I usually go to the same place to eat breakfast each morning on 3rd and Spring Garden here in Philly. It’s an interesting location for panhandlers because there is a lot of traffic, there’s a wide mix of people (low to upper class), and the area doesn’t seem to be policed. The issue becomes that there can be up to 3 people begging for money on a daily basis at all hours. It really becomes a nuisance and I hope someone from the city reads this to clean up this part of town. Sad thing is, this is probably one of the nicer parts of this area, although I bet if you go further towards Girard, there aren’t as many beggars because no one has any money.

Being that I’ve been coming to this area for over 5 years I’ve gotten to know these beggars. I’m a relatively nice person and will throw them a buck here and there and this is more than most people. This gives them the idea that I’m a sucker and they’ll ask me all the time. Panhandlers also have the shortest memory on the planet because they’ll ask you when you walk in and then again when you walk out. Here are a few I encounter.

One guy in his safety vest is a constant at this shopping center. I’ve seen him do dances outside of D&D and he is definitely cracked out on something. He’s a nice guy but he’s told me he was leaving the area months ago and nothing ever changes. I’ve given him a dollar or two in the past but he must really think we’re friends because he asks me for Iced Coffees and sandwiches. I’d say him and I have an ok relationship but he thinks that when he helps me park my car in a parking spot, that he deserves a tip.

There’s another guy who was in a war (at least that’s what he says) who is definitely a heroin addict. Believe it or not, we actually picked him up one day because we needed some help at the shop. It was 100 degrees and he never took his long sleeved shirt off. I assume this is to cover his track marks. He’s a nice guy and his line is “can you spare some change.” I try to help him out when he’s around and I prefer giving him some quarters opposed to buying him lunch. He smelled terribly.

The final guy I encounter isn’t my panhandler. I’ve never said a word to him, I don’t know him, I want no interaction with him. I get the feeling that every time I decline to give him something I enrage him. He has fresh clothes on and just gives off this non-suffering demeanor. I really dislike this guy and try to avoid eye contact at all costs. He’s the perfect example of a guy who can work, but would rather have people help him out.