On my way to work this morning, I stopped by a legendary local sandwich shop. By the door was a woman, obviously suffering from mental distress who stopped her animated conversation with herself to ask me (quite aggressively) if I had a couple of dollars for her on the way out. A couple dollars?

And that’s when it hit me that bums are asking for way more money now.

I remember when bums used to ask you for a quarter so they could make a phone call, which was preposterous, because if you’re homeless or staying at a shelter, who are you calling, exactly? But it’s not like it was a lot of money. Who was so stingy they couldn’t come up with a quarter now and then?

And then apparently inflation hit the itinerant community hard, I guess. I got stopped by a guy who told he only needed $9.50 to catch the Greyhound out of town and then he stopped talking, and it hit me.

Did he want me to give him ten bucks? Was this the point of the hustle?

That’s more than minimum wage. If somebody worked at Walmart, that $9.50 is like an hour and twenty minutes worth of abuse and debasement and some guy on the street just wants you to turn that money over. Walmart abuse is serious. Its customers flipping out over everything, it’s being so understaffed that you’re too demoralized to work, its someone constantly doing something awful to the bathroom, its being exposed to lousy Chinese products that are probably poisoning you in new and horrible ways and somebody wants to just take that money you earned.

And there’s no actual reason why you should give it to them. No matter what they think.

Also bums are getting entitled. More and more are complaining about how much they are receiving in contributions. Some accuse me of being cheap if I don’t give enough, because of course, I got dressed up tonight to take my wife out to dinner and support the vices of five or six random people I meet on the way. I can’t afford my own vices. I am pre-disposed to like expensive clothes and cheap women. I eat everything I see.

At the very least, I want a voucher. If I start my evening and I give someone a little change, I don’t want to get the stinkeye from next ten bums I meet. I already came up out my pockets. I would like to flash them my voucher, and be left alone. I was in Baltimore, and a homeless guy chased my grandmother down the street, yelling at her the whole time, because she only gave him $1.49. We had to physically restrain him.

Why are they asking for more? Did the cost of not having a house, not commuting to their job, and not having utilities go up? Is there a cost of living I don’t know about?