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  #21  
Old 23 January 2013, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Mickey Blue View Post
...It's an honor system, so only (g)you can answer that question. Some people will be in the right, some people will truly be able to 100% convince themselves they are in the right, and some will just tell themselves they are but never really believe it (and of course some will just take advantage cause nobody is there to stop them)....
Agreed, but I think few people fall into the last category. Most people live in a world where they think they are doing right, even when they aren't. And the people who don't probably don't feel much shame about it.
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  #22  
Old 23 January 2013, 08:47 PM
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True, and I've given up hoping people who do bad things will wake up and adjust their behavior (be it taking advantage of charity, being rude, being bigoted, etc) and I agree most of them I'm sure think they are in the right.. But that doesn't really impact my comment that I would hope they feel shame about such behavior.
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  #23  
Old 23 January 2013, 08:52 PM
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If I went to a place like this today, I would definitely pay the normal value for my food. But going back in time, 20 years ago to when I was a university student, that's a different story. Let me be clear - I was never completely broke or starving, but much like most every other student, there was a tight budget, especially when something unexpected came along. If such a place existed near me or students like me, I'm sure I'd be eating there, and I'm sure I wouldn't be paying very much. Not necessarily nothing, but less, probably, than what I can afford to pay, and definitely less than what I should pay, but that would have been my mentality at the time. I'm not necessarily proud of it - at that age things were as much "me first, second and third" as they could be. I know I'm not alone in that thinking either.

For those who remember my other story of how I was surprised that a classmate (whom I was sure was doing well) was getting free food at a food bank, and I speak ill of him for doing so, you may wonder why I can say that, and yet admit that I would take advantage of a "pay what you can" restaurant. The reason is more complicated than hypocrisy - it's the belief of who was being "ripped off" in this case. It made all the difference in believing that my classmate was ripping off actually poor and destitute people who needed to use a food bank, whereas in this case there'd be the belief that I was taking advantage of what I believe is a large company. If my classmate wasn't "stealing" from the poor, but rather, taking the occasional free meal from a big, wealthy corporation like, say, McDonald's, there'd be little issue about what he was doing.

It's difficult to explain this morality. If we went to the bar and had the good fortune of not being charged for everything we drank, we didn't bring it to anyone's attention and quietly celebrated our good fortune. But if we went to a place where we were "regulars", and knew the servers, we would not be stingy with the tip. That seemed to be a matter of "personal" loyalty, and taking advantage of someone you knew was much worse than taking advantage of a nameless, faceless company.

How do I know I was not alone in this as a student? Because back then, the people who were my friends and colleagues were not well off, and we made the most of our budget by taking advantage of sales, two-for-one offers, coupons - anything we could. We were young and not all that willing to sacrifice our quality of life. There's proof of that in how many of us got in trouble with debt - especially the all-too-easy to rack up credit card debt. So while we weren't good with money, to a large extent, we tried to have our cake and eat it too, and if it came down to paying less than full value for a meal, we had no shame. That's just the way we were at that age.

That said, I hope this works out, and I do support it. I only hope that, well, there aren't too many "starving students" around to spoil it.
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  #24  
Old 23 January 2013, 08:56 PM
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Is there any reason you should have felt shame about "taking advantage of sales, two-for-one offers, [and] coupons"?
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  #25  
Old 23 January 2013, 09:07 PM
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People often have differing understandings of what they can afford, true. But this is the fifth Panera Cares Cafe that has opened. The first has been running successfully for 2 1/2 years in Clayton, Missouri (St. Louis area). They are all careful about the location chosen--they are chosen for a mix of people living/working in the area, and would not be located in a "starving students" only section of town.

Plus, I wouldn't necessarily say that all student populations are like you were. I wasn't like you at all when I was in college.
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  #26  
Old 23 January 2013, 09:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Is there any reason you should have felt shame about "taking advantage of sales, two-for-one offers, [and] coupons"?
No, because they were offered freely to everyone who met the criteria, and there was no "judgment" involved. The coupon's don't say "50% off, unless you'd like to pay a bit more because we really can't afford for everyone to use this coupon", they just say "50% off". Plus, it wasn't always at the same place. For a week or two, McDonald's would offer hamburgers for 49 cents, but the two weeks after that, Burger King would counter with a $1.49 Whopper.

