Convention Advice: Vagrant Alert!
If you happen to go to conventions in big cities, such as Atlanta's Dragon*Con or San Diego Comic-Con, you've probably been approached by people begging for money. Over on livejournal.com, one person posting to the Dragon*Con group has a particularly nasty/funny post about how to deal with this. Here's the link (don't know if it works for non-LiveJournal members).
This post has sparked some heat. Some people call it "too rude." The only reason that the poster wasn't accused of racism is that he's black. That doesn't necessarily mean he isn't racist, but it's a pretty common defense.
I posted a response that suggested that people going to genre conventions are usually targeted due to "white guilt." Young, white people of college age or liberal/left inclinations, a big part of the attendees at science fiction, fantasy or anime cons are very susceptible to having that guilt preyed upon. My suggestion; inoculate yourself from such guilt. Give to a responsible charity. Contribute or help with a food drive. Help out in the serving line for your local charity's Christmas or Easter dinner for the poor. Give to causes that you know are responsible with their money; the guy on the street approaching you with a sob story isn't responsible at all.
(By the way, if for some reason you can't read the post from LiveJournal, let me know and I'll post it here. Just understand that it's not MY post.)