sheer number of cars that pass by ,that by the law of averages,one in every 50 or 100 cars will give you something.
Let’s do some maths here…if you stand at a busy intersection, you could have 3000 cars (maybe more) a day pass you by…if only 1% of those gave you R5 every day , you would make R150 day…or R750 per week or R3000 per month. More than enough to feed yourself and a family on…
That’s an entry level salary in a retail environment…and it’s tax free….
We are being conservative here as the research has shown that some of these ‘beggars’ can make R500 – R1000 per day…
Has this simply become a business model that has it’s own corporate structure?
That a portion of the earnings are paid to a ‘boss?’
And that our street corners have become the ‘sales floors’ of a business empire?
Advice to wannabe Street Beggars…
First off – if you are going to plead poverty – especially in Joburg – you had better LOOK the part…No-one is going to believe that you are living on the edge of starvation if you wear designer label clothing!
We in Joburg would rather support a truth than a lie – hence our resistance to E tolls – cos that whole fucking deal was a lie from the start and we ALL knew it!
PS – if you have bought an e tag – you’re a poes!
Getting back on point…you will have a much better chance of succeeding with this strategy if there is at least some level of truth involved …so don’t come and tell me that you want 5c to buy bread! You show me where you can buy bread for 5 Cents I will PERSONALLY buy you a loaf and take 100 for myself and re-sell them to Checkers for R4-50!
If you have ever been in a situation where you really , really need help from someone, your tone of voice is sincere, tormented and desperate- whether it’s from hunger , fear or needing petrol or someone to stop and help you!
We as humans have a deep inherent sense of when people are lying to us – if you don’t believe me , do this exercise.
Stand up and say your name out loud,” My Name is (Your name)”; and see how that feels when you say it.
Now Stand and say , “My Name is ( not your name)” and pick a name that is far removed from yours…
EG : Real name = Jerome ; False name = Cindy.
You will FEEL a difference in the energy of the word and how it’s said…it’s a lie and you can feel it…the same applies for people that tell you a story – you will know if it’s real or not…
So again ,it’s up to you , what you feel and whether you buy the story – or not.
A classic Joburg response…
In the area where I live , we have the ‘drunk white ‘ guys that periodically ring our doorbells around 8pm at night…They spend their days drinking at the local shebeen and then come to the horrific conclusion that they have no food – having spent what little money they have on booze…
So the conversation goes something like this :
Doorbell: “Ding dong.”
Me (walking down to the gate) : “Who the fuck is ringing my doorbell at 8 o’clock at night?!”
Wit Dronkie :’ Eveing Sir , sorry to bother you – I am not asking for money, I just want something to eat , please man..”
Me: “You have been drinking all day and now you want food?”
Wit Dronkie :” No , I haven’t been drinking..” ( the slur and the smell tell another story)
Me: “Don’t fucking lie to me boet , I can smell it on you…”
Wit Dronkie :” Yah , ok , I have been drinking , but please sir , I am really hungry…”
Me : ” So you spent all your money on booze and now you are hungry and I must feed you , cos you don’t worry about food for yourself , so I must?”
(Pitiful look from Wit Dronkie at this point)
Wit Dronkie : “Please sir , I am hungry…I don’t want money , just some food please..”
Me :” Where did you get the money to drink?”
(this is the good part)
Wit Dronkie :’ My friends bought me the drink…”
Me : “Cool , then next time , get your friends to buy you some food before you start drinking ,this way , when you are finished drinking , you have some food…”
(Wit Dronkie Nods – as he usually does)..
Me: “Tell you what Boet , when you arrive at my house , with you full stomach and tell me ” I have been eating all day , I really need a beer” – I will fucking Give you ONE!”
And that’s the Joburg Truth.