Homeless "Camping Out" & Using Starbucks and Panera WiFi

Has anyone noticed this? I don't know if it's just my area and something that's recent...or I'm just reading into things too much, but this seems like a trend for me.

It's not that I have anything against it, but I do have to admit that the smell is just awful and unbearable sometimes (which I why I assume homelessness - in addition to the dirty looking clothing and hygiene of these individuals), while I'm trying to eat and read myself. One time, it seemed the entire Starbucks was empty and everyone who came in immediately left after ordering. I had to leave too, because the man's smell was just so bad. sad smiley

Has anyone else noticed this in their area?

Obviously, having an open door policy (at least, Starbucks does now - where you don't have to order anything to sit and hang out) can be good in some ways. But, at the same time, it can be an invitation for the homeless to "camp out," which was tough for me because of the smells (at Panera and Starbucks).

I didn't have the heart to say anything, nor did anyone else. People sort of just left and the staff didn't do anything either. I'm not saying the homeless shouldn't have been allowed to stay, but it made me wonder:

a.) how common this is
b.) should there ever be a time when the management steps in and does something if customers are leaving or complaining about smells

...just a random question for today...

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I see it. I also notice seemingly homeless people camping out in malls, during the summers....drinking free ice water at the food courts, lounging in the Daddy Pick-Up areas, bathing in the restroom sinks...yep.
Having spent a lot of time volunteering with the local homeless community, I just can't get upset about this. As long as they are minding their own business and not disrupting the store they are visiting, it's not a big deal. Some do smell bad, but I can always move to a different table.

Folks are homeless for a myriad of reasons - some not entirely their fault. Many became homeless due to mistakes they made - but now that they are homeless, have very little ability to get themselves out of it. In many cases, the difference between becoming homeless and not is how much family support a person has when s/he makes a mistake. I have a cousin in Idaho who would be homeless herself had her wealthy parents not propped her up for several years while she "got her s**t together." Ten years later, she still relies on them heavily.

So, as I look at the outside snow and subfreezing temperatures, it just doesn't bother me when a homeless person steps into the coffee shop where I am, purchases the cheapest warm beverage and camps out in the warm for most of the day. I have found there to be "regular" customers that bother me far more than some of the homeless ones.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
For those that can afford it like management little gift bags of dental items, soap, warm socks?
All of my collected hotel toiletries are donated to a wonderful shelter/transitional housing location nearby. Also, warm sox, personal hygiene needs, and clothing that I am "retiring," and some nonperishable foods. My two housemates also contribute as do many local church societies. Every recent IMSC conference has asked participants to bring sock donations for local homeless support groups. As I recall, upwards of 600 pairs was the record.

Based in MD, near DC
Shopping from the Carolinas to New York
Have video cam; will travel

Poor customer service? Don't get mad; get video.
We had "a" homeless man living under the cement hanging on the side of our post office......I go there often and would leave a bag of food and "run" back to my car. He/she is no longer there, don't know what happened, hope they took him to a shelter. My town isn't plauged with this problem, but our beautiful town of Santa Monica is, as they have a food bank and meals once a day. They lie in the park across from our beautiful ocean and it is a reminder as to what can happen to us, many have mental problems, some bad luck, but yes they have made it impossible for taxpayers to enjoy the park as some pee everywhere and are dirty and scary...two sides of the coin. Los Angeles has a major problem with the homeless.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping....
When I visit California on business I notice there seems to be a greater population of homeless. I wonder if it is because the weather is better there then most places and they realize the chance of outdoor survival is better? No matter where they are try to help, that is really all I can add.

Orlando - lightly shopping NC


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/11/2019 06:49PM by oteixeira.
The weather is better, however L.A. has many programs for free food, and yes we are the sunshine state....but not now, coldest winter ever. They do need a place to stay, food is not always what they want, I have been turned down and since stopped giving food, they want cigerrettes, booze, etc. I know it makes us feel better to give them our not wanted Jack in the Box's, but that isn't enough, as I said, it makes us feel better. Don't get me wrong, I am very compassinate, also realistic.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping....
@oteixeira wrote:

When I visit California on business I notice there seems to be a greater population of homeless. I wonder if it is because the weather is better there then most places and they realize the chance of outdoor survival is better? No matter where they are try to help, that is really all I can add.

