Tuesday, April 18, 2006

some spare change and a sense of belonging

There's a guy outside the Trader Joe's that I shop at (don't really know if he's homeless, but my guess would be he is) who sells the a newspaper under the ‘Spare Change’ name.

I’m not sure the newspaper is called Spare Change itself, but the idea is that you give him some spare change and you get this newspaper/newsletter instead (talk about Bartering)

He’s not a very strong salesman, and is always saying in a very monotone voice ‘Pleeeease buy the latest issue. Pleeease buy the latest issue. Support the homeless. Pleeease buy the latest issue’ (so never mind my comment before; he is probably homeless)

Yesterday night I stopped by to get some sushi and decided to get 10 dollars cash back after my grocery purchases. I rolled the ten, stepped outside and tried to hand it to the guy.

‘Here you go my friend’

I expected to walk away right after that, but he insisted on giving me one of the issues. I said, no thanks, keep it, but he insisted.

‘I have two different issues. Oh, wait, this one is from last week. Which one did you say you wanted? Wait okay, here, take this one’

And so I did.

As I walked away, I realized how I could have offended him by giving him money and not taking his newspaper. I realized he probably feels accomplished when he gets money from selling and issue. I know I probably would.

So, in retrospective, I realized how important it is to be a part of (or feel a part of) of something that we think as greater than ourselves… or maybe not greater, but just be a part of something… and yesterday I was glad I made the Spare Change guy feel that he was being a part of something.


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