Thursday, November 15, 2012

trust no one

Any old The X-files fans out there? Oh, man. I was really into that show.


A little story for you today.

There was this woman who used to sit outside the Target I go to. She'd be there all day, every day, collecting money for a shelter for battered women. She was there for years. She made friends with tons of the customers. I'd see people chatting with her, hugging her, and of course giving her money.

Last night one of our local news stations ran a story about her because it turns out she is an enormous fraud. She and some guy named Willie have been pocketing the cash. Which explains the BMW she drives. 

I have an inherent distrust of anyone soliciting for a charity I've never heard of, so I've never given this woman money. But I always felt guilty walking out of the store and shaking my head "no" at her. She would tell me to have a good day, and I'd wonder briefly about her role at the purported battered women's shelter.

Now I feel vindicated, of course.

During a discussion about this on Facebook, one friend mentioned that she has to jump through tons of hoops with stores for get permission to sell Girl Scout cookies or solicit for the Salvation Army. If the store doesn't allow it, then they are technically not allowed to solicit there. The problem is the stores are unable to prevent solicitors who don't jump through the hoops. Anyone can set up camp outside a store entrance, claiming to be legitimate, and there's nothing to be done about it. In San Jose, the police don't have the staff to show up for these kinds of calls, so it goes unchecked.

So this is just a little tale for you and I to remember next time someone outside a store asks us for money. Unless it's for an organization you know is legitimate, it's possible it's a scam. Let's not be falsely guilted into giving money to these jackholes anymore.


  1. I was an X-Files addict and married a David Duchovny look-alike. Just kidding. I don't think he looks that much like Duchovny but people always tell him that. He used to be insulted about it until I explained to him that it's a major compliment.

    1. I had to go look at your FB photos immediately. I agree, there is a resemblance, and yeah, that's a major compliment! I had it bad for David Duchovny for a looong time. :)

  2. There used to be a man that stood at the bottom of an exit off of I-80 with a "homeless" sign. Another "homeless" person tried to start standing at this exit, and a big physical fight occured between the two men.

    It turns out that neither of them were homeless. They made at a minimum $300 per day, just standing on the corner. Approximately $109,000 a year they were just pocketing because people were stupid enough to give them cash.

    1. Exactly. Those people make TONS of money. Recently around here we've had a woman standing on a traffic island. She's probably in her mid-20s, attractive and well-dressed. And I bet she rakes it in. I never give money to those people but I will admit I gave $5 to a woman who was sitting next to the ATMs with a newborn baby one time. Babies always win.

  3. Speaking of strange things your money may be going to... while working for marriage equality in WA, I found out some stuff I didn't know about the Salvation Army. I guess in my laziness, I kind of lumped them in with the Red Cross (*mistake*).