For whatever reason, it would have felt different to always take advantage of the same such offer.

The "x years ago I never would have believed" thread made me acutely aware of the difference in attitude that existed back then. I can't say it's a sense of "entitlement" or merely being brash and youthful, but there was certainly less respect for a lot of things, including the respect for someone else to make money and earn a living. As students we weren't wealthy, and that was the justification for a lot of things one just wouldn't do as an adult. Like, say, pirate the cable signal. We were legal adults, so the penalties of doing such things would be the same as now, but we were far less likely to always do the "right" thing. Some people change, and some don't. I know I have, but I still remember what it was like to think that way.

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Originally Posted by Avril View Post
Plus, I wouldn't necessarily say that all student populations are like you were. I wasn't like you at all when I was in college.
Well then, what were you like? Did you rely on internships and scholarships to pay the bills? Did your father lose his job half-way through your education? Or did you have a trust fund? Did you go to the food bank as a donor? Or maybe as a consumer, or a volunteer? How much did you care about your grades? Could you "afford" the time to go to the bar every night because a pass was good enough? What are you trying to say about how you were? Would you have gone to the "pay what you can" restaurant and paid the full price? Or more?

I'm volunteering this information because it was the reality I lived. I wasn't alone in being poor and frugal, and perhaps a bit immature. You are choosing to be judgmental about this in a "holier than thou" way. If you wanted to just say that not everyone was like me, you could simply say that "Not all students are like that", without the self-serving comparison. I'm not necessarily proud of how I was, but I freely admit to being the way I actually was, and not painting myself to be some kind of paragon of moral virtue. Being poor sucks. Being proud about it is something you can only say once you're no longer poor. And for people who claim to have "enjoyed" their days of being poor, well, they weren't really poor in the first place.

Last edited by Hero_Mike; 23 January 2013 at 09:55 PM.
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  #27  
Old 23 January 2013, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post

I don't know why people think they have the right to tell others how to spend their charitable donations, but some people do.
Agreed. I also don't know why the fact that some people might game the system is a reason not to do it.
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  #28  
Old 23 January 2013, 10:15 PM
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Particularly for a private charity.. I can at least see the logic that if enough people were gaming a government system people would no longer want to waste tax dollars on it but a private charity can do what they want (provided they aren't committing some kind of fraud).
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  #29  
Old 23 January 2013, 10:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
Well then, what were you like? Did you rely on internships and scholarships to pay the bills?
I worked my way through college. I had scholarships that covered most of my tuition, but I bought my own books and paid my own living expenses.
Quote:
Did your father lose his job half-way through your education?
My parents contributed nothing, financially, to my education. I grew up in a very poor family. As it happens, my father had a stroke when I was a sophomore, however.
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Or did you have a trust fund?
What do you think?
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Did you go to the food bank as a donor? Or maybe as a consumer, or a volunteer?
I occasionally volunteered and/or collected for the food bank. I did not ever take food from it.
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How much did you care about your grades?
A lot. I was kind of obsessive.
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Could you "afford" the time to go to the bar every night because a pass was good enough?
I don't drink and didn't then. I was very ill in college anyway, so I was often home throwing up or sleeping when I wasn't at work or school.
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What are you trying to say about how you were?
Providing a contrasting anecdote is all.
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Would you have gone to the "pay what you can" restaurant and paid the full price? Or more?
Suggested donation, probably. But they probably wouldn't have had anything I was allowed to eat. I was on a very restrictive diet to curb the vomiting.

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I'm volunteering this information because it was the reality I lived.
As am I.
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I wasn't alone in being poor and frugal, and perhaps a bit immature. You are choosing to be judgmental about this in a "holier than thou" way.
Nope, just a counter example.