I'd imagine CA would be one of the better places to be homeless in terms of the weather. OMG - I couldn't imagine the humidity of the East Coast or snowy winters up North.
@MFJohnston wrote:

but I can always move to a different table.

I definitely tried, MFJ. But, with the odor beint so strong and Starbucks sort of on the small side, it ultimately didn't help. Thus, I was the one who left, despite wanting to relax and read while sipping tea.

I was thinking even putting aside the homeless factor, what if a person just had an odor that was strong in general in a restaurant (or somewhere people sit and relax)? Is it ever appropriate to ask them to leave?
@Irene_L.A. wrote:

The weather is better, however L.A. has many programs for free food, and yes we are the sunshine state....but not now, coldest winter ever. They do need a place to stay, food is not always what they want, I have been turned down and since stopped giving food, they want cigerrettes, booze, etc. I know it makes us feel better to give them our not wanted Jack in the Box's, but that isn't enough, as I said, it makes us feel better. Don't get me wrong, I am very compassinate, also realistic.

Wow. If I was homeless, I'd not turn down food.

Can definitely see toiletries being the #1 item in want, though (certain types of hygiene products would be essential too in some cases).

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/2019 10:09PM by shoptastic.
I was getting gas and there was a homeless drunk woman smoking talking to herself, screaming and threatening.
I paid and told the cashier, she said I don't know what to do , I said call the police, smoking in a gas station, not a good idea. They need help, compassion is nice, but doesn't help. I left and don't know the outcome.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping....
@oteixeira wrote:

When I visit California on business I notice there seems to be a greater population of homeless. I wonder if it is because the weather is better there then most places and they realize the chance of outdoor survival is better? No matter where they are try to help, that is really all I can add.
It might also have to do with municipalities and counties that offer a lot of services without a lot of accountability. One of my kidlets is at UW. They call it "Free"attle for a reason. Weather is probably not as good as CA; maybe they ought to buy bus tickets to L.A. for all the vagrants (https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/homeless/portland-buys-first-bus-tickets-for-homeless-to-leave-city/281-205429677)

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.

(Yes, I stole Hoju's tagline.)
Just last week there was an article in the LA Times that said the death rate of homeless is higher here than elsewhere...Many have died of hypothermia. I think because it is warmer people think they can survive and do not look for indoor, above a heat grate etc warmth on colder nights. The article said 55 degrees and wet socks and clothing can bring down the body heat to a dangerous level.
The services offered to homeless folk are not free; They are paid for by the good folks of Seattle.

Seattle does have a huge homeless issues - likely due, in part, to our temperate climate. Our largest explosion of homelessness came when the state severely cut mental heath services. Now, large numbers of folks who could function reasonably well with some basic medications find themselves unable to afford their medications and, therefore, function.

For years, we tried to ignore the issue. However, we realized that it does not go to simply say, "You can't be here" if you don't tell them where they *can* go. Yes, we could just ship them out of town to become some other city's problem, but that seems inhumane, doesn't it?

The fact of the matter is that there is not a good single solution for homelessness. Many are not in a place where they can function. Some can begin to function when provided with a safe place to sleep, food, clothes, and sanitation. So, Seattle is trying to house them, figuring that those who can get themselves going will have a chance. And, those who can't will be sheltered and not sleeping on retailers' front doorsteps.

With homeless people, it seems there are some choices:
1. Ignore them. Of course, that begins to hurt commerce and tourism.
2. Bus them to another city. Of course, that solves nothing. Do we really want our cities trading homeless populations?
3. Put them all in jail for loitering, public intoxication, trespassing (sleeping on benches), etc. Of course, that's really expensive.
4. Execute them. That doesn't seem all that ethical. I
5. Try to help them.

Seattle has realized that homeless people are, well, people. The city has chosen option #5. We also realize that if you demand accountability and toss a person out of services when they refuse, you are back to options #1-4.

