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04 February 2009

why did i just do that?

You know how we, as humans, have those moments where we want to (or really do) want to smack our heads for being so stupid? Well, I had one of those moments today.

Greensboro is a unique town in the fact that it doesn't have a ghetto, it has ghettoes. Spread out throughout town, in the most random of places- even right smack in the middle of ritzy areas. Like, you have mansions and ritzy stores on one side of the street and Food Lion and Church's Chicken on the other. Well, the grocery store I usually go to 'cause it's right across the street from Rob's work has a ghetto behind it. And I go to this grocery store instead of the one close to our house because it's a nice Harris Teeter that has a great produce selection compared to the dumpy Food Lion with wilted lettuce near our house.

So anyway, I go to the grocery store today and as I'm getting out of my car a shabby woman in a dilapidated car pulls up next to me. I'm immediately on my guard as this happens quite often in this area. (In fact, up to this point I have blown off anyone asking for anything and feel really guilty about it.) She proceeds to tell me that her baby in the back seat has a fever and she needs some pedialyte formula and some tylenol for it and would I be willing to help her out? [I'm thinking in my mind, "holy cow, pedialyte is expensive- I can't afford to buy any] She asks if I would buy a blanket from her- she's trying to sell them to get the money for the supplies- for ten dollars. My previous guilt for not helping out needy people before is knawing at me so I tell her I can buy her some tylenol. She protests, saying she's not going to make me buy medcine for her 'cause some reason I don't remember now that sounded kind of legit at the time [that should have been a warning sign, but of course can't think on my feet]. So I tell her to wait a second, I'm not sure if I have any cash. Well, I'm definitely not giving her ten dollars- needy or not I can't afford that. So I tell her I have five dollars and tell her I don't need the blanket, I have plenty [I'm thinking there's no way I'm taking your nasty blanket] and she thanks me profusely and I hand the money to her. But, as I'm stepping away form her car I realize there is NO baby in that baby seat and she just scammed me. And I feel like crap. Even more so as she pulls away without even going into the Harris Teeter. And I realize I can't win- if I deny people I feel guilty, but if I help them out, I feel even more guilty. 'Cause the worst part is we've been really careful with money recently because of the economy and everything. And I just blew FIVE dollars. So the whole time I'm in Harris Teeter (and still now) I'm berating myself for not handing her a dollar. A dollar is a reasonable amount to give a complete stranger. NOT five dollars. This betrays how selfish I really am, but if I'm going to blow five dollars I'd rather have a junior bacon cheeseburger with fries and a frosty (instead of enabling someone's drug addiction or something just as bad).

So please, make me feel better and tell me I'm a good person and I'll get extra points on Judgment day or whatever so I don't feel like I completely wasted that money. 'Cause I'm a nice person, right?


  1. If you came and told me you gave five dollars to a complete stranger, I would say you're nuts. But when you tell the whole story--especially how guilty you felt--I completely understand. They're just so good at lying sometimes! And you were being Christ-like, for heaven's sake! Don't worry, you'll be blessed for it eventually.

  2. you know I wouldn't even stress about it! Everyone has done it one time or another...Kevin is always hounded by someone who needs money! And he's even more of a sucker than you...at least it was only 5 bucks, not the whole $10!!

  3. I totally feel your pain. But what can you do? You are a good person and that is why you help other people out. We have so been scammed before. But we are commanded to love one another.

  4. Here's a first. I'm breaking out the scriptures for a blog comment. Your story demanded it. Here's a bit from Mosiah 4 for ya, Jackie:

    16[Y]e will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
    17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man [or woman?]has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, for his punishments are just—
    18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent;
    19 For behold, are we not all beggars?

    Every time we read this chapter, I feel stabs of guilt in my heart. I never give money to beggars. And Andrew tells me not to feel bad because we can't give to EVERYONE or we wouldn't have any way to support ourselves. Still, I'm saying you did a good thing here, Jackie. You should NOT feel bad about being generous.

  5. I used to be really nice and gave a dollar or two to people like that too. Now though I worry about people hurting me or that they have a substance issue or something. My husband told me if I wanted to help those people to give money to charities that can help those people instead of handing it directly to them and putting myself at risk. It sounds kind of paranoid, but I don't know why I never thought of this before. Keeps me safe and still allows me not to beat myself up over feeling guilty. Don't feel bad, we have ALL been scammed before, but at least you were scammed for being "too nice"! :) Nothing wrong with being too nice!

  6. You're a good person but #1 you need to be sure to be very cautious, no matter where you are!