On the train to work today, I shook hands with a hobo. He came walking along the aisle, and looked at my goatee-like beard, and pointed towards his own goatee-lacking chin, said something in a strange language and chuckled a bit, and then he held out his hand.
So, I shook it.
I didn't realize until after, that this friendly gesture was cue for
give me some money, and he looked a bit disheartened when he held up his can for coins and I shook my head.
If there ever was a beggar I might have given some money to, it might have been him. He seemed like a fun guy, though out of principle I never give anything to anyone ...unless I know them, or what they'll do with that money.
It's like kidnappings and ransom - if someone pays the ransom then everyone wants to kidnap someone and get something. if someone gives a beggar money there'll be beggars everywhere - even those who don't need to beg.
It didn't use to be like that. Beggars didn't use to beg unless they had to; Swedish beggars have always been few and far between, because we have social care over here. If you really need help, you go there, even if they won't give you more than a bare minimum to let you get by, and only when you have no other place to go, and no savings at all. If you're addicted to drugs or alcohol however, you won't get your fix there, so you resort to begging, and people will look down on you because they know you're a junkie, though there are always a few good-willed people who'll believe you can change and offer you a few kronor in hopeful goodwill.
Unfortunately, globalization happened, and now the country is packed with people of different cultures, without the same ethics, social safety net, or standards that make our rags seem like riches - but does getting our rags make them rich? Usually the beggars are merely the foot folk, and the ankles wear them down without regard.
The trains are swarming with them, since there are always those few naive people who do give them money, maybe in the hope that they are somehow better than our own beggars. And maybe they are, but thanks to them, beggars are becoming a superfluous breed, hated on by most and many - a constant irritant on the short commuter trips to and from work. I rarely ever see them get anything, but they must be getting something there. Why else would they roam the trains, when they rarely roam elsewhere?
It's ironic that the people with the most money are the people furthest away from their chosen forms of transportation. If only these beggars could fill the seats of 3/4's empty executive cars rolling along the higher ways wherever it is they roll. Stop bothering the lower-wage working class on their way to work of their own with your pleas for currency-based crumbs. We eat those crumbs too.
Every trip to work there's at least one or two that pass by saying
please help (at least this guy didn't whine). Then occasionally there's a Swedish hobo who talks loudly about how the shelters no longer have room for Swedes with all these Romanian beggars, or how they've reduced the number of shelters for girls, so they really have nowhere to go, and how unfair it is and how they don't feel safe anywhere.
If they didn't speak so much and sound so mean about it, I'm sure they'd be a bit more compelling in their begging efforts - because we relate more to those who speak our own language, but the Swedish hobos seem pissed. People of other nationalities have taken over the territory completely. It's organized beggary. There's a beggar outside every single shop. Everywhere. Even outside of the big cities. They're on the trains too. And that's it. That's where they are.
I had a buddy who gave a beggar a krona once, but he's wised up since then. Give them a finger and they'll take your hand. Give them your hand and they'll want more than a shake: they'll want your money.
I'm sure there are a lot of poor people out there, but these aren't the ones getting the money they beg for, these are the puppets that pass it on, like how we put our savings in the banks, and the banks use that money to make more money. Just look at the Panama Papers.
Maybe you could learn a thing or two from the banks, you ranks of beggars, who have nothing better to do but walk through and bug us all with your begging call. Not that it's your fault, but I beg: don't stall. Make something for yourselves; don't let everyone else take your riches. For those itches you can't scratch, we've all got your back*.
* But you'd better get your own wallet.