T Nation

Was I Deceived?


Oftentimes, when visiting my local mini-supermarket, there will be a certain gentleman standing outside, selling the 'Big Issue'. For those that don't know,. the BI is a low rent magazine that is written by and in support of, homeless people. Instead of begging, they sell copies of the magazine for a profit, prices set across the board. They buy for 75p and sell for 150p. The 'magazine' isn't worth £1.50p but we all know it's for a worthy cause so some people (like me) will support the person selling the mag, because:

A) They are homeless
B) They are actually making some effort

Now instead of money, I often buy the homeless guy a sandwich, an apple and a bottle of water, seeing as I'm in a supermarket and I don't want to encourage any possible substance abuse issues.

I've done this about 6 times in the last few months and would do it more often but the guy isn't always there.

HOWEVER, my fiancee and me went to pick up her new second-hand car from down the road, the other day. As we pullinto the compound of the traders establishment, who should be driving out, in a big (though not expensive) car? The aforementioned 'homeles' guy.

"I recognise him from my local supermarket as a beggar/big issues salesman!" I said.

"Really? We know him as 'the camel rider' and he's a motor trader. Buys a lot of cars from us he does."

So now I feel a bit cheated. On the one hand, the guy is obviously making a living for himself, so fair play to him for that.

On the other hand, I certainly wouldn't have gifted him with food, if I had known he was a motor trader!

I saw him today, as the market and said "So, I hear you are a car trader then."

"Oh Yes!" he said with a big, shiteating grin.

"Well I won't be buying you and more food then, you cheeky sod!" I said, but with a smile.

Now I don't feel any animosity towards the guy as such, but I do feel deceived. And a little disappointed that my gift of sustenance was not given to a genuinely starving or homeless person.

Actually, I'm a little unsure how to feel about this. Obviously I don't require anyone to tell me how to feel, but I would like to know your thoughts and opinions, so that I may quantify and come to terms with this type of deception.

So what say you T-Nation massif?



Well on one hand, id be angry. I dont like to be deceived, especially for an attempt to do a noble deed. Ive given my fair share of money to people- aside from the homeless, when offered chocolate bars from children, i often buy 1 or 2, and give it to the child saying "dont work too hard now." The kind, warm, gentle side of me would be steaming at this trickery!

But on the other hand, this is a pretty foul world at times. And it, to quote the recent release of a video game, is a place where "the lying, cheating, degenerates can prosper." I mean a lot of the wealthier people do shit like this, on a much larger scale right? Im not by any means condoling what he did, but im saying it really isnt new, so you cant really hate the guy.

I dunno...the world's not a place of rainbows and sunshine, with flowers singing and lemonade rain. Its a shame, cuz you know we are worth so much more.


This reminds me of a story I read about a few years ago. In downtown Toronto there was a lady begger/panhandler who had what everybody thought was Parkinson's disease, they called her the shaking lady or something, she was begging for years. One day someone recognized her in another section of TO and saw her get into a Mercedes, sans shaking too...YOU FUCKING COW!

This person phoned the Toronto Sun(newspaper) and they discovered that she had a beutifull house in a ritzy part of TO and she was healty as a horse.

I think the guy in your story is a shithead. You gave him money out of your own pocket + he has his own money = shithead.


What a sneaky bastard, I tend to be a bit more wary nowadays after having similar things happen to me. Someone is always looking to ripoff the unsuspecting, and charities are right up there.

I remember back in SA there was a couple in one of the suburbs of Joburg that would go around claiming they ran out of gas or some or other believable sob story. After swindling people for money all day, they'd walk a couple blocks, get in their car and drive home. I believe this went on for months, too!

Not sure how they get caught out though, but eventually they did. That's the kind of situation that would piss me off.


Damn. Equally disturbing - I swear some people have no shame.


I would laugh my considerably large ass off. You got me mofo. This use to be a ongoing scam in NY during the mid 90's. Some guys would go up to areas like Wall Street and catch a croud of thousands.

You figure if every 10th guy have him a buck he was going home with a salary. The new would follow one or two and busted some with expensive cars and HOMES. But most where just living, getting by.

I don't give all the times, but if something inside tells me to give to someone then its there money at that point and I don't think what will they do with it. And if I turn the corner and see the guy going into the strip club with a fist full of dollars..well you got me MOFO.


Well, just stop donating to him. He knows you're onto him anyway, so move on.

Small thing when compared to the real crap in the world right now.



i had no change to do laundry for weeks because i kept giving to the charities who wait for you to leave the grocery store. i'm a sucker.


If you want to be a genuinely selfless, giving person you just have to accept the possibility of getting scammed now and again.

If you don't want to ever get taken advantage of, you have to be jaded and distrustful of every person you come across.

It all comes down to what kind of person you want to be.


^This^ I would rather help them and let somebody else worry about me getting cheated (cause I don't worry about it) than to know I missed a chance to help somebody out.

And ID...HAT!


Wow... that was kind of profound. I came on here to race-bait on the Spiderman thread and instead wind up reflecting on my life. Wasn't expecting that.


BBB, if you happen to be passing by when he's asking someone else for handouts, just say to them "You do know that he's a car trader, right? He scammed me real good.", and keep on walking. Don't go out of your way to do it, just if you happen to be passing by when he's begging.

This is why I don't give to anyone, everyone just wants to take advantage of you. Even the ones who are actually homeless will just spend it on cheap beer anyway.


recently taking the train out of NYC back to CT, there is an older woman saying that she had her pocketbook stolen and just needed 40 dollars so her and her kid could get a ticket back to connecticut. 2 people got up and gave her 20 dollar bills. other people ran through the gammit of questions and she had an answer for everything she was asked.

my roomate was also coming back from the city the next week and saw the same woman again, and then last weekend i was there and i saw her too, except some kids yelled 'hey didnt this happen to you last week too' which she ignored. if she is doing that to 2 trains an hour, she is making about 80 bucks an hour. needing money to get by because your homeless is one thing, but praying on other tourists sympathies for your own personal gain is really F**ked up in my opinion..




I think the cops should look the other way when people like this catch a good beating


I wouldn't be too miffed about it, I mean he did give you something of value (magazine) for the sandwich. At least it was a trade of goods, albeit not a totally equitable one.

But yeah, posing as a penniless homeless dude is where I'd direct my contempt towards.




Really an entertaining story to read if you imagine the accents from the movie Snatch.

On a serious note, I'd be VERY pissed off. That's pretty much fraud in my mind. That's one reason I don't give money to panhandlers. Most of the time you are either supporting a substance habit or falling victim to some scam.


Ask yourself why you helped him in the first place. Was it out of selfless concern for him or does giving make you feel good? The thought of purposeful deception and wasted effort doesn't bother a truly selfless person, as they put others first. After stripping away the rationalizing, most people give because it makes them feel better about themselves. So don't beat yourself up about it. They ain't making folks like Mother Teresa and Jesus Christ no more.


Thats like Gypos/Knackers in Ireland, One guy stopped me in a filling station about 2 months ago,saying he had no fuel to get home or milk for the baby. I knew it was a scam as these guys are always up to no good yet loaded with cash.I said i was broke and started asking him for money, he got pissed at me and starts asking my buddy, he says no. Then this guy asks if we want any gold chains. He opens the van door,Its full of dvds,perfumes,video games.A proper aladins cave like.My buddy buys 6 dvds . The gypo pulls out a wad of cash easily 5 grand
Gives him the change and drives off cursing at me. Typical