Monday, December 14, 2009

The changing face of beggars

I was a bit shocked to be asked for spare change by a little old lady when I came out of the supermarket today. She looked like someone's grandmother, perfectly ordinary if slightly pale, with a curly grey granny perm, casual anorak, navy slacks and trainers, plus a standard NHS walking stick. You get used to different types of beggars in central London, the junkies, the Eastern European children with their mums not far behind and the groups of alcoholic street drinkers, but she didn't fit those stereotypes. It's not a particularly seedy area round here anyway and we don't get loads of beggars. I was taken aback by a local streetdrinker who bellowed 'got a spare tenner luv?' at me a while ago. That's inflation, I suppose. I quite admired her cheek for asking, but I wasn't shocked. The granny-beggar today was memorable as she seemed so normal. Maybe it was some scam, or maybe she was after her next fix, who knows, but I gave her a quid and hoped that's not going to be the way elderly people are having to supplement their pensions nowadays.

2 comments:

Archivegirl said...

Scary. It is always one of those 'do I, don't I?' situations usually I just pass straight on by (cold hearted woman that I am). We used to have an elderly disabled man that was usually so drunk you could smell the alcohol before you saw him, but he played a mean harmonica. I hope he is alright somewhere with all this snow falling.

AG

The Mummy's Bracelet said...

I usually walk on by too, they blend into the background mostly which probably sounds hardhearted as well. It seems to take a lot to catch my notice these days, rightly or not. Maybe it's a London thing...