Zachary Boutin: Think twice before giving money to panhandlers
To my fellow locals and tourists of Steamboat Springs,
Be Steamboat nice — we have all seen the ad in the paper as we have all also seen the people standing alongside our popular streets holding signs that read, “traveling, need help,” “anything helps,” etc. Seeing these people is nothing new to us locals, we always get an influx of transients in the summer months that come through Steamboat.
Let me start by just saying that it is nice to try and help someone you think is in need. You feel like you did a good deed, and this is true for the most part, and for the most part, these transients make enough gas/food money to get them to where they need to go and move on to the next town.
I am on the front lines of customer service in Steamboat and work in liquor retail, and I can almost guarantee that I see 90 percent of the people you are trying to help. That is why I am writing this today. I feel I should make it known the things I hear from these people.
We all work hard to live and stay in Steamboat. It’s hard enough to make a living here as it is, and I am just frustrated to the point where I feel I need to write this letter.
It’s nice to do a good deed, it really is, but it is also frustrating when I hear one of these people come into the store and complain about how they only made $100 with their “help me” sign today. That they are used to making closer to $150 to $200 a day would be frustrating for anyone to hear. Even at $100 a day these people are making close to $700 a week — cash money.
Then to hear them complain about it while they are buying booze is just frustrating to me because they are making more than my fellow local who is working two jobs to just pay his bills.
It’s good to do a nice thing, I just want anyone reading this to stop and think, the reason they have seen the same person/people holding a sign for months and why they are still in Steamboat is because they are making more money than most of us locals working over 40 hours a week.
So the next time you are thinking about giving the guy on the corner with the homeless sign a couple bucks just remember he has got more money in his pocket already than you probably do.
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