WATCH: very polite robber


Polite, and a responsible gun owner. He doesn’t even point it at the clerk.


Man, that’s sad.


My understanding is that he doesn’t have kids, and it’s not a real gun. And he used to rob banks with the same politeness.


“You can get more of what you want with a kind word and a gun than you can with just a kind word.”

-Al Capone


Fact or fiction, who can argue with the fact that this is a better way of doing business if you are in that line of work? I must confess that I was a little disappointed that there was no mention about how good the coffee was, though. I’m guessing it must have been particularly bad.


Just because you’re being an asshole doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole about it!


Christ, what an… um…

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Asshole, what a Christ?

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Can’t say I really believed the kids bit, a bloke of his age’n’all that. But the rent was credible.

Does the cashier leave the 50’s and 100’s in the till? Aren’t they usually kept on the right?

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I noticed that too. In fact, I think he left off all the 20s, giving out 1s, 5s, and 10s. Clever.

It looked like he considered taking the coffee, then thought better of it. Must have been dreadful.

This guy’s actions sure do come across to most American viewers differently than they would if he were black.

For one thing, the sympathy viewers feel for his (claimed) plight goes way up.

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I’m not sure you can include someone who uses a gun in the commission of armed robery as responsible gun owner.

Not a complete asshole? Maybe. Responsible gun owner. No.

PS I like the angriness of your avatar.

Not me. I equally distrustful and lacking in sympathy toward all people who ask me for money, whether they be pan handlers or political action committees. I’m not proud of that, mind you. I choose the interpretation that I’ve picked up the “if I didn’t make eye contact with you first, you shouldn’t be talking to me” rule of city interaction, and people who violate that by asking for money are breaking an important social norm. Because that’s a nicer interpretation than me being suspicious and sociopathic toward people who might genuinely have a hard time. Of course, we are talking about armed robbery here, so all this need not apply.

Anyway, the point of that unsavory personal revelation is: if you have advice on how to be an appropriate city traveler, and not be taken advantage of but also not be a dick to beggers, I’d be happy to hear it.


I’d encourage you to start by treating people like human beings. In my world I assume people are good until I’m given a reason to think otherwise. Obviously this doesn’t mean opening yourself up to being scammed or taken advantage of, but talking to people is fairly low consequence.

When walking at night in Bangkok years ago I was looking for something to eat. Kid of age 8 or 9 was on the street begging. Kid didn’t look to be malnourished or even very unkempt, and parents often send their youngsters onto the street to beg because people tend to have more compassion for children than adults. Kid wanted money. I was uncomfortable with that, so I told him to wait. Walked a bit further up the street and got some street food. I ordered two of whatever and went back to where the kid was and ate mine with him while we watched some old men play checkers. Was I scammed? Maybe, but I didn’t care. Some kid got to have a tasty dinner as a break from his life of begging (be it real or a show) on the streets of Bangkok, I left without feeling shit for the rest of the day and it cost me an insignificant amount of money.


I picked one guy. I ran into him about once a week. The rest of the beggars I ignored. Him, I ignored except for handing over a decent donation, with fleeting, obligatory eye contact.

Good trigger discipline, too.

Goodness. If I had a convenience store I’d be interviewing him for a position right now.