I’m still eating here

I’m writing in response to “No More Appetite for This Eatery” [Letters, Oct. 3], submitted by J. Scott of Weaverville.

I might understand [Scott’s] reaction if [his/her] visit to this restaurant was new; however, permit me to share with [Scott] and other readers my experiences.

I visit this restaurant quite often, more so for lunch but also for dinner. During my dinner visits, especially on the weekends, I have been repeatedly approached by people panhandling on the property of this restaurant. I have spoken with the owner about this situation. I have gotten to know him as an understanding and compassionate man; however, he is trying to run a business. Panhandling and supporters of panhandlers on his property disrupt his business.

Also, a number of people will clearly violate the “no shoes, no shirts, no service” requirement, enter the restaurant and explode in a rage of threatening and cursing the employees when reminded of that requirement, even though the employees indicate that they are more than willing to serve them if they return with shoes and/or shirts.

One last comment: What can … business owners [do] to effectively deal with the panhandling situation, especially on their property?

— Jerry Edwards
Asheville

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14 thoughts on “I’m still eating here

  1. Joey

    Having lived in Santa Monica, CA – Home of the Homeless – and having worked in downtown Los Angeles – where a co-worker had her jaw broken on her way into work one morning because she acknowledged a homeless panhandler whom she politely told she had no money – here is the advice of a women I met in LA who ran a homeless shelter there:

    “Do not give these people money. By doing so you are giving them what they need to stay on the street. (And in front of your business.) They all know where the shelters and free meals are. The money that you give these people is most likely buying alcohol or drugs.”

    My bank took an interesting approach. They handed out flyers stating the same advice and listed a number of charitable organizations to give money to that would really help these people.

    I remember some friends from Madison, Wisconsin who told me about a State Street panhandler that paid his rent each month in quarters.

    Panhandlers in Los Angeles vie for the most profitable street corners. Some brag that they make $40,000 to $50,000 a year.

    Please support the places where the people who really need help can find shelter and food.

    Sounds like tough love I know, but, it’s better than a broken jaw.

  2. Kriss

    The original letter to which the writer is responding was about panhandling at or around a local Asheville restaurant. Mr. Edwards is ostensibly addressing the same problem and defends the owner’s handling of the situation. Yet in the middle of the letter he goes off onto another tangent, where he says, “Also, a number of people will clearly violate the ‘no shoes, no shirts, no service’ requirement…”

    First, I’m not sure what he means by “requirement.” I’ve never been to this restaurant, but I’m assuming he means this is a policy of that particular restaurant clearly posted somewhere – not as some general statement of “fact” applying to all restaurants. That is a popular urban myth.

    Second, what does a requirement for shoes or shirts have to do with panhandlers? I have heard on occasion that requiring shoes or shirts to enter a business is a way to keep out the homeless. But logically that makes no sense. I’ve seen lots of obviously homeless people in various parts of this country, including many years spent in California as well as in the Asheville area, but have never seen a homeless person or panhandler that wasn’t wearing some kind of footwear and a shirt. I’m not saying it’s impossible that one would exist somewhere – anything’s possible. But a barefoot and/or shirtless homeless person is indeed a rarity. If anybody expects that banning shoeless or shirtless people is going to have any effect whatsoever on keeping the homeless or panhandlers away, they are sadly mistaken and are being mislead by thoughtless stereotyping.

  3. Kriss

    I’d love to know myself. I’ll probably go looking for it next week, but hate to drive slowly all up and down Merrimon Avenue just looking. Maybe somebody could give a hint, like the nearest cross street.

  4. travelah

    The important thing is whether or not they serve up a good meal at a fair price … panhandlers be ‘durned. On a side note, giving money to pan handlers is simply foolish. I remember one fellow holding up a sign stating “work for food” at an intersection coming out of a grocery store. I indicated for him to hop in the back of my truck and I had some brush work he could perform. He he told me to f*&^ off and took his sign to the woman behind me in line who provided him with his obligatory dollar. A couple of bucks picked up at every light change or even every other light change for a day is more than most people make in a day.

  5. Kriss

    LOL. Interesting conclusion, Marc.

    Actually, what wearing shoes leads to are foot problems. Wearing shoes or not wearing shoes has nothing to do with panhandling – that’s my point.

  6. Nelda Holder

    EDITOR’S NOTE: The Letters section of the Xpress is dedicated to “local matters” — our paper’s motto. On any given week, we print as many letters as possible from local writers about local issues. (National issues always take a back seat to locally focused letters.) The section is also dedicated to facilitating and enhancing public dialogue, so we expect letters to be civil in tone and factual in nature. Hence, we normally do not print “complaint” letters directed at non-public people, establishments or organizations. Our reasons include being unable to verify most circumstances that engender them, but we also feel that wandering down such a path would take us away from our goal of civility.
    Now and then, however, a letter that combines a public issue with a private experience might be considered for use, in which case — as with the letter that originated this thread — we remove the business name but allow the issues to be discussed. The letter in question reflected the topic of homelessness in a particularly local way, highlighting the personal effects on the writer. Hence, its publication minus the business name.
    — Nelda Holder, associate editor

  7. jahbless

    Everyone knows homeless people aren’t actual ‘people.’ If they were, they would have jobs like you and me!
    Besides, they choose that lifestyle because panhandling can bring in 75-80 K a year. My cousin told me so.

  8. mtndow

    Dear Xpress,
    In response to Jerry Edwards question:
    What can … business owners [do] to effectively deal with the panhandling situation, especially on their property?

    Simply place large “Help Wanted” signs in loitering area saying “hard honest work cleaning restaurant equipment. Decent pay.”
    In the past I have asked panhandlers if they want to help me in my house painting business, it was an incredibly effective repellant.

    Denise Ostler
    Perfect Paint
    Asheville

  9. Nam Vet

    The person who related an incident where a female friend had her jaw broken by a panhandler in Santa Monica hit home to me. I knew a person in Los Angeles who stopped to give a beggar some money out of his wallet. He was beaten within an inc of his life. He was in the hospital for 2weeks. Here in Asheville I was approached by a large woman in front of a popular pizza place on Broadway. As I was opening my car door, she approached quickly from across the street. She asked that I buy her and her friends some beer. I said “no I don’t have the money” asI entered my car. She banged on my rear window very hard in an angry manner. I got out of the carto confront her, but just then an APD car drove down the street and she started walking very fast out of there. I agree with the earlier writer that these street beggars know where they can be helped. They just ask for money for booze or drugs. DON’T GIVE THEM ANY!

  10. Hopefully

    Let me remind you once again Mr.veteran, a large percentage of the homeless are vets, so please have a little compassion for them. Maybe they lack the capacity to get on the government teat like the rest of you! And so what if they want the money to get high, would you deny them such a small pleasure. Don’t you get high (alcohol,pills,etc.)What if that were you…

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