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“aggressive, bold, persistent panhandlers”

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“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday at the entrance to the CVS drugstore (Farragut North Metro entrance) was a middle age lady at the door asking any and every one that entered for some help. Now, mind you she didn’t just ask for change or a dollar she asked for deodorant, soap and toothpaste. I told her I would try on my out. As I was inside in line about to be checked out with the items she requested and my own. I observed several people leaving CVS and handing over to her soap, deodorant and toothpaste! She was racking up. I quietly put her requested items back and purchased what I came in the store for and left. She was still standing at the door, still begging. What do you do with aggressive, bold panhandlers??

Another panhandler that really hounds you to death is this old age bearded African American guy that stands in front of the 7-eleven and Au Bon Pain restaurant on 19th Street N.W. asking for someone to get him something to eat. I’ve seen people hand out dollars and he’s still standing there asking for more. How would you handle this. I see him there every day.”

I would either give him/her a dollar or I would move on.

If they were persistent I’d handle it the same way I do with persistent political canvassers – I say “sorry not today” and keep walking. If you are actually threatened of course call the police. If you are only annoyed, just keep walking. If you feel compassionate, give a dollar or more. I assure you this person is not living the high life surrounded by luxurious deodorants and toothpaste and laughing about her day’s exploits.

I’m sorry for being blunt. Occasionally we do encounter truly aggressive and violent panhandlers out there but I just don’t think the situations you described above would make me feel threatened. I’d also encourage you to read the person first project to give a better insight into the homeless population.

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