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My failed Christmas experiment

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posted on Dec, 24 2009 @ 09:52 PM
The other morning, I went to the bank and withdrew $50 in crisp, new $1 bills.

I then made a sign to hang around my neck. It said: "I represent no religion or political group. Peace on earth and good will among men."

Dressed conservatively and respectably (except for the oddity of the sign), today I went to a large public park in one of the world's biggest metro areas -- one of the few places these days where one is apt to find members of every class, race, creed, and age mingling in one single location.

I strolled around the park and attempted to give away one dollar bills to everone who crossed my path. Young and old. Those in suits and the obviously homeless. Male and female. Whoever happened to be walking down the path. I would let pure chance determine who came my way, and everyone was offered a dollar with the words "Please, take this gift." I mentioned nothing about Christmas, religion, anything like that. Pure altruism, distilled, bottled-in-bond, 200 proof. This was to be my Christmas present to the city.

I spent about 3 hour walking around the park. I was only able to give away $16. Sixteen dollars in 3 hours! The people who took them were mostly the most downtrodden and homeless. 99% of the people ignored me completely or waved me away, scowling. Also NOBODY, not ONE SINGLE SOUL, asked me why I was doing this, not even the few who took the money, or anyone who refused it. Remarkable lack of curiosity out there.

I left feeling an odd mix of emotions...disappointment, sadness at the mistrust in us all, feeling a bit like a total idiot. But it was a very interesting afternoon. I feel like I learned a lot about people, somehow. And sad to say, it didn't make me feel very good.

[edit on 12/24/09 by silent thunder]

posted on Dec, 25 2009 @ 12:39 AM
As with any experiment, there is no such thing as failure, there is only learning. So the question is, what did you learn about people?

posted on Dec, 25 2009 @ 02:32 AM
If I send you my address will you send me the remaining $34? I promise I will try to hand it over to some bar staff I know...

It is a shame you couldn't give that away - maybe people thought there were hidden cameras or that you were going to try to sell something?

Oh well, merry xmas... Go and buy your self some chocolate!

posted on Dec, 25 2009 @ 03:53 AM
Your heart and intentions were in the right place..but people are too skeptical and cautious nowadays.
They were fearing a string attached.

posted on Dec, 25 2009 @ 08:35 AM

(AP) Police say a fifth-grader handed out about $300 to others on the bus ride to his eastern Indiana school. Problem is, they say, the cash was among some $10,000 he took from his grandparents' safe.

lol looks like this young lad had a similar idea... At least you money was actually yours!

posted on Dec, 25 2009 @ 03:36 PM
What an awesome idea! If I would've come across your path, I'm sure I would have felt a very strong urge to talk with you.. And I think a lot of the people had that curiosity, but hid it instead of acting upon it. That's just the thing, isn't it - somehow it seems "not done" to "connect" with a stranger - you can ask logistical things, like what time it is or where you're at, or maybe talk about the weather - but really connecting (discussing the reality we're in) seems implicitly discouraged. We're probably all too anxious.

It definitely seems like people were afraid of attached strings. Receiving anything at all without a commercial or ideological background seems unnatural. You may have had more success with cookies or hugs .. although I bet people get suspicious of those as well

At any rate, many kudos to you for doing that. Would've loved to see it. Hope you won't get too disillusioned, as sometimes our illusion can become reality (in sociocultural contexts, that is
) - but only if we hold on to it :]. If nothing else, you inspired me!

posted on Dec, 25 2009 @ 03:46 PM
We don't Have a $1.00 bill in Canada, we have a coin called a Loonie because it has a loon (type of bird) stamped on one side. So I have to assume you're an American.

The gesture of handing out money would naturally be met with some suspicion. I know I would think there was an alternative motive to the generosity you offered.

A dollar can't even get a cup of coffee, so a dollar won't make much difference in anyone's life whether they're rich or poor.

The best thing you could have done with the money is to purchase burgers at a fast food restaurant like McDonald's, and then pass out the food to those you feel need something to eat.

Sorry you were disillusioned by your experiment, but street people have no trust in altruistic folk unless it's truly meaningful, and those with money don't need your dollar.

And think for a moment.
No experiment is a failure if you learned something from it........

Don't give up, because I think the intention was good.

EDIT: I felt the need to edit.

[edit on 25/12/2009 by anxietydisorder]

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