The Meenister’s Log
I used to get chancers regularly coming to the Manse when I was in a rural parish in Perthshire – usually it was “money for food”
Initially, I’d do this (I was very naive) and, of course, the money would be spent on booze. I then started giving them actual food (remember one time we’d just come back from the supermarket with, amongst other things, a very fancy cheese – can’t remember what it was – and some crusty bread and Normandy butter.) Cut up the cheese, tore off a big chunk of bread and buttered it; then handed it over. Found it, uneaten, the next day, thrown over the wall of the farmyard next door
Then I’d invite them into the Manse kitchen for a bite to eat ….. surprisingly, they suddenly had a pressing engagement which didn’t allow them time to accept my invitation.
Another was “money to buy petrol for our van – we came here looking for my grandmother’s grave and have been driving here there and everywhere, and we’ve not enough fuel to get back”. Answer – “You’re in luck – I’ve got an account at the local filling station; let me phone them and say you’re coming. They’ll put it on my tab”.
Funny how they disappeared before I got back from the phone!
Just a few years ago, I was waiting at the Whitesands (Dumfries) to meet somebody at the bus stance. This guy came up to me and said that he didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket to Stranraer; muggins give him a fiver and then watched as he went into the tobacconists opposite, where I found him buying tobacco and cigarette papers to make roll-ups.
I told him that he was a very naughty fellow (or words along those lines!)
Bold as brass, without apology, he offered to give me half of his purchase “to show that there’s no hard feelings!”
My major concern is that elderly people can by conned in this way – and, sadly, it’s happening too many times these days.