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Social Etiquette

Time for Change: Urban Generosity

I don’t dare claim this is standard urban commuter etiquette.  As a matter of fact, I think the authorities advise against it.  Still, it seems like one of those things we could easily tag on to the world of pleasantries this holiday season and beyond.

As a New Yorker, I’ve ridden the subway train a million times and most of those trips include the complementary beggar.  They come in an array of flavors, from the chicken-loving opera singer, to the mother with five babies, to the hip hop pole dancers.  Each one is uniquely talented in the fine art of acquiring tax-free donations.  Hey, can’t knock the hustle.  Might as well enable it.

I came to learn from the old school gentlemen riders that it’s smooth and, let us say, New York chic to carry some loose change in your pocket just for those car-to-car solicitors; the sidewalk cardboard boxers; the vagrant coffee cup change catchers.  Really, it’s like “a thing.”  You ask me for my hard earned money, I wince a little, then give in a little, and feel better about myself (a little).  Come on, what do we do with our change anyway?  Half of the time we lose it in a gumball machine …err couch.  Besides, with it being holiday season, some of us are more inclined to give in the jolly spirit.  At least we should be, with our baller syndrome throwing dollars at every retail store for two months straight, making it rain on Santa.  So why not share a little more?  Oh and if you’re visiting from out of town this season, it’s like a requirement that you drop some dough upon request; somewhat of a tourism fee for stopping mid-sidewalk to snap photos and crowding Fifth Avenue.

Yeah, I’m kind of joking.  Kind of.  The way I see it is, what you do with your money is always your choice, but there’s no harm in sharing good cents and spreading good cheer.



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