Quote:
And for people who claim to have "enjoyed" their days of being poor, well, they weren't really poor in the first place.
I invite you over to Unhijackable to see how I am enjoying my current financial situation. I never said I enjoyed having so little.
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  #30  
Old 23 January 2013, 10:45 PM
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I think that people are less likely to donate to specific charities which are suspected or known to being "gamed", and in general, to all charities. If this wasn't true, there would not be watchdogs or advisors like "Ethical Giving". People care where there money goes, and for a charity to be successful and well-received, it should make an effort to avoid being "gamed".
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  #31  
Old 23 January 2013, 10:50 PM
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But that is not what I said. The immediate response of "that is a bad idea because people will take advantage of it" is what I was talking about.

When I evaluate a charity, my main concern is how much of the money will go to the work of the charity (as opposed to administrative costs). ETA: ANd that's what most watchdog groups look at. It never crosses my mind to think "how many people are getting money from this that shouldn't?"

As Lanie says, once they have my money, it's not mine to worry about anymore.
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  #32  
Old 23 January 2013, 10:52 PM
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I was more commenting about the comments about how they should not have the charity to begin with. If I thought a charity was frequently 'gamed' I probably would donate my money somewhere else but they have every right to have their charity with the security protocols they feel are appropriate.

Sort of like.. I don't personally give money to homeless people directly; I have heard too many stories about homeless people who abuse alcohol and other drugs and I won''t enable that. However I don't begrudge people who do give them money, it's their money they can do what they want with it.
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  #33  
Old 23 January 2013, 10:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
\
Well then, what were you like? Did you rely on internships and scholarships to pay the bills?
If Avril was like me, she lived off scholarships, loans and workstudy. It would have never occurred to me to act as you described either. For awhile I lived on the one meal a day on the meal plan I paid for.

And seriously, what is this one-upmanship with how poor were you really?
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  #34  
Old 23 January 2013, 11:10 PM
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My personal experience, both as a former college student and as a former waitress who served a lot of college students, is that a lot more of them fit Hero_Mike's description (or worse) than Avril's. I didn't see anything in his post that claimed everyone was like that, just that it was very common. One or two counterexamples does nothing to diminish that claim.
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  #35  
Old 23 January 2013, 11:13 PM
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I suspect college would produce this even more commonly given that it's when many people first become responsible for many of their own bills (and if those bills include tuition then they may be very hefty) it may be harder to really know how poor/not poor you are (short of extreme examples).

Living at home you didn't pay for board, utilities, most food, etc. It's not uncommon for kids to get their own car or at least use their parents car, and so on. You get to college and all of a sudden you realize how expensive things are. I could see it easy to feel you are 'poor' when perhaps you aren't, or at least not as poor as you believe yourself to be.

I'd have more sympathy for people in that age than adults of course, who I would hope would have grown out of such behavior.
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  #36  
Old 23 January 2013, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
You are choosing to be judgmental about this in a "holier than thou" way.
She said she wasn't like you. Any judgment is in your imagination.
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  #37  
Old 24 January 2013, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
She said she wasn't like you. Any judgment is in your imagination.
I beg to differ. I came out to admit that I'm far less than perfect in ways that I remember well, but without pride. Do you honestly believe Avril meant that she was worse than I was? I think ninety out of a hundred would see it my way.

This isn't about how poor I was as a student, because on an absolute scale I wasn't doing all that badly. Unlike other people I know personally, I never had to take a year or semester off because they couldn't put together the already low tuition costs I had in Canada. I think a lot of students did things back then that they were not proud of - even if *you* didn't do it, you know someone who got all their school supplies from their summer job, or did the "dine & dash" deliberately. I would say quite freely that it's a combination of being poor in both money and judgment , but I don't think that my admission of such things, along with the observation that a good cause may ultimately falter because of too many freeloaders, should have anyone saying "I'm not like you". She could have simply said "Not everyone is like that", or even "Most people are not like that." But that's not what I see.

Well, the truth is that I'm not the person I was either. I just know that people like that - not naming names - still exist. And that they will seek to take advantage of this noble effort.

