Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Instant food stamps

Turn money into food stamps quickly
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Sometimes I feel like giving money to a beggar but dont like the idea that the money could be spent on things other than food. I propose some universal system to turn paper money into something like a food stamp.

The government could begin accepting torn dollars from shopkeepers as long as they promise to treat them like food stamps. People could tear off the upper left hand corner, for instance, and turn their money into a food and drink only coupon. Everyone wins.

lowbot, Nov 03 2006

McDonald's Gift Certificate http://www.mcdonald...p/certificates.html
Use in lieu of Instant Food Stamps. [jurist, Nov 07 2006]

Another idea to improve beggar morality Automat_20for_20the_20People
[bungston, Nov 08 2006]

[link]






       //Everyone wins.//   

       Including the person who trades the begger $0.75 cash for $1 worth of food stamps.
supercat, Nov 03 2006
  

       //Sometimes I feel like giving money to a beggar but dont like the idea that the money could be spent on things other than food.//

That's just the risk you take, isn't it? We don't have food stamps in UK, so our beggars get to spend all of their takings on White Lightning and crack, including their welfare payments.
angel, Nov 03 2006
  

       Another problem is the 'career homeless', if you will, the people who refuse a decent, steady job, and prefer to spend their time begging, walking the streets, etc.
froglet, Nov 03 2006
  

       Many homeless people have mental problems that prevent them from keeping a decent, steady job. Some other homeless people have steady jobs.
jmvw, Nov 03 2006
  

       Make postal vouchers out of dehydrated starch - simply add water, and <foop!> instant food stamps.
zen_tom, Nov 03 2006
  

       Whenever we see someone homeless on the street, we seldom ask ourselves (or the homeless guy for that matter) where they were the day before and where they last ate something.   

       Overall its illegal to purposely destroy currency. Plus the banks have rules for torn money- Essentially if you have 2/3 of the bill, you can exchange it for a full bill. Taking the corner off of a $10 bill would still be negotiable as cash. Some sort of vending machine might be suitable for this purpose.
Jscotty, Nov 03 2006
  

       Food Stamp Vending Machine? Put in your bill and out cometh a Food Stampicus.
Chefboyrbored, Nov 03 2006
  

       Why limit food stamps to beggars? You could make food stamps commonplace. A kind of currency that can only be used to buy food. This would work on kids: you would be sure they are spending their lunch money on lunch. And it would hinder muggings: a random thug would have less incentive to try and rob you if the ways to spend his loot were limited to food. (Of course, for this to work on petty thieves the stamps would have to be extremely commonplace.)
Veho, Nov 03 2006
  

       There would be people exchanging them at 75%, as [supercat] says.
angel, Nov 03 2006
  

       I've seen it at 50%, in a store that would take an entire month's worth. Some things are more important than eating, I guess.
Shz, Nov 03 2006
  

       //Some things are more important than eating// Now don't spread that rumor around, I'll be out of a job faster than you could say food stamps.
Chefboyrbored, Nov 03 2006
  

       //Some things are more important than eating, I guess.//   

       If one has some rudimentary cooking skills and doesn't demand particularly exciting cuisine, one can manage a nutritionally-adequate diet for very little money. If someone doesn't need to spend their entire food stamp allowance on food, why should they?
supercat, Nov 07 2006
  

       Well, because effectively they're asking for my money because they can't eat without it. If I'm forking over my cash and the recipient isn't doing anything in return, I should get to say how it's spent.
angel, Nov 07 2006
  

       Or, keep McDonald's/Wendy's/Burger King gift certificates in your wallet for these occasions, tips, prizes, birthday gifts, or thank-yous, if you like. It may not be the healthy food you envisioned your beggar purchasing for himself, but they're equally difficult to negotiate for liquor or cigarettes.
jurist, Nov 07 2006
  

       Why deny someone who's already in a bad place the autonomy to decide how to spend what little they have? It just seems a way to make someone feel even more helpless.   

       Maybe they want to save up to buy something else of value - clothing, a book, a thermosflask, whatever.   

       Or maybe they want to be able to have a drink. If they want to make that choice then that's their perogative. I've spent money on booze before when I really should have been putting it towards something more sensible, do I really have the right to judge someone else who wants to do that? Especially when I think they probably need the escapism more than I ever did.   

       I don't know, to me the idea of food stamps seems slightly patronising - when I give money to beggars it's because I think they need money, not because I'm insistent that they must spend it on a certain thing. If it bothers you that much just share your sandwiches instead.
Taika, Nov 07 2006
  

       //do I really have the right to judge someone else who wants to do that?//

That depends on whose money it is. If it's mine, I have every right.

//when I give money to beggars it's because I think they need money//

You're not concerned that the reason they 'need money' might be because they spent it all on booze? Or that they have a crack habit?
angel, Nov 07 2006
  

       Or you could just ... give them food.   

       Carry a Thermos with tea in it and some paper cups, then when a beggar says "50p for a cup of tea guvner?", you give him a cup of tea :-)
chrisg67, Nov 07 2006
  

       We already have food stamps in the UK. They're called Luncheon Vouchers. Available in 50p, £1, £2 & £5 denominations.
jtp, Nov 07 2006
  

       But you can buy booze at Tesco with them.
angel, Nov 07 2006
  

       And your point is?
DrCurry, Nov 07 2006
  

       When you give money to help someone, don't you want to know that it will be used for good, instead of chancing the very real possibility that you were scammed and you're not helping at all? I don't give to charitable organizations without knowing how they spend it.   

       A beggar once asked me for change to buy a sandwich. I was going to lunch so offered to buy him one. He got upset with me and left.
Shz, Nov 07 2006
  

       ...which was my point.
angel, Nov 07 2006
  

       If someone with $20 cash in his pocket is planning to spend $10 on food, and someone gives him $10 worth of food stamps, that person is going to spend $10 cash on something else. Unless a person is willing to demand complete control of another's finances in exchange for assistance, attempts at partial control are useless at best.   

       If a person who shaves $5 off of his food budget will have $5 more to spend on whatever he wants, that person will likely try to economize. By contrast, giving a person more money in foodstamps than should be necessary will likely cause that person to develop habits that will make him dependent upon such handouts.
supercat, Nov 08 2006
  

       //but dont like the idea that the money could be spent on things other than food.// beggars have every right to be chosers. bone
xenzag, Nov 08 2006
  

       Instant food stamps, like the tiny capsule sponges.
Chefboyrbored, Nov 08 2006
  
      
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