Craft vs Grift

There is sometimes a fine line between someone sharing a craft or skill for money and someone trying to take you for money.

The other day I was walking into Sprouts and there was a man outside playing an accordion. At first I could not believe my ears and eyes. He was sharing his skills and craft in a public parking lot and, yes, he had a sign and was asking for money.

I usually do not give money to those outside the grocery stores but for this man I made an exception. Maybe I was caught off guard or maybe I felt generous this day. But I did rationalize it by thinking this man has a skill and is performing hence earned something by bringing a smile to my face. He entertained me.

I believe this is different from a generic person asking for money and just sitting there waiting for handouts. This man was performing and sharing his skill and asking for a donation. Whatever brought him to this point in his life to have to be in a parking lot playing an instrument is unknown to me.

The least I could do in this particular instance was appreciate the moment and be human.


  1. Just did a tour of the Men’s Central Jail in LA. When exposed to that environment for a while, it is easy to assume everyone is a grifter, working the system. Easy to be cynical. Lot of truth there, but there is also beauty everywhere. Appreciate your past experiences, but see the beauty in the present.

    Liked by 1 person

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