Saturday, March 21, 2009

A new sign of the times?

I'm a member of Las Vegas Athletic Club (LVAC) and make an attempt to workout several times a week. Well, on my way home from the gym tonight, while leaving the LVAC parking lot and getting ready to turn onto the main road (West Flamingo - which is a very nice area) I noticed a clean-cut man, mid to late thirties, holding a cardboard sign... The sign said: Laid off father of three - will work for food/money.

Wow I thought, first time I've seen this...

Now don't get me wrong, Las Vegas has more than its fair share of homeless panhandlers, but this was much different and it hit home hard...

You see, minus a nest egg, a job and earnest preparations, this guy wasn't much different than me, and who knows - depending on how long this downturn lasts and whether or not my luck holds out, I can't completely discount the fact that some day this COULD be me...

Anyway, I had about five bucks in quarters in my car's cupholder, so I pulled over and gave it to him. He then stated, thanks, but I really don't want a handout, I want to work. Do you have any work that I could do?

I honestly didn't and several impatient drivers behind me were already displaying signs of irritation, so I told him: no - sorry I don't, but best of luck to you - and I drove off into traffic.

My mind was then spinning and I couldn't stop thinking about how this is likely a budding new reflection of the scary/desperate economic times we are in... I can only imagine, as this depression deepens, many more laid off fathers, mothers, grandparents, etc. who eventually will throw their shame aside too - as putting food on the table for their loved ones becomes far more important than pride...

Am I making too big a deal out of this, or is this indeed a new sign of the times?

Your Thoughts?


Best Regards

Randy

18 Comments:

At 3/21/2009 2:02 AM, Blogger Bubba Gump said...

It is a sign of the times Randy. Are there tent cities for homeless jobless people in your area like here in California?

 
At 3/21/2009 4:11 AM, Blogger Max said...

No, you are not making too big a deal out of this... and yes, I'd say it was definately a sign of the times. I applaude your compassion.
I was an over-the-road truck driver for a few years and would keep a couple small bags of basics (a bottle of water, piece of fruit, granola bar or two, can of tuna etc.) in the truck with me and hand them out the window when I'd encounter folks panhandeling at intersections and on/off ramps.
Maybe with someone like that (and if you truely felt impelled to reach out) you could hand him a business card and have him call you to help "network" him. If he's as decent a guy as he appeared I'd guess you will have made a friend for life.

 
At 3/21/2009 4:56 AM, Blogger Randy said...

LV Tent city

 
At 3/21/2009 6:23 AM, Anonymous PDM said...

Randy,

Thank you for sharing this. "But for the grace of God..."

A financial pale horse has been loosed. And hell followed with him.

I still believe many are in denial and it varies greatly by region.

Keep preparing.

My best wishes to you and all who read your blog,

PDM

 
At 3/21/2009 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I had been jaded by the crew of guys regularly working the intersection of Paradise and Desert Inn for handouts for so long that I had lost compassion for those truly in need. You've made me reconsider.

 
At 3/21/2009 7:19 AM, Blogger laurie said...

It is heart breaking because when we see someone like that, we realize it could be us....

I fear in the near future there will be more of "us" - clean cut, middle and upper class, resposnsible people in desperate situations.

 
At 3/21/2009 7:24 AM, Blogger laurie said...

Forgot to add, your story was even more depressing because I came over for "weekend funnies" and instead read that. Signs of the times.....

 
At 3/21/2009 7:32 AM, Blogger OSR said...

We've been see more and more of this in Baltimore.

 
At 3/21/2009 8:04 AM, Blogger Louisa said...

Randy,
You are not making too big a deal out of that. It is a big deal. It feels awful to hear that story. It is the sobering reality of our situation that is unfolding all around. What can we do now?
I think we'll be finding out what kind of people we are as a country, as we go through this.

I seem to remember Joseph Campbell commenting about the Great Depression saying how people have no idea how bad it was then.

 
At 3/21/2009 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmm,

You work out at "work" and you work out "after work"...why are you bigger "old man"!

:)

 
At 3/21/2009 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is really disturbing is that many jobs (especially well paying) appear unlikely to return. With the demise of the FIRE sector, the U.S. economy loses its most important income generator.

The Fed just recently took the first steps in outright "money printing". What I can't foresee though is if the deflation from deleveraging, along with high unemployment will prevent strong inflation from taking hold. As you're no doubt aware, currently there's strong arguments on both sides of that issue.

Under inflation, all workers suffer (not just the unemployed).

So Randy, you might not have to do anything. Our Uncle will introduce a hidden tax (i.e. inflation) so that you help others.

Unfortunately, aside from helping the disadvantaged, it means you ALSO help Execs from failed companies get bonuses.

For that I put the blame on Voters. After all, the voting majority elect the very politicians who have implemented the policies that got us where we are today.

 
At 3/21/2009 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't go out to lunch much, but Tuesday a friend and I met at a local Japanese restaurant. I was there a year ago last time and in those days you had to be there by 11.30 or you wouldn't get a table. By 11.45 it was full and you had to cue. We met at 11.30, not thinking much about the signs of the times, but by 12 it hit home. The place was half empty. It stayed half empty the whole time we were there. Everey other table unoccupied. The times they are a-changin'.

 
At 3/21/2009 2:10 PM, Anonymous Mark said...

I see in that article that my earlier thoughts are being promoted by those closest to ground zero, i.e., give them a space and maybe some minimal facilities (dumpsters, portajohns, shower shelters) and you have a better chance of a self policing "society" among the unfortunate. Hassling those who deliver food and water is a non-starter, and the city needs to pull its head out. They aren't soon going away, and those that help ARE helping.

 
At 3/21/2009 4:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seeing more of that here in Wilmington DE. My neighbor across the street is a painting contractor, and he is hurting. I'm gonna hire him to help me put up some drywall. The guy next to him has hired to to do some work in finishing his basement.

Jack

 
At 3/21/2009 11:27 PM, Blogger Chet said...

I workout at this LVAC also and was there this morning (Sat). Didn't see the man you're talking about. Hopefully someone found him a job.

 
At 3/22/2009 8:09 AM, Anonymous Dave said...

I think your empathy is commendable. So few people are thoughtful enough to imagine themselves in that situation, but it could happen to most of us. I do think it’s going to be an increasingly common sight. What’s more, I think at first such people will be polite and patient, but as time goes on they will become less and less patient and potentially inclined toward “unrest” or even criminality, especially as their numbers grow and the climate becomes more competitive.

Dave - Erstwhile Urban Wanderer

 
At 3/22/2009 4:13 PM, Blogger Shannon said...

Most unfortunately...a sign of the times. A time to cleave to our Heavenly Father, and know His will and plan is better than our own. My heart aches for those without jobs that were responsible and are being laid-off due to our stupid government, housing bubble, etc.

 
At 3/22/2009 11:33 PM, Anonymous Patrick said...

A Paycheck Away From Ruin

Fears Grow As More Consumers Just a Paycheck Or Two From Ruin

http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/fears-grow-consumers-just-paycheck-ruin/

 

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