Just a little change??

The other day, Mom and I took her Fancy Pants car in for service and after they finished, we decided to do a bit of shopping.

Now the morning had been beautiful, but by afternoon, storm clouds were gathering. And we were eager to get home before the skies opened.

As we were making our way across a parking lot to the car, I noticed a woman standing around. I didn’t pay her much attention, but she zeroed in on us and came right over.

“I hate to ask this, but I was supposed to donate plasma and that fell through. Now I need gas money to get home. Would you happen to have a few extra dollars to give me?”

WHAT?? A panhandler in the parking lot of a major department store?

“I’m sorry,” I told her. “I can’t do that.”

And I raced for Fancy Pants, leaving Mom — who hadn’t heard this exchange — with her mouth agape.

“What did she want?” Mom asked, as I threw the car into reverse and flew out of there.

I told her the story and glanced back to see the woman pull a new-model cell phone from her pocket and start using it.

Hmm, what’s wrong with this picture?!

Here’s a woman who claims she doesn’t have money for gas, but somehow manages to get to the mall toting a new phone??

It smelled like a scam to me.

I know times are tough, people are hurting, the economy is struggling, etc. But my late dad used to tell me stories of the Great Depression years.

When people were really hurting.

And he pointed out that NOBODY would beg for money without offering to exchange a good or service for it.

Like, if you had a laying hen and needed fresh milk for the kids, you’d barter and exchange with your neighbor who had a cow.

Everybody got what they needed; everybody saved face.

So when did it become okay to simply beg from strangers?

And why do we permit able-bodied folks to panhandle rather than working at legitimate jobs?

Perhaps because we’ve made it so lucrative. If you can get past the pride thing, you know.

But I find that rather sad, don’t you?