Everywhere we go, we are bombarded with requests for money.

Even during everyday activities — like grocery shopping or perusing social media — we are confronted by others asking for cash.

It used to be that people would hang out near parking lot exits or freeway off-ramps with a cardboard sign. If you didn’t want to be bothered, you could merely look the other way.

In the past few months, I have heard about people being approached in parking lots — to the level of being accosted. People wanting money have stepped it up — even knocking on car windows.

A few weeks back, I went grocery shopping late at night … so late, that the store was closing. After unlocking the doors, I usually warm up my Jeep while loading groceries in the back. When I noticed a couple of people hanging out near the front of my rig, I decided not to turn the engine on.

Honestly, I don’t know if they were up to no good but their presence made me uncomfortable. The store employee that let me out noticed them too. He came out to help me put my groceries away. While we were talking, my dogs started barking. I laughed and said, “I guess I have a built in security system.”

When I got home, I told my husband about the incident. John suggested that I go grocery shopping earlier in the day. My thought is, I should feel safe to go any time of day or night.

I have two German shepherds who have the capacity to bark like big dogs. However, they don’t always make noise when I think they should.

I decided to train them a new word that I can use to get them to bark ferociously on command. I was surprised by how quickly they acquired the new command, as was the unsuspecting couple passing by the Jeep during a recent training session.

As my birthday approached last month, Facebook suggested I consider conducting a fundraising effort in honor of my birthday. I’m almost 60 years old and the only people that acknowledge my special day beyond saying the cursory “happy birthday” are my family and close friends.

A few days later I received a message imploring me to “wish Chanley a happy birthday by donating to a nonprofit.” Facebook promised to notify him of the gift. No offense, but I didn’t even fork out a few bucks to buy a card and mail it to Chanley.

When Facebook first instituted the “birthday fundraisers,” they charged a processing fee. While, they no longer do that for nonprofits, I think it’s still all part of the scheme to keep personal Facebook fundraisers on the forefront, which they continue to charge a processing fee.

And, honestly, I turn my head on a lot of those grabs for cash. An acquaintance hosted a personal fundraiser recently, even going as far as erroneously suggesting that any money given was tax-deductible.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying don’t give at all. I just think there are better ways to donate to ensure that money is being used in the best possible way. And, just to be clear, if someone approaches me in the parking lot, you’ll be barking up the wrong tree.

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Tammy Malgesini is the community editor. Her column, Inside my Shoes, includes general musings about life. Contact her at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.

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