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Homeless



Two men in suits walking out of an office building in Canary Wharf.

Andy Holy shit.

Stan Don't celebrate yet. Never let them see you celebrate.

They round the corner and Andy's knees buckle.

Andy Holy shit.

Stan Well done. Well played.

Andy I can't believe they went for it.

Stan It was a solid pitch man, you deserve it.

Andy But three hundred thousand?

Stan Could have pushed for four, man.

Andy Really?

Stan It's fine, they're a repeat, you can get 'em for more next time.

They start walking down the street.

Stan Still a hell of a sale.

Andy Thanks.

They pass by a homeless man sitting on the pavement. He has a sign saying “Need money for food.” Stan walks by him. Andy takes his wallet out and gives him a £20 note.

Sam God Bless, have a good day.

Andy catches up to Stan who watched the transaction and they keep walking.

Stan Did you just give that man a £20 note?

Andy Yeah.

Stan Why?

Andy (Shrugs) Not much on three hundred thou.

Stan I never give money to the homeless.

Andy You never give money to the homeless?

Stan Never.

Andy Why, you got a problem with them or something?

Stan No.

Andy Then why not help them out every once in a while?

Stan Not interested in their service.

Andy They're not offering a service.

Stan You just gave the man money. Looked like a service to me.

Andy I didn't get anything in return.

Stan Yes you did. How'd it make you feel? Giving the man money?

Andy Ehm...

Stan Pretty good, right?

Andy I guess.

Stan Well there you go.

Andy Come on.

Stan Don't roll your eyes at it, man. You give them money and in exchange you get to feel good about yourself. That's their product. And the more money you give, the more product you get. You felt pretty big giving him a whole £20 didn't you?

Andy I didn't.

Stan I don't believe that. You're telling me it didn't even cross your mind that people don't usually give that much?

Andy I guess it did.

Stan Right.

Andy So that's why you don't give them money? You think they're taking advantage of our sympathy?

Stan I don't think they're taking advantage of anyone, just like a used car salesman isn't taking advantage of your lack of a car. There's a demand for what they're offering, they're taking advantage of a gap in the market. I'm just not interested in what they have for sale.

Andy The opportunity to be a good person?


Stan Exactly. I feel good enough about myself that I don't need the boost to my...sense of karma.

Andy Oh so you think you already do enough?

Stan Absolutely. I help bring in money for a company that employs thousands of people. And an ethical company at that, we sell solar panels for Christ's sake.

Andy So what do you wish homeless people would rather do then?

Stan They can do whatever they want, it's a free market. I'm just not buying.

They get to Stan's car and get in, with Stan in the driver's seat.

Andy I don't think that guy I just gave money to sees it in those terms.

Stan Doesn't matter how he sees it, that's what he's doing. Not to torture a metaphor but that used car salesmen might tell himself he's doing a service to society by offering low income families cheap access to transportation but at the end of the day, he's still selling fucking cars.

Stan starts the car.

Stan We're all selling something, Andy. Nobody escapes it. That's what's great about the world we live in. Let's get a beer.

Stan pulls out and drives back down the road they walked down, past Sam, still sitting in the same spot with his sign.

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