I am not even sure if that is how you spell the word or if it is even a word, but Europe has shown me a different form of panhandling. Now, I am not one to point fingers, since San Francisco probably has one of the worst homeless problems in the US. Everybody comments on it when they visit, which sucks since it is a really nice town and I hate that the lasting impression is of people begging for change.
As I was leaving my hotel in Zagreb a day or two ago, there was this girl sitting there in a wheelchair at the tram stop. I was thinking, man that just sucks, even if people tried to help her on to the tram car we could not, since wheelchairs will not fit through the doors. This is changing with some of the new trams which are low enough and wide enough to fit disabled folks, but I was watching as she just sat there, waiting for one of these trams.
This thought was blown away when I came back a few hours later and there she still was but with a litle dish, begging for change. Naturally being a cold bastard from SF, I did not give her any. But it is tough here, since there are little kids whose parents send them in to downtown to kneel and beg for change during the day. It has taken some getting used to because you can look at an adult panhandling and be a turd by saying, get a job. But with a kid there really is not that option. Obviously folks are aware of this and they must pull in a decent amount of money doing this. Even the wise old man that I am is having trouble not giving these kids a kuna or two, but I know that naturally this will create more and it does not fixed the problem. The Roma (Gypsies) in Croatia really do get the shaft in general.
It is a lot like SF. What do you do? I guess just do not give money to them and support programs that exist to deal with these issues. Such a cop out, but it does not seem like there is a better solution other than curtailing greed at large in humanity.