I'm not at all convinced that Seattle has the answers here. However, I appreciate the humanity in their efforts. It's certainly better than just complaining about them or being upset because their odors spoil my latte.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
Los Angeles does it's best to provide tents, and warm meals to our homeless. I know Ralph's one day old bread, goes to the food pantry that serves our homeless, it's sold and leftovers are given to the trucks that come daily (I have seen this). This is a problem without a solution, but many go down and help serving, celebrities included.
Taking care of our own first is my preference instead of having more homeless entering illegally....we just don't have the funds or man power to care for more. Drugs prevail here, and stopping this (or at least trying) is not a bad thing. They are free to use bathrooms, stay in our beautiful Santa Monica park across from the ocean waiting for the food bank to open, and it does get scary, as they beg and you can't give to all, plus no one really carries cash any longer. Does a complaint or a piece of cold Papa Johns help, you decide.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping....
I totally agree.

@MFJohnston wrote:


It's certainly better than just complaining about them or being upset because their odors spoil my latte.

Kim
The problem is that people who are homeless fall into different categories. Some are homeless because they don't want to follow the rules that society (or even shelters) have put into place. Others because they have a mental illness that should have them hospitalized (or because they don't take their medication). Some because of their own life choices and they've burned bridges with those who would help them (or they had no family or friends in the first place.) Some are temporarily homeless and need that helping hand to get back on their feet. And others are homeless through the choices and actions of other people.

The problem is that a municipality cannot decide simply to help those in the last two categories -- those who would benefit from taxpayer assistance and end up being contributory citizens. So Seattle's expensive 10-year plan is almost over and homelessness has increased rather than decreased. $89.5 million dollars in the 2019 Seattle budget for it Couldn't find 2018 stats, but in 2014 there were roughly 2300 homeless in Seattle. That's $38k per person (somewhat less assuming that the homeless population increased.) That's a lot of burden to put on the people in Seattle who actually pay taxes.

There was a really good series on YT showcasing the people in Seattle's homeless camp (it was put out by some advocacy group, I think). It was very clear which people were going to benefit from a temporary reprieve and which were not. You cannot help people who don't want to be helped (or who throw apples back at you because they only want cash.)

So while you teach (live?) in an area where the median home price is $750,000, the adjusted gross income is over $150,00, and 93% of the population lives above the poverty line, you're insulated. Not just from homeless people, but from the accompanying crime and taxes that go with it. So you are right -- they're not free. They are extorted from those paying taxes in the city of Seattle.

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.

(Yes, I stole Hoju's tagline.)


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/2019 01:13AM by iShop123.
1. "Insulated?" Hardly. My home has a value of around $700K and homeless folks wander past my house every day. Periodically, we have to encourage them to not camp on our property in the ravine on my property. Etc.
2. "Extorted?" Is it extortion of folks vote to have themselves taxed? Seattle, overall, is very, very liberal. They pass an awful lot of taxes for many different programs and they continue to elect officials who want these programs. The folks in Seattle (overall) don't think the burden is too high.
3. Yes, the homeless population continues to grow. Most of them have jobs working for minimum wage - which, even at $16/hr, ($32K/annually) is less than half the $72K "poverty line" in our area for a family of four. Two working adults at minimum wage can qualify for a rent of just shy of $1,900/mo. The average two bedroom apartment in Seattle is a bit more than that. Thus we get homeless families.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
I watched something years ago about an outreach to homeless persons. It was reported that in one endeavor, people who accepted some assistance wanted only basic things such as warm blankets. They did not want a way to get off of the streets. They wanted a way to stay there.

In today's wee wonderment, I wonder: How many persons seek the streets because they want some sense of freedom, or at least a sense of not being caged, corralled, walled in, penned in, pent up, locked up, or otherwise contained? (This comes from the lady who loveslovesloves the wide open spaces but lives in conventional housing.)

Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. - Potter Stewart


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/2019 01:55AM by Shop-et-al.
@MFJohnston wrote:

2. "Extorted?" Is it extortion of folks vote to have themselves taxed? Seattle, overall, is very, very liberal. They pass an awful lot of taxes for many different programs and they continue to elect officials who want these programs. The folks in Seattle (overall) don't think the burden is too high.
The folks who are NOT paying the taxes don't think it's too high. Overall, they are not the ones voting for the officials who want these programs.

