Random People Asking for Money

Hey peeps,

Lately I’ve been exploring different parts of places around Melbourne such as the city and around my suburb. Not sure if the economy has anything to do with it but random people have been asking me for money.

Some of you may already know about the homeless people around the city begging for money or even just asking for donations but some of them have stepped up their game and confidence. I've had a lady go around asking for coins, and now surprisingly teenage girls around my suburb are randomly asking for some money( they are clearly not homeless). The girl ask for $4 when it was clear they don't need it. To make it more shady it was Already past 10:30pm at Maccas.

How would you respond to these types of request? Would you give in? Would you make sure they’re not trying to be shady or would you just reject them flat out or come up with an excuse?


  • +134 votes


    (The answer to all your questions.)

  • +6 votes

    Why does 10:30pm at Macca's make it more shady? Thought they had an all day menu promotion. I really wished they got Michael Douglas to do the ad.

  • +29 votes

    Ask them what you get in return for the $4. J/k

    Seriously say no


    Yeh, I know what you mean. A lady dressed nicely begged me for coins around 10:30PM in Melbourne. I think she said she needed a $2 coin for the locker or some bs. This was 10 years ago and I wonder if it is the same person you saw. I reacted the same as you, in surprise and the memory stuck. I did give a coin and I am not the sort of person who usually would. Sorta like a classy beggar. Never seen anyone like that in Sydney.

  • +31 votes

    Hey OP, can you lend me 20 bucks please?

  • +20 votes

    I saw someone sitting on the ground between a vending machine and a paystation at a shopping center asking for money. I ignored him, paid for my ticket and walked off. If they’ve got time to sit there asking for money, they’ve got time to look for a job.

  • +33 votes

    Once upon a time, I gave money to the ones that looked like they needed it the most. Nowadays, there's just way too many of them and Ive just stopped giving altogether.

    Truth is, I sometimes just get annoyed. I live and work in Melbourne CBD and walking down the street often feels like I'm running the gauntlet.

    There's a big problem when beggars can walk around with one hand taking "donations" and the other holding an iPhone.

    I seriously just need a cardboard sign I can pull out that says "LEAVE ME THE F___ ALONE!"

    • +2 votes

      Agree with everything except the iphone part. You need a smartphone for just about everything these days and the first thing government services will ask you is have you installed this or that app. There have been new iphone deals on OzBargain for less than $400, and second hand ones can be purchased for quite a bit cheaper.

      Maybe you are taking about the flashy $1000+ phones?

      • +5 votes

        Iphone <-> $1000+ smartphone… Wuht?

      • +1 vote

        $400 is very much a LUXURY if you are supposedly destitute. You can get smartphones for under $200. regardless a large portion of these people are neither destitute or homeless. It is easy money scam for many of them as you don't need many suckers an hour to generate a decent income. Makes me sad for the truly destitute as you can't trust any of them due to the amount of scammers.

        • +1 vote

          That's what I mean. You can get new iPhones for less than $400, second-hand ones a lot cheaper than that. There's a comment below detailing how charities give out phones as well. I fail to see how it's a luxury.

          Anybody can end up on the street, even you and me if a particular sequence of unfortunate circumstances were to take place in our lives. It can happen quite quickly as well. These people haven't been on the street forever so they may have a phone from a previous life. Don't kid yourself, it can happen to anyone. I think a lot of people would be surprised if they took the time to talk to and learn the backstory of some of the homeless people out there.

    • +1 vote

      I agree with tranter. A smartphone is a necessity now, even to interact with the government, and is a hell of a lot cheaper and easier than a laptop in that situation. Not that you can tell the difference between any smartphone at a glance, so it could be a 5 year old model they got for $100 and you wouldn't know.

    • -3 votes

      My guess is the iPhone was stolen. Probably from someone who said no to them on a cold dark night near some shady ally.

      • +4 votes

        My guess is the iPhone was stolen. Probably from someone who said no to them on a cold dark night near some shady ally.

        The charities give them out loaded up with sim that has a shed-load of credit on it and crazy low "special rates". The charities get them off Telstra (and probably the other Telcos).

        I had a neighbour who was the GM of the Telstra "charitable works" department. He gave out so many free devices he was comfortably able to hide his own embezzlement of dozens of iphones, blackberries and iPads plus persuading various Telstra brand ambassadors to attend his private parties and entertain the guests… until he got caught.


          Crazy wonder what charities they were. Salvos give phone credit but you have to prove you are absolutely financially rooted to the max to get a penny

          • +2 votes

            @SirMurduck: If you are ever near Martin Place or some of the other high profile areas on a cold night or near Xmas the charities are falling over themselves giving out bedding, suitcases, sleeping mats. A lot of it gets used once and then discarded until the next charity comes along.

            The ones that don't throw away their gear have so much they can't move.

            I would not like to be homeless but sometimes I think the type of charity offered is mis-directed and uncoordinated.

