Sunday, January 12, 2014

Dealing With Mooches!

So...exactly how do you handle a mooch?

Just spray a little Mooch-Be-Gone of course! Just kidding! 

Just a few months ago, there was a lady who simply appeared into my life out of nowhere. She initially started out asking basic questions and pretending to be the 'caring stranger'. I did not pay much attention to it, but as time progressed, red flags began popping up like crazy. I'd dealt with too many people not to know what those red flags meant! 

Anyhow over the course of the next few days, which led to weeks, I saw her once or twice passing by. We'd do our usual salutations and get on about our business. One day, she referred a potential client to me for hair services. I was more than grateful for the offer because I could certainly use the cash at that time. (Did I mention that the lady wanted it done within the next hour?) Normally I'm not accustomed to letting people intrude into my schedule that way but this time was an exception.)

Ever since then, this lady has become like a thorn in my flesh, coming over "just checking up on us", when she actually never just does that and leaves. Her eyes are like an eagle's the second the front door opens for her and I swear it's like she's got X-ray vision and can see the contents of my refrigerator from 10 ft. away! I know it sounds extremely hilarious but to those of you who have ever been the victim of a mooch, you know this feeling all too well! She's intrusive and very inquisitive. Asking questions like, "What did you cook?" or "How much is your light bill?" nearly led me to ask her if her name is on our lease! But it wasn't the questions alone that bothered me. It was the fact that each time she showed up at my door, she had a request. Sometimes three and four requests! One day, she knocked at my door at least eight times, asking for either flour, milk, spray starch, bread, cheese! Yes! Cheese! 

We all fall on hard times when we have very little choice but to ask someone for help. There is nothing wrong with that. Even The Bible says to "Ask and it shall be given." Matt.7:7-8 but when/where do you draw the line? When is it ever okay to beg without conscience? When is it a good idea be picky in your choices and refuse offers given to you with a good heart? Never! But in some mooches minds, it's "whenever the getting's good!". In my heart, I wish I could help everyone in need. I know exactly what it feels like to not have certain things that the world has taught us to 'need' so desperately. Unfortunately I can't. It's hard enough having to pay rent, being married and unemployed with two children. That's not what upsets me. What grinds my gears is when a person fails to recognize that and is relentless in their pursuit of another's belongings. It seems to me that more and more people are taking on this bad habit. It is rather unsettling to feel uncomfortable or afraid when meeting new people or potential 'friends' because you have no clue what or how that is going to cost you. Some people see a smile and a joyful countenance and take it as a sign of weakness and make it their business to sucker you out of what they can get. 

It  took me a while to realize that this problem wasn't nearly as big as I had first envisioned it was. For starters, I did see that I did "attract" this poor lady into my life. Not in a way to become a burden to me though. It was the opportunity (we always have opportunities to turn things around) to find "the light" in this so-called problem. It was another opportunity to stand up for what I believe in, as well as the opportunity to uplift and encourage her to do more for herself instead of having people pity her and her kids' state.

Needless to say, this quickly became a thing of the past. There is a phrase that I like that pretty much sums up just about everything in my life and I have learned over the years to trust it's effectiveness, "What fits will stay; what doesn't will fall away." The methods that I employed will assist you greatly in dealing with someone who just doesn't get it when it comes to mooching/begging for your stuff. Let us dive in and get to know these soliciting souls: 


THE "LEND ME A HAND" - These folks simply have hit a rough time and need a small favor or a helping hand. I would hardly call them 'mooches' because they don't make mooching a habit but have a small circle of people they can trust to give them a 'hand-up' if/when necessary. They go without many times just not to burden anyone and have faith that their situation will improve.

THE "BORROWER" - Wants to use or "borrow" any and everything they lay eyes on that's cute and that you may actually treasure. (Like your favorite blood red nail polish or the brand new skinny-jeans that fit you so well.) Some "borrowers" claim they want to borrow something that can never logically be returned. Like, "Let me borrow some of your hair gel." Really? "Borrower will nag you until the cows come home don't seem to take subtle hints too well.

THE "TAKER" - These types of mooches just come around, scope out your shit and are amazed at how much cool stuff they can walk away with at your expense. To them, shit's not important to you and is just sitting there waiting to be taken off of your hands. They tend to have a no holds barred attitude and beg like it's a sport. They'd beg Christ for his cross if they could. 

THE "BORROWING CLEPTO'"- This type of mooch is pretty self-explanatory. They've "borrowed" stuff that you STILL want back from three years ago! Funny thing is that they still try to use this lame tactic to get more from you! Their empty promises are no comfort whatsoever.

THE "PITY THE FOOL"- This type of mooch surely does pity the fool! The fool who buys into all their lamentations of bad luck and unfortunate events and gives them what they want. They prep you with all of their tales of woe and would even go so far as to use their children as part of the 'grand scheme'  to sucker you out of your hard-earned possessions. This type is usually very inquisitive and oftentimes have hidden agendas. Smile with them once and they're latched on baby! They ask questions pertaining to your personal life so that they know how to approach the next go-round.

THE 'MASTER' BEGGAR - This type is the full-blown beggar. Here in The Bahamas, called "Jonsers". This is not the same as the "Jones'", used in America to describe the privileged family living the 'American Dream' who others aspire to be like. The term is used loosely to classify homeless, drug-addicted vagrants or street beggars who live well below the poverty line. We all know that not all homeless people are beggars just as not all beggars are homeless.  These people's stories could range from riches to rags tales to generational poverty (just like the others) but is usually way more tragic and painful.

So how do you tackle this issue? The answer is HEAD ON!!!

Let's face it, this is a new age. We as human beings do not grow or advance by just sitting around dealing with next-to-perfect conditions. We must be willing to step outside of our comfort zones from time to time and face challenges that teach us lessons in life. Handling a mooch is one of such lessons. Beating around the bush, dropping hints and trying to sugar-coat hardly works for anything anymore much less seasoned, trained beggars! Being curt is the way to go. In short, you have to learn to be upfront and straight-forward. If you are unable to help, simply say so. If, on the other hand, you end up in a situation similar to my own, you have to let them know (in no uncertain terms) that you work hard for what you have and that they can do the same. Let them know that it's not a magic trick to beg the pants off a person and call it 'manifesting'.  'Manifesting' something does not leave another person hungry or deprived or takes food out of a child's mouth! When I think of most beggars from my past, it is clear that just about all of them take it as a thrill to see exactly what they can get from you. One of the most notorious beggars from my past (one who would beg you for the last bite of your lunch and crack jokes while doing so) has grown up and now has a very prestigious career. While I am happy that she ha found her path in life, it still leaves a bitter taste on the tongue to know that when I was pitying her, she was saving money and had big plans of what she was going to do with it. She had no idea or care for how I was able to have money everyday at school or for what it took for my family to provide it. 

Complaining makes no sense. Wallowing in another's sorrow makes even less. Know your limits and everything will be fine. Don't let people take advantage of a kind heart. What I don't currently have, I have faith that God will provide (Which He does!). Until then, I do with what He has already blessed me with. Most mooches take advantage of a soft heart and have developed a knack for 'feeling people out'. It's all a game to them in most instances, but in the end, it's you who ends up losing if you aren't careful.

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