Beggars Outside Venezuelan Supermarkets Dare to be Choosers

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Photo: Unision

I was at the supermarket the other day, buying ingredients for some dope pancakes when, at the exit, I met this guy. He was on his mid-thirties, had a tired, greasy face, a blue t-shirt and cargo pants.

“Hey, chamo” he said. “Can you do me a huge favor?”

“Sure, what’s up?”

He held a big backpack with both hands.

“See, I’m not gonna ask you for money, it’s just that… you know how things are. I have the kids back home, and nothing to feed them. I live in Villa Bahía, where do you live?”

He didn’t look like a street beggar to me but, in case you don’t know, Villa Bahía is a poor neighborhood of Ciudad Guayana.

“I live close, over there.”

I pointed in the opposite direction from where I live. You never know.

“I’m not going to show you a folder with a bunch of pictures” he said, referring to the evidence some beggars show of an alleged sick family member. “I prefer going person to person, and explain my situation sincerely. The truth is that we’re doing really bad at home, and I was wondering if you could give me something I could bring to my children.”

“Yeah, sure! You can have the cereal!”

You know how things are. I have the kids back home, and nothing to feed them.

I didn’t have a lot in my bag, just a kilo of sugar, the cereal, and the precious Brazilian flour. See, the reason I went to the supermarket was to buy ingredients for some dope pancakes. The Brazilian flour had been missing for months, and we’ve had some bad experiences with a cheaper, unbranded flour that’s sold on plastic bags on the street. With this, panquecas were going to taste like they should!

I thought he would be thrilled with the cereal (it was a full bag, and a good one, the Zucaritas knock off!). But he frowned.

“That doesn’t work for me, you know? I need something I can turn into dinner, something like… panquecas.

I looked at the flour.

He looked at the flour.

“But,” I mumbled, “I want panquecas too.”

The guy’s got some nerve, that’s the most important ingredient for the dope pancakes. Is he lying, or are there actual children that will starve if I don’t give up my precious flour? I won’t take the chance, I’m too familiar with hunger. Also, I’m really bad at saying no.

“All right” I sigh. “But for the record, you are leaving me without pancakes.”

“Thank you so much! Are you a Christian? Because you act like one. Do you believe in miracles?”

“That’s a very complicated question.”

I wasn’t too chatty, I was still thinking about the pancakes I wouldn’t eat.

Is he lying, or are there actual children that will starve if I don’t give up my precious flour? I won’t take the chance, I’m too familiar with hunger.

I’m not a huge believer of things. I don’t think his family deserves what’s happening to them (if he was telling the truth), their suffering has no purpose. I mean, it’s not like we’re in some trials and we’ll get rewarded after enduring; our country is collapsing because communism scammed its way in, and we’re in the middle of its full-blown metastasis. But it’s a manmade collective mistake.

That’s what I wanted to tell him, but I gave him a hug instead, I still don’t know why. I can’t imagine what it must be like, to be out of options, truly out of options. He’s a normal dude, he has no disabilities, he’s not a junkie and he’s seemingly educated, but he’s standing at the exit of a supermarket, asking for food to the people coming out. He can’t even ask for money because there’s a cash crisis.

I think he meant a miracle just happened, implying that miracles happen all the time in front of us. But I ain’t no miracle maker. I’m just the dude who sucks at saying no. The dude that’s stuck with arepas.

I guess beggars can be choosers.

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28 COMMENTS

  1. Carlos…my girl lives in West side caracas…she is a mother of 2 boys….every day there are the same little children hanging around the bakery….dirty…soiled….but 5-7 year olds living in the chavista shit hole “mission viviendi”…mom’s in colombia…dad’s in jail….always the same………like you..she cannot say no…….washes them…takes the food to them…then crys about it …..terrible……make a stand carlos…Venezuela is a hotbed for Darwinism….strong eating the weak……soon you will be the weak…..you cannot save anyone from t heir fate…..is just life.

  2. And STILL there aren’t millions in the streets protesting all day every day until this socialist communist BS experiment stops. Why …. fuck if I know, have been asking myself that question day in day out for years now … can’t answer it.

  3. Did you ask who he voted for? Did he show you his Carnet?

    Some tough decisions have to be made. Time to start making some. Tom is right. Soon they will just take it.

    • “Did you ask who he voted for? Did he show you his Carnet?”

      Many chavistas try their damn hardest not to disclose their “chavismo-ness” in public in front of unknown people when they are alone, because that has some high chances of earning either an insult or a punch straight to the face.

      It’s the same with the chavistas that fled Venezuela like rats and now are enjoying the pleasures of capitalism in other countries while keeping their chavismo as a secret so they can mock venezuelan exiles behind their backs in those countries.

    • Possibly. But much more likely, Carlos has just been misinformed about contemporary American slang. In the ghetto and rap culture, “dope” means good or great. But anyone older than 17 or 18, (particularly if they are not a ghetto dweller or don’t listen to rap music), using the word would just sound silly.

  4. That’s the reason why I go through the McDonalds drive through anymore. There’s always some kids who want…BIG MACS and QUARTER POUNDERS. Last time I went I told the kid, “Hey, this is a once in very long while junk food treat I give myself. You are asking for something that’s a LUXURY. I would buy an empanada for you at an empanada place, but McDonalds is way too much to ask for in this country.”