            Telstra's main charity recipient is Mission Australia (or it was when i new this shonky neighbour). MA have so much money and used telstra sponsorship money to fund a pilot TV show by christian ex-footballer Jason Stevens who happened to be a mate of my shonky neighbour. JS appeared in (devout christian) Guy Sebastian's music video for "Like it Like That" who happened to be a Telstra ambassador and a friend of … you guessed it my shonky neighbour. This was during the Sol Trujillo era.


      I work in Sydney CBD. There is always one beggar at the corner of Margaret Street in Wynyard, who is either smoking or having starbucks coffee, while begging at the same time.

    • +6 votes

      Can I be a little controversial and ask what you expect?

      I've worked my whole life, no illnesses, saved and invested badly*, had great family support and I still can't afford a house.

      The problem with Australians is we have this attitude like homelessness is some sort of a surprise - not a choice we've actively made as a society. Don't like all the poor and homeless? Vote better.

      It's a bit rich given the outcome of the last election to say Australians are doing everything in their power to remedy poverty and housing.

      * but maybe not much worse than average


        You can afford a house, just not in Melbourne.

        • +2 votes


          Yes everyone can afford something cheaper - move to X, or the desert! Hell, Im sure its even cheaper in another country raked by violence and war - so move there!

          Ops point is perhaps he would like to start a family where he has family, friends and other contacts. As a society we should encourage people to put down roots, rather than trying to fit them in 50sqm boxes.

          • -1 vote

            @IHatePeople: Sorry mate, but this is garbage thinking. Living in a major city is a luxury. The biggest problem Australia has, which markathome also doesn't understand, is thinking that living in one of the world's prestigious and most expensive cities is a human right. It's hilarious.

            People who decide to live in Sydney or Melbourne, and then scrape by with donations while complaining endlessly about the cost, are no different to people who buy a Ferrari and scrape by while complaining about the cost. Don't commit to luxuries you can't afford. Be smarter with your money. Make sacrifices. The fact that you have family and roots in Sydney doesn't give you a free pass to demand that you should be able to live there. Get real.

            • +1 vote

              @SlavOz: Of course, SlavOz will be the first to say when the number of people on welfare in the bush is pointed out to him "oh, why don't they just move to where the jobs are in the city?".

              If you are in poor mental and/or physical health and don't have a family willing and capable of looking after you then life under capitalism really is not easy. That's true whether you're inside or outside a major city. This is not to deny that a lot of beggars are simply scammers, but the people they are scamming worst are those who do really need the money and won't get given any because people suspect them of scamming.

              • -1 vote

                @derrida derider: No, I'd never recommend someone living on welfare in the bush moves to a major city, just like I'd never recommend someone living on welfare buys a Lamborghini. Both are luxuries they can't afford. Most people who move to a major city do so in the hope of getting rich, or at least earn a lot more money for their time. While those things are nice to aim for, if one chooses to put their life on the line for it I have no sympathy if they fail. Better of staying safe.

                Move to another country, work remotely, start your own business or freelancing, or even pray to win the Lotto. All of those are better options than moving to Sydney where your wages will hardly cover the rent you pay to stay in a decapitated shed.

                • +1 vote

                  @SlavOz: " living in one of the world's prestigious and most expensive cities is a human right."

                  Stupid people born in the city! How dare they not be born somewhere else! Its kind of funny you say that because Singapore almost considers housing a human right judging by their policies (90% of Singaporeans owning their home).
                  And they have less land, and could have much, much higher prices than us!

                  "Don't commit to luxuries you can't afford."

                  What about people who don't move to the city, but were born there? Because thats where about 80% of the population is located, and hence the majority of births. Ironically I've found people born in the bush do tend to go back after they complete their higher education in the city (uni, etc).
                  This aint the US or Slav country where the cities are a big magnet to country people - people haven't migrated - they already live in the cities.


                    @IHatePeople: " Stupid people born in the city! How dare they not be born somewhere else!"

                    You missed the point. There's nothing irresponsible about being born in the city. The irresponsible part comes when the people born in the city decide that they should get their own place in the city and live there too when they grow up, even if they can't afford it.

                    My parents had a very nice car when I was a kid. If I wanted to buy the same car when I got my license, you would've rightfully told me I'm being financially irresponsible. Don't see how buying a house is any different. Don't buy (or rent) things you can't afford, even if you think you have a right to own them just because your parents did. Can't be simpler mate.

                    "What about people who don't move to the city, but were born there?"

                    Move out. Go somewhere cheaper if you can't afford the cost of living. Again, it's very simple stuff. Just because you were born and raised in a city your whole life, doesn't mean you should buy your own place and raise your own family in that city. You have to earn that by saving up.

                    What's ironic is I see the same thing back where I'm from in Europe. People refuse to move away from the place they were born and raised in because they have personal ties there even though there are no jobs to feed yourself with. They could love elsewhere to work and have a life, but they'd rather stay and be poor because they think there's no point leaving the place you grew up in. It's ultimately silly, especially when I go back there and everyone resents you for having money and complain that they don't have any.


                @derrida derider: You can live in a suburb within commuting distance of the city. Prices are only expensive in the city center/nearby. Because - guess what - everyone wants to live there.