In my (largely liberal) area, the only ones who vote for higher taxes are the ones who don't see the direct impact on their tax statements. Among those we know in Seattle (and Seattle-ites complain that county residents do NOT shoulder the tax burden -- you're not actually in Seattle, right?), the only ones who vote for more programs and higher taxes are students, presumably those who do not own homes. So, yes, extorted, as in compel.

I'm all for helping those who need a hand up or a temporary safety net. I'm not for a city spending almost $40k per person to "help" those who really just want another shot of whatever's floating their boat at the moment. Put some accountability into not just the people spending the money, but the people receiving the goods and services.

Seriously, nobody cares that you're offended.

(Yes, I stole Hoju's tagline.)
Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Howard Schultz, and the late Paul Allen would all disagree with you.

Hard work builds character and homework is good for your soul.
To date, how many issues have been resolved by the application of massive tax dollars? How many issues have worsened despite the application of massive tax dollars? How many issues have been created by the use of massive tax dollars in ways that some people do not approve?

If anyone knows where I can find a large-scale evaluation of the effectiveness of the various uses of collected taxes, please post a link or just mention a website or whatever is applicable. I would be happy to follow as many trails as possible in search of answers and explanations.

Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. - Potter Stewart
I'm so glad I can't smell very well. I never knew when my babies soiled themselves unless I pulled out the diaper and peeked in. No sniffer skills for me. (except I can almost "smell" when a different person has been in my house or in my personal space, if that makes sense....it really baffles me)

Anyway, with no sniffer skills, people's body odors don't seem to be bothersome to me.....I could sit in Starbucks with a dozen bums and be oblivious.....
I'm guilty as charged.....I was in a different SB (away from my town), and early, so went to get a cup of java and wait for daughter, across from me was a homeless woman totally out of it with her bags and stuff taking up two seats. I must admit I was surprised at my reaction which was, I didn't like it, was uncomfortable and noticed her purple nail polish. She keep falling asleep and probably stayed there for hours (assuming), it was an odd situation, but at least she wasn't begging...but, I didn't like it, reactions are what they are, I at least am honest.
How would any of you feel, if your local SB was full of homeless one morning, would you then say, oh, that's fine and continue going there...just a vision I got out of the blue.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping....


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/2019 03:39PM by Irene_L.A..
@Irene_L.A. wrote:

I'm guilty as charged.....I was in a different SB (away from my town), and early, so went to get a cup of java and wait for daughter, across from me was a homeless woman totally out of it with her bags and stuff taking up two seats. I must admit I was surprised at my reaction which was, I didn't like it, was uncomfortable and noticed her purple nail polish. She keep falling asleep and probably stayed there for hours (assuming), it was an odd situation, but at least she wasn't begging...but, I didn't like it, reactions are what they are, I at least am honest.
How would any of you feel, if your local SB was full of homeless one morning, would you then say, oh, that's fine and continue going there...just a vision I got out of the blue.

I agree, Irene. There are a couple of McDonald's locations near my office that got to be havens for the homeless a few years ago. Homeless people would put backpacks, etc., on a table and lay down on the benches. They refilled the same drink cup for days. When they woke up, they would walk through the dining area and ask customers for money. After a while, I noticed far fewer customers. The drive-thrus continued to do okay for a while, but even drive-thru customers stopped coming. Both were briefly closed for remodeling and when they opened, both had new managers and signs at the drink station that said "Drink refills are only available on today's visit." The managers walked around the dining room and people who did not purchase or those who had stayed longer than an hour were asked to leave. Customers came back and they are crowded again.
In another city, one McD's posted a sign stating that visits shall not exceed thirty minutes. I understood. They needed to manage all the folks. I did eat on my dime at this place because I was on a road trip and needed to finish a report for which I needed close to an hour. It took two stops at two different places, for me to finish my work that day.

It's okay. At least I had some work to do. And a home to return to at the end of my little road trip. And ability to pay. And means of expressing it here. And...

Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. - Potter Stewart
We have no time limit at any of our McD's, but the wifi isn't great. I have been going thru the drive thru for my senior coffee ($1.00), and I like it, always looking for a deal.

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping....
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