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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The tricks are on me! » » Homeless Challenge (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

1KJ
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I don't quite know where to post this, but here is a challenge: What could you do when a homeless person asks you for money?

To be honest, I have always just said "Sorry", and moved on.

But, I got to thinking, what if I made some money appear in their hand and give it to them?

I would make sure that they understood it was a magic trick, and both of us could be entertained by the experience, and they get a little money.

I have noticed more and more homeless people where I live in the Los Angeles area. It also seems like we have more and more "new" homeless. Many of these "new" homeless people are people not much different from you and I, just they lost their job, lost their money, lost their home, and now find themselves on the streets.

I got to thinking about this when I encountered one such person outside the Dollar store. They were asking for fifty cents. When they got their fifty cents, they went into the dollar store and purchased a dollar burrito and a dollar bottle of water.

It got me thinking that it doesn't take much money, perhaps just the appearance of a couple quarters, to get them half way to a burrito.

I decided I'm going to keep a quarter in each of my back pockets. The next time someone asks, I'll make a quarter appear magically from one of their hands, then make that quarter multiply into two quarters.

Of course, the whole thing needs to be done in the right spirit, one of establishing a positive human connection with another "brother of God".

What are your thoughts?

What have you done?

What will you challenge yourself to do the next time someone asks you for money?
jefkve
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My only objection to giving homeless people money is that they will spend it on alcohol or drugs. I've always preferred going into a store and buying them something to eat. Now, finding a was to make a sandwich appear might be a fun challenge...
Tim Snyder
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Coincidentally, earlier today I was reading Mick Ayres' column in the Feb issue of MUM. He was discussing the difference between a successful and unsuccessful beggar (not sure what the politically correct term for such a person is). Successful beggars use theatrics to create an emotional response. Ayres then applies this idea to performing magic.

No one really helps a homeless person by giving them money. At best you alleviate their suffering for a short period. Genuinely helping a homeless person would involve mentoring them through a life changing process that would eventually lead to their receiving an income from a traditional source -- either a job or a government agency. In the case of people who have decided to derive their income through successful begging, you are just buying their "product".

It all comes down to what you can live with and what makes you happy. I think it's great that you enjoy buying a meal for someone less fortunate, Jefkve. Like you say, 1KJ, what's 50 cents if you can brighten someones' day with a little magic. I very rarely give money anymore. I got burnt out from my regular trips into the city of Chicago where I was constantly asked for money. Once this stylish dude with an attache case asked me for money. More often than not it seemed like a game they were playing to see if they could get this mark from the suburbs to give them cash. Over the last ten years, the ruse that I most often get suckered into is the "we need gas money" request. I have given at least 5 different people "gas money." I never giving money grudgingly or because I feel pressured to. If I give it's because at that moment in time it makes me happy to "help them out".
1KJ
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Tim,

I have generally felt the same as you. Recently, I am noticing a different sort of homeless person. I live on the outskirts of Los Angeles, and I am seeing what I would call "newly homeless". I am pretty confident many of these people are not on drugs. I live in an area where home prices and rental prices have gone up and up while jobs and time offered to workers have gone down and down.

Also, I used to think that I needed to give someone a few dollars to really "make any sort of difference." Now, I'm thinking that fifty cents is not really going to "make them rich", and it would really take a long time to get drug money a quarter at a time, but four or five quarters will buy a burrito from the dollar store.

As for helping them in life, I suppose that if a homeless person expresses an interest, I could teach them a little magic routine. I've often thought that if I were ever homeless, I could probably get back on my feet pretty quickly by doing street performing. I have studied street performers to help me in my own performances and I use busking skills in my regular performances.

kj
friend2cptsolo
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I might chime in. First if you give money to someone, than do just that. It is now their money, and they will spend it how they see fit. You, as the giver, must have the attitude that giving MONEY was your choice in the exchange and you should feel good with that. If you really want that money to go to food, than go buy food, and give that person food. Let charity, be charity.

What we do, when perfoming magic, is entertain people, just like TV, movies and theater. Sure we dress it up into something else but it is just "stage".
So now, why do people want to spend their TIME watching magic? For many different reasons, but they do so with other needs met in their life. People that may take time to enjoy a magic show are well fed, not suffering from flu like symptoms, not worried about where they are going to sleep for the night, not worried about their kids and so on and so on......


IF the homeless person in front of you needs a dollar to get food....then they are HUNGRY. Imagine when you felt really hungry and needed food...now multiple that. How hungry is that person? They are begging for what ever they get right now. If you were in that state would you be able to focus on a coin trick? and would it even be fun for you. What if you just lost your home? Job? or health? Would you be in a receptive state to watch magic?
If they are addicted to crack,meth or any of the nasty things out there, and now live on the street. The drug use is not fun for them at this point. It's horrible, if they go without that drug for a couple of hours they will start shaking, throwing up, break out into cold swets(like having the flu). They will spend ALL DAY begging for quarters so they can get some "stuff" and actually sleep through the night.

I am sure I am bringing up EXTREME examples of the street homeless; but I do so because this is a population that is wrought with many potiental problems.

My opinion, if you live somewhere that has a good homeless shelter that helps families, then give some time there. Do a show for those kids. They need it. That would be a great time for these people to take a break and spend the little bit of time with their family watching their kids laugh and be amazed.

Just my two cents...
JG
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On Feb 17, 2017, jefkve wrote:
My only objection to giving homeless people money is that they will spend it on alcohol or drugs.