      • -3 votes

        You don't need to own a house to not be homeless. If you've worked your whole life and still can't afford to rent however, well then that's some really bad investing. Plus, I don't know the rest of your life choices and your overall financial responsibility.

        Too many people these days think: "I'm only buying what I see everyone else has anyway, I'm not being financially irresponsible" when that's not remotely relevant.

        It's a bit rich given the outcome of the last election to say Australians are doing everything in their power to remedy poverty and housing.

        Since when did personal responsibility go out of fashion? You're responsible for paying your way through life. I saved up for my first property by literally cutting my discretionary spending to $50 a week, including large/irregular purchases, for a few years. If I needed to get people presents? I'd cut back on my already meal-prepped meals, that kind of thing. Can you say you've done the same? If you haven't, there's part of the reason right there.

        • +1 vote

          So the only way to afford a home, is to spend so little, but have the lifestyle of a homeless person, but with a home.

          • -4 votes

            @MrGrinchy: No - I deliberately did that to speed up my property ownership timeline. But my point is that it's absolutely possible, not that that's the only way. The people who say it's impossible for them to own a property are just plain lying.

          • +1 vote

            @MrGrinchy: They are called life choices, sometimes you make some sacrifices to be better off in the longer term. If you only want to live for the now, that is your choice.

      • +4 votes


        I agree. Sometimes it only takes one or two curve balls and your plans fall to bits and you can't rebuild.

        I was talking to some of the residents at the local housing commission flats yesterday while going through a pile of illegally dumped rubbish looking for non-ferrous.

        Nice people, reasonable, chatty and fairly intelligent. One of the guys my age had been in the army. He has PTSD. He'd worked in the Wollongong steel works for 15 years after his army stint. Got retrenched. Hasn't worked since. Too old (over 50). I doubt he interviews well. I'm sure there's been other personal issues. His prize possession was a 15 year old Hyundai that looked immaculate. If he didn't have a commission house he'd be on the streets IMO.

        There but for the grace of God, etc

        • +1 vote

          That's a great example. Army pay + 15 years as a fairly lucrative steelworker - why didn't he save up enough to buy a property?

          There are always going to be people who prioritise living in the "now" than planning for the future. That's their prerogative, but they can't turn around and cry about it later.

          • +1 vote

            @HighAndDry: Because life throws people curve balls. In this case, as I already stated, PTSD and a few other mental issues. Who else knows what happened in that time? A sick family member, a legal case. Maybe he had a house and then had a marriage breakup and had to sell it and couldn't get back in the market.
            How many other things would you like me to list that I've seen happen to people? Do you have any compassion or empathy for others?

            It appears you've been lucky enough not to have any unexpected setbacks in your life that couldn't be surmounted. I'm happy for you. Well done.

            • +1 vote


              How many other things would you like me to list that I've seen happen to people? Do you have any compassion or empathy for others?

              Do I have empathy? Yes. Does it excuse anyone from being responsible for themselves? No. I wouldn't be this blunt if I was talking to someone who's gone through those kinds of issues. But online when discussing it dispassionately, I feel being direct helps rather than waffling around the issue.

              It appears you've been lucky enough not to have any unexpected setbacks in your life that couldn't be surmounted. I'm happy for you. Well done.

              Congratulations aren't in order - again, the fact I'm self sufficient is what I consider to be my BASIC responsibility. Most people are responsible for more than just themselves - family, children, relatives, etc. The fact I can provide for myself is a good starting point, nothing more. And to me, this applies to everyone.


      Umm plenty of povvo people have an old iphone, because they last a long time and can be got very cheaply. Mine for instance has water stains all over the screen but it's still working.


      I sympathise, but as a fellow Melbourne CBD resident I seem to have acquired an appropriate demeanour that lets them know that it's not going to happen and so it's incredibly uncommon that they even ask.

  • +11 votes

    It's a scam. Easy money and lucrative for some.

  • +7 votes

    I wonder how the begging business is doing these days now that a lot of people don't carry cash anymore.

  • +8 votes

    I just say "no, sorry" and keep walking. Nobody's ever followed me or said something confrontational back.

    • +2 votes

      Same here, it's not really a big deal if you approach it the right way.

      Although one time on a very cold morning in Melbourne I did buy a guy a coffee even though he was asking for money. He really appreciated it and I believe he was in need.

      • +2 votes

        Yeah a few times when there's been beggars outside a McDonald's I'll go and redeem the latest 2 for 1 deal and give the 2nd one to them. No one has ever been angry for not getting money.

    • +8 votes

      I've lost count of the number of times in the CBD that I've been verbally abused for not giving money. I usually say "no" and continue walking. They don't "follow" as such, but they'll walk next to me and call me things like a tightarse or they'll say things like "I know you have money" blah blah blah.

      I've only responded once (verbally aggressively) when one of them blocked my path in a very narrow walkway and my friend was behind me.

      Edit: Actually, just thinking back, I lied - I've responded more than once.

  • Top