    • Yup Ronald McDonald, you are not clowning. I do not have a car and they hit me up at the checkout stand. I heard these same barrio kids do a circuit everyday in Margarita: CC La Redoma Los Robles, CC Parque Costa Azul and then CC Sambil. They were tugging at my shirt asking me to buy them burgers and I just had to ignore them. An empanada yes, but an expensive hamburger, NO WAY!

      On the flip side if I buy bread I will buy a canilla or two extra and give that out to an amputee or someone who looks in real need, but you have to watch out for those kids. Generally their mom (mostly bastard kids) sends them out while she is laying in bed playing on the phone all day, trying to live off a CLAP box, bonos de la carnet de patria and whatever scam they can come by. Hate to say it but in many cases it is true. Furthermore, you have to watch out for those kids because they can be the eyes and ears for the malandros–always on the lookout for suckers to rob. The more generous you are here, the more they will eat you alive. Only help out people who will help out themselves.

      Oh, another ironic thing of the crisis, and another urban legend, crack is now dollarized so the crackheads cant afford crack anymore. Following they have gained a little weight because they have to beg for food and not crack.

  5. “..the cereal, and the precious Brazilian flour. See, the reason I went to the supermarket was to buy ingredients for some dope pancakes. The Brazilian flour had been missing for months, and we’ve had some bad experiences with a cheaper, unbranded flour that’s sold on plastic bags on the street. With this, panquecas were going to taste like they should!I thought he would be thrilled with the cereal (it was a full bag, and a good one, the Zucaritas knock off!). But he frowned.

    “That doesn’t work for me, you know? I need something I can turn into dinner, something like… panquecas.”

    Next time you could do a little investigating before relinquishing the coveted Brazilian flour.. Does the beggar really want it for his hungry family, or is he just being a lazy, conniving SOB, the popular “avispao” or “vivisimo” varieties.. zero scruples, zero moral values, exploiting religion too.. very common.

    Simple test here: what contains more nutritional value, and more quantity to feed the hungry kids? A “good full bag of cereal” or the exquisite and rare and exotic Delicacy du Jour: some refined white powder, probably with little or no nutritional value? Common sense dictates that the Kids would have likes the sugary Zucharitas, a prennial favorite, and if they’re hungry, they would have been delighted to have them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Nutrition first, if the dude really cares for the kids and has half a brain. Also, he must have already had the remaining ingredients, notably precious eggs and milk, full of important protein and vitamins, correct? Heck, for all you know he could had some top-notch Canadian Maple Syrup encaletado too! Thus, the correct answer should have been: “Loco, te van a llevar los bachacos! Si tienes chamos con hambre, y nada en la casa que darles, con que preparas las panquekas? Llevate mi cereal que tanto le gusta a mi novia y a mi familia, aqui esta. Una bolsa full, del bueno. Llena mas pa’ los carajitos, y nutre mucho mejor que el polvo de harina. Disfrutenlo y buen provecho.

    • Por supuesto, aunque como buenos estúpidos, estos venezolanos “populares” sólo les importa lo que les haga más bulto en la panza, que en este caso serían unos bollos de harina que igual los van a digerir en menos de tres horas y los van a dejar igual de desnutridos, que es como comerse un plato de arroz y más nada, eso a las tres-cuatro horas ya no existe y se siente tremendo filo de nuevo.

      Y como bien dijiste, lo más seguro es que el cretino ese era un bachaquero que se sacó 300.000 bolos fácil con sólo echarle un jarabe de muela a un ingenuo y no tener que recurrir a amenazarlo para robarle la harina.

  6. ““All right” I sigh. “But for the record, you are leaving me without pancakes.””

    That simply made him to laugh his ass off as he stole your flour.

  7. As an ex-New Yorker, I didn’t fall for this panhandling bullshit.

    That was NYC 1994 and earlier when I was a teenager in the 70s, and not VZ in 2018.

    But it sounds like the same bullshit.

    • Spent some time living out of a canoe in the Ontario bush way back in the day. Breakfast consisted of pancakes (flour, dried milk, dried eggs) with fresh-picked blueberries mixed in the batter. And Canadian bacon. First you fry the bacon, then fry the pancakes in the bacon grease. They gotta be crisp around the edges. Oh, yea, then drench everything in maple syrup. Yum!

    • Most of the time you don’t know if that fishy person that walks towards you is a mugger with a hidden gun that can kill you right on that spot to steal your bag.

  8. You idiot he wanted the flour because he was going to sell it you dam retard i he really were hungry he would take the cereal right away PAJUO!

  9. I live in Ciudad Guayana too, know exactly where Villa Bahia is. Thanks for your article and perspective. I have a similar story…I was at a stoplight on Avenida Atlántico and an older lady was asking for money. I held out 100 bill to give her. She asked me if I had anything bigger, and I told her I didn’t. She told me to keep it. I’m glad I really didn’t have anything bigger as I’m not very good at saying no either. Hope you were able to have some pancakes later.

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