Wow!
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jefkve
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On Feb 20, 2017, JG wrote:
Quote:
On Feb 17, 2017, jefkve wrote:
My only objection to giving homeless people money is that they will spend it on alcohol or drugs.

Wow!


Yeah, I know it sounds harsh, but given the high levels of alcoholism and drug dependence amongst the homeless, I'd rather not risk contributing to their vices. I want to help, not hurt.
1KJ
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Quote:
On Feb 19, 2017, friend2cptsolo wrote:
I might chime in. First if you give money to someone, than do just that. It is now their money, and they will spend it how they see fit. You, as the giver, must have the attitude that giving MONEY was your choice in the exchange and you should feel good with that. If you really want that money to go to food, than go buy food, and give that person food. Let charity, be charity.

What we do, when perfoming magic, is entertain people, just like TV, movies and theater. Sure we dress it up into something else but it is just "stage".
So now, why do people want to spend their TIME watching magic? For many different reasons, but they do so with other needs met in their life. People that may take time to enjoy a magic show are well fed, not suffering from flu like symptoms, not worried about where they are going to sleep for the night, not worried about their kids and so on and so on......


IF the homeless person in front of you needs a dollar to get food....then they are HUNGRY. Imagine when you felt really hungry and needed food...now multiple that. How hungry is that person? They are begging for what ever they get right now. If you were in that state would you be able to focus on a coin trick? and would it even be fun for you. What if you just lost your home? Job? or health? Would you be in a receptive state to watch magic?
If they are addicted to crack,meth or any of the nasty things out there, and now live on the street. The drug use is not fun for them at this point. It's horrible, if they go without that drug for a couple of hours they will start shaking, throwing up, break out into cold swets(like having the flu). They will spend ALL DAY begging for quarters so they can get some "stuff" and actually sleep through the night.

I am sure I am bringing up EXTREME examples of the street homeless; but I do so because this is a population that is wrought with many potiental problems.

My opinion, if you live somewhere that has a good homeless shelter that helps families, then give some time there. Do a show for those kids. They need it. That would be a great time for these people to take a break and spend the little bit of time with their family watching their kids laugh and be amazed.

Just my two cents...


I can tell you that I have been homeless. Never on drugs, but homeless, yes. It's not always about being miserable. I know that when I was homeless, I would have enjoyed a quick bit of magic in my day. I do think that you have to be selective. I have encountered homeless that are nearing the end of their lives and I have encountered many homeless like myself, who have a shot at getting out. Yes, I did get out and now I do quite well financially. As with everything in life, it is about using good judgement.

kj
Herr Brian Tabor
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Quote:
On Feb 17, 2017, jefkve wrote:
My only objection to giving homeless people money is that they will spend it on alcohol or drugs. I've always preferred going into a store and buying them something to eat. Now, finding a was to make a sandwich appear might be a fun challenge...


No. That's a stereotype and just plain wrong. Sure, there are homeless drug users, just like there are drug users who have homes. Here's a good example of what a lot of homeless will do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUBTAdI7zuY
Mick Ayres
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On Feb 17, 2017, Tim Snyder wrote:
Coincidentally, earlier today I was reading Mick Ayres' column in the Feb issue of MUM. He was discussing the difference between a successful and unsuccessful beggar (not sure what the politically correct term for such a person is). Successful beggars use theatrics to create an emotional response. Ayres then applies this idea to performing magic.


For the record, my column was about buskers, Tim. Thank you for reading it, though!

Mick
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Tim Snyder
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On May 15, 2017, Mick Ayres wrote:
Quote:
On Feb 17, 2017, Tim Snyder wrote:
Coincidentally, earlier today I was reading Mick Ayres' column in the Feb issue of MUM. He was discussing the difference between a successful and unsuccessful beggar (not sure what the politically correct term for such a person is). Successful beggars use theatrics to create an emotional response. Ayres then applies this idea to performing magic.


For the record, my column was about buskers, Tim. Thank you for reading it, though!

Mick


You made me go back and reread you article, "You Sell It -- They Will Buy It". When I wrote my comment it was from memory and I didn't remember the term you used to describe the young fellow in ragged clothes who asked for spare change, Walter who held out a cup for donations, and Donna who pretended it was her birthday at truck stops so the truckers would pay for her meal. You referred to them in the article as "grifters". Yes, your article was about much more than just beggars and I recommend everyone read it; but since a quarter of the article discussed the techniques these grifters used, the begging aspect stuck in my mind when I responded to this post.
jljones83
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I live in the LA area, and honestly, I think the panhandlers would be annoyed by this. When I see people asking for change, it's a numbers game for them, ask and walk away. If it takes longer than a second or two, that's more time they could have spent asking different people. I've been asked by the same people multiple times in a 10-15 minute period because they are not looking at you, just asking anything that walks by.

Plus, I'm getting a feeling like you're just paying them to watch you do a magic trick. You're kind of just forcing them to watch you. They might really not want to watch you, but now they feel like they have to in order to get your money.

That's just my two cents.
Rook
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My perspective is that if I gave money to 10 homeless individuals and 9 used it to buy alcohol or drugs and 1 used it to buy food, I'm okay with that because it lead to feeding that person. I'd rather be taken advantage of by several someones who would use the money to buy alcohol or drugs than let one person go hungry that I passed up because I was concerned as to how they'd spend the money I gave them. As such, when I can, I give them what I can.
Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

-Roald Dahl
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