The Dark Side

Dark Side Topic #1:  Necessary Theft??

I work in a place that has a tip jar. It is not a restaurant, but we do have a tip jar at the cash register.

Tonight someone came in and kept hanging around without buying anything. He was just sitting at one of the tables looking slightly stoned, staring at the front of the store, visiting the washroom a lot and asking for glasses of water.

The second time he asked for a glass of water, he came up to the cash and asked for it. The wise girl behind the counter asked him to go to the drinks counter to get the water. If she would have left the register to get the water, he would have grabbed the tip jar and ran.

The reason I know this is that as soon as that same girl was the only person at the front of the store (but not behind the cash register – she happened to be sweeping the floor) – he quickly grabbed the tip jar and made his way to the door.

The girl held up the broom she was using and held it lengthwise in front of herself. She shouted “YOU CAN’T TAKE OUR MONEY!!” and tried to block the door with her body and the broom. Possibly Stoned Sketchy Robber Man replied with “I’m homeless – I need that money!!” She protested further and even hit him with the broom, but somehow he wedged past her and ran out the door.

We all exited the store in time to see him running down the street. I knew I could catch him (I am a fast runner and have apprehended a thief before), but it was the general consensus that that would be unsafe.

Security came – too late, of course, but we gave them a description of this person anyway. There has been another theft in the same area within the last couple of days, so it may be the same person.

It is too bad that we lost our tips, but it is a lot more sad that someone has to resort to stealing tip jars for money.

The girl who tried to stop him told us that she saw this person many times in her former neighbourhood, asking for money on the street. Sometimes he would show up with a dog, sometimes not.

I would like to hear from my readers about this. I have heard differing views on this issue. Some think that panhandlers don’t deserve to be given money, and some think that it’s a good thing to do. I have heard stories of people buying panhandlers food, only to be told by the panhandler that they would like money instead. I also heard a story about a panhandler buying a non-homeless person a slice of pizza.

What do you think?

Dark Side Topic #2:  Ignoramuses

On the streetcar on the way home today (shortly after the episode with Possibly Stoned Sketchy Robber Man), two of the girls I work with told me some of their experiences with…well, ignoramuses. Both of these girls are not Caucasian, and both have had racist remarks YELLED in their direction on separate occasions. One of them had eggs thrown at her from a moving vehicle while visiting family in London, England while racist remarks were being shouted out of the car window.  The other had a person of her same ethnic background making rude comments to her in a restaurant about the fact that her boyfriend was Caucasian. They also both told me that they have been treated rudely by certain customers in our workplace, who apparently only want to speak to the white people who work there.

However, both of them have lived in other countries and cities than Toronto and they both said that it is better here than most places (as far as racism goes). But it’s still sad that they have been yelled at and ignored AT ALL because of their ethnicities.

I would also like to hear from my readers on this issue. What have your experiences been in this regard?

Photo credit (and interesting article about tip jars): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jack-amiel/the-tipping-jar-point_b_3920235.html

Stay tuned!

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