As for the "charitable" act here - imagine that this wasn't just a charity that allowed some people to eat for free. Say that it was a charity which billed itself as support for cancer patients. Except that they were known to give money to a few people who didn't necessarily have cancer, but only claimed it. And the people running the charity, well, they were OK with that. Would the donating public care that the charity doesn't care? I think they would, and I think that the charity *should* care. We can disagree here, but understand that my intention is for the charity - any charity - to do its good work and not be swindled, so the limited money goes where it is supposed to go.

It isn't always about charitable donations going to the "poor" or "needy" - consider that people frequently donate money to charities which are targeting the finding of a cure for a certain disease. That money isn't going to the poor or destitute - it's funding the salaries of a lot of highly-educated and well-compensated researchers, some of whom, you would imagine, are working in those positions because of the money. The giving public may not think about this, but if that's what is advertised, then that's where the money should go. For people who have cancer, I'm pretty sure that they don't just want researchers who are willing to do the work on the cheap. They want the best possible people out there finding that cure, and if you think about it deeply, you realize that it may cost more money that way, but with luck, that cure may be found more quickly. What it is about, is that integrity.

I'm not saying that this is a "can't win, don't try" situation, but rather, that this place should tread carefully. I think it is much more likely to work in an urban center, where one is equally likely to find the very rich and the very poor. (If that were not true, you'd find more homeless people in the suburbs.) And I base my concern upon a reality I lived.

So I find it hard to imagine someone being unaware of how students - be they actually poor or merely contrary and belligerent - can be that way. If they weren't like that, then I can only assume that they had a privileged, ivory-tower existence. Too rich to have limited resources, and too noble to admit that they ever did anything the least bit wrong. (Those who are in that ivory tower tend to think that way of themselves.)

I'm sorry to have shared my anecdote and experience. Obviously I'm not fit for such noble company. This seems to happen every time I admit to doing anything wrong - even if I admit to being a snarky and less-than-perfectly respectful teenager - and I get called a "little shite", or get the "well I am not like that" comparison. Have y'all forgotten your own "human" imperfection? Is everyone so worried about admitting to anything less than perfection? I have to say that I feel a certain amount of pride in being able to admit this, and the most important part that's lost here is that I have changed.

Let they who are without sin, cast the first stone.
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  #38  
Old 24 January 2013, 12:26 AM
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Remove the rafter from your own eye before you point out the speck in your brother's eye.
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  #39  
Old 24 January 2013, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
My personal experience, both as a former college student and as a former waitress who served a lot of college students, is that a lot more of them fit Hero_Mike's description (or worse) than Avril's. I didn't see anything in his post that claimed everyone was like that, just that it was very common. One or two counterexamples does nothing to diminish that claim.
On the other hand, I did not go out to eat much in college because I couldn't afford it. So you wouldn't have seen many students like me when you were a waitress.

And I don't think either of us said we were representative, just that sweeping generalizations about what college kids were like based on one person's experience were unwarranted.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
She said she wasn't like you. Any judgment is in your imagination.
Exactly. I saw it more as a counterexample to the conclusion that Mike drew about "I was this way. So was everyone".

Not all of us who went through college humbly were the same. I know I was pretty darned happy about the opportunity I was given. I went to a college with the privileged and knew a lot of people who felt the world owed them something. Strangely, this attitude was not as prevalent amongst the "scholarship kids".

Also, in being exposed to college students over the last 30 years of my life, I will say that it is the ones used to having a lot who feel they can take advantage of those who have little (be it wait staff or a charity). Not that I feel not having a lot would justify that behavior.
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  #40  
Old 24 January 2013, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprise Me View Post
My personal experience, both as a former college student and as a former waitress who served a lot of college students, is that a lot more of them fit Hero_Mike's description (or worse) than Avril's.
I don't see how you can say that, since Avril didn't describe herself, except to stay that she wasn't like Mike, which isn't terribly specific. Despite what Mike says, different isn't necessarily better or worse. It's different.
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