Begging As A Profession In Montreal, Quebec, Canada


The beggar you see on the highway ramps with their signs saying how hungry they are and they are just trying to get back home are supplementing their welfare check, or unemployment insurance with the money you give them each day thinking that they are destitute. This is now a chosen profession. Most get dropped off in the morning by car, dressed for a days work in their uniform, placard in their hands (their tools) and proceed to do their job which is to get as many of you to give them some money before the light changes. There are usually two of them one on each side so that as few of us as possible will get by without at least seeing them. They are dressed neutrally so that while you feel sorry for them, they make sure you get the feeling that they are somehow just down on their luck and you will be willing to give them a hand out without feeling disgusted by them, or played by them.  This is all a calculated selling technique.

It took me a while to catch on and a lot of getting over the guilt of not giving until I realised that I was being the victim of a selling game. They were selling sad story and trying to get me, or you to buy it. I began to notice how healthy they were and how clean they were and the more I saw them the more questions came into my head. Every day the same people were in exactly the same spots begging, for 9 plus hours a day, so why did they not just get part-time work, or day work and then it hit me, they were working at the job they had chosen, it was just me who was refusing to accept that it was really a job they were doing not just a one time down on my luck happen stance.

I have tested this theory out on several of the professional beggars in my area in several ways,  one being offering them some day work and the response is always the same although the reasons of why they can not work are very different.  The most common reason they can not accept work is that they are trying to leave town and return home, but they have been trying in some cases for over two years.  If you noticed lately there are not many beggars asking for money to buy  something to eat and there is a good reason for that.  People started to feed them bringing them sandwiches, fruit, drinks and such and this was not what they wanted, so down came the I am so hungry signs and up went the I am trying to get home signs.

With the exception of a very few, when is the last time you have seen a beggar with a debilitating handicap that would keep that person from working, begging on the highway ramps and at street intersections.  I know there were frauds back in the day as well, but at least they did not look healthier than me, and there was a possibility that they did get hurt in the war, or something.  They were generally older men and not the youngsters we see today.

There are hundreds of thousands of Canadians , who are   jobless  throughout the country and I see literally thousands sleeping in the metros, the doors of churches and on park benches, but surprisingly these are not your highway and street light beggars.  These homeless are not your well-organized group of young people who have chosen begging as a career and a way to supplement their welfare check.

I fear for these clean well dressed young boys and girls who are telling the world that they would rather beg than get a job. I wonder how long before a predator realizes that there are lambs to be taken? The pervert who will offer them the money made in a day for an hours work in sex? I wonder when it will be that the first one will except the offer and turns the whole begging profession into something else.  All it will take is one girl or boy to decide that it is okay, and the career criteria will change. These youngsters are unaware that they are, or could be being stocked by the predators  everyday  as they drive by in their cars and that so far these young people have been lucky, but the conditions for something going terribly wrong is there.

What I do know from being both predator and prey in my lifetime is that they are organized and somewhere in beggars land there is a king of the beggars telling them where they can beg, what they are allowed and not allowed to do so as not to attract any unwanted attention police, motorists and city officials.   They are paying for their spots like a taxi driver pays to have a spot in a taxi stand at the mall, I know this because the same people are at the same spot day after day without fail and I have watched them get both dropped off and picked up.  I hope that the future king of the beggars plays with the same rules as this one and does not move to other things that can be sold at the side of the road. The potential for prostitution, drug, selling is enormous, but right now their powers that be seem content to take their cut on the earnings made by these children walking between cars on highway and street intersections  at red lights.

To whom we give in charity has always been a personal choice and has always been based on more than what the other person needs.  We give because it  makes us feel good; we give because we somehow feel that it makes up for other wrong doings.  We have as many reasons to give as we have not to give and most of them  are a matter of conscience, or our need to feel good about ourselves. I would say this to you, let us not confuse charity with enabling and let us not become part of the problem. Follow your heart, but use common sense.  This is not a healthy career choice and with this group this is not their last resort.  They are not animals in a friendly feeding zoo, they are young people who have lost their way and need to be redirected back into society.

My mother said to me,” Son no one can use you if you give from your heart expecting nothing in return. If they laugh at you thinking you the fool for falling  for their roost, they only expose their own ignorance for not being able to see that you were expecting nothing and therefore were never in a position to be used.”  So give to whom and in the manner that you choose, expecting nothing in return and know that it is for you also that you give and that the reason that they are asking for the money is not always what is on their placard.  This should allow you to walk away and feel that you have done your good deed for the day.

I took these pictures over a two-week  period and not one of these beggars even realized that they were being studied.  I did not put pictures of the young girls up, because I did not want to give away where they are located, because I can’t be sure who reads these posts.

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About archemdis

I try to say what is on my mind and not hurt others, but some things need to be said whether they hurt or not and I do just that. I try to listen as well as talk, but my opinion is just that mine. You need not take it as your own, just respect the fact that I am entitled to it, as you are yours. I do read all comments, but will only answer, or allow to be displayed those which adress me by name, refer to the post by name in the comment, or that have been sent through the proper channels. In this manner I can tell whether the comment was meant for me and that it is not just spam.
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3 Responses to Begging As A Profession In Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  1. Pingback: Giving vs. Enabling « Anchor for the Soul

  2. nikotev01 says:

    Perfectly blog! If you like a interesting photos, you can see my blog http://nikolaygeorgievkotev.wordpress.com/.
    Best wishes
    Nick

    • archemdis says:

      Good morning Thank you and I will be taking a look at your blog. Have a great day!

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