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.