There is a new chap in my local area who claims to be stranded here. It really is very unfortunate. I first encountered him last Thursday when the poor fellow had lost all his money and had no means of getting back to Cumbernauld, so I gave him the necessary £3.00.
Imagine my surprise when he sprang out a doorway at me on Saturday! I asked him if he was still stranded and he affected not to know what I was on about. That cost me £1.00. He was after £3.00 but in all honesty I felt that was an excessive price for the same old story.
Of course I should point out that this is all a bit of a game. I know the chap is lying, he knows I don't believe him and am paying him to leave me alone.
I spotted him again on Sunday and managed to take evasive action. No such luck tonight, though at 20p I feel I got off lightly.
Now if I were him which mercifully I'm not I'd have a few tales up my sleeve. For example once I was followed the length of three whole streets by a man covered what appeared to be beetroot juice. He was demanding £5.00 for a taxi to get to hospital having been 'stabbed', I did offer to phone an ambulance but he was having none of it. I gave him £1.00 which made him very angry, very angry indeed. Honestly I was affronted as he followed me screaming to passers by that I'd stolen his money! He'd still be after me if I hadn't enlisted the help of a pub bouncer.
Whilst I feel his aggressive behaviour was highly unprofessional I will give him full marks for entertainment value and taking the trouble to come up with a good yarn and special effects. Saved renting a video that night.
Similarly the young lady who haunts the Trongate with a pram and tales of not having eaten for two days is quite impressive and rather Dickensian. I rather like to imagine Tiny Tim waiting at home for mum to return with a few bags of Space Raiders purchased thanks to the generosity of the public. Well it saves thinking about the smack she'll blow it on.
If only the stranded resident of Cumbernauld was so imaginative. He is a mere amateur in the world of begging. Really to get the best donations one has to do a bit of acting -the more unconvincing the better. I have been known to pay top whack for an appallingly acted tale of woe, especially if it's prefaced by the words 'this is really embarrassing'. I also like a new story. I'm sorry to say this is a consumer society and we're all after value for money. Beggars who don't move with the times will be left behind.
Of course if one doesn't want to go down that route there is always honesty. Now I concede this is a gamble but I rarely refuse an honest request particularly if it's funny. A while back a young fellow scoffing a bag of chips stopped me outside the chippy and requested a donation to buy his girlfriend a bag of chips. I looked at him, I looked at the rather sullen looking young lady standing obediently at his side and burst out laughing before reaching for my purse. Good Lord! Sod going out with him. A gentleman would have bought the lady the chips and then begged to get his own. A thinking man would have shared the chips with the lady, though that wouldn't have been as funny.
Before I met Mr Clairwil my romantic life was sheer torture but even I never suffered the indignity of night out funded by begging for change. Mind you I always paid my own way to avoid misunderstandings and unreasonable demands.
I should stress that I'm not experienced in street begging, I'm not an expert. Any beggars reading should accept this as customer feedback.