It’s not nice to mess with mother nature. Panera Bread learned a lesson the hard way. Wishing doesn’t make it so. The last Panera Bread community cafe has closed. None of the community cafes ever made a profit or covered expenses.
The concept behind the community cafes was that patrons would pay what they could (would) for a meal. Surprise, surprise, nobody paid anything. This was not a commentary on the food. Patrons returned morning, noon and night to get their freebies.
The architects of this debacle probably never spent time at the beach. Had they done so the experience would have demonstrated why this idea wouldn’t work. I grew up in Daytona Beach in the sixties and early seventies. It wasn’t hard to differentiate between the residents and the tourists. The tourists were all busy feeding the seagulls.
Seagulls will eat damn near anything. They do not exhibit any behavior that could be characterized as appreciation. Natives know what tourists soon learn. A well fed seagull shits everywhere. They may not bite the hand that feeds them. They will shit on the head of the person that belongs to the hand.
If you get right down to it, a seagull shitting on one’s head is probably more benign than a hoard of homeless occupying a neighborhood.
Panera Bread has learned that the only difference between seagulls and homeless people is that homeless people can’t fly. Both will foul their immediate surroundings with great abandon.
It is not uncommon to see signs warning people not to feed the animals. The theory is that feeding harms the animals, endangers the public or creates a nuisance.
There seems to be a disconnect. I’l rely on the greatest detectives ever to explain it.
There are reasons not to feed wild animals:
- Handouts may not meet animals dietary needs.
- Handouts create a dependent animal population.
- Animals relying on handouts may abandon traditional methods of foraging for food.
- Animals concentrate in one area in anticipation of food, stressing the environment.
- The potential for negative interaction between people and animals increases, resulting in injury to both.
- Animals may cause property damage in the search for food handouts.
In actuality, the only difference between wild animals and homeless people is that society treats animals better. People are encouraged not to feed wild animals, so as not to create a cycle of dependency. Not so with homeless, they encouraged to be useless and dependent. Domestic animals are given medical care regardless of their opinion on the matter. Homeless people have a choice. They are able to reject medical and psychological care in order to reach their fullest crazy potential.
A recent survey shows there are more homeless in San Francisco than high school students.
Here’s an idea, stop. Stop feeding, clothing, and housing the homeless. Less than 10% of the homeless fit the stereotype. That is, people down on their luck and homeless through no fault of their own. The rest are drunk, drugged or crazy who have made a conscious life style choice. This choice is self destructive and persons choosing to live this lifestyle deserve to experience the full range of their choice.
Helping the homeless is the worst example of virtue signaling I can think of. It is destructive to the individual recipient and the surrounding area.
I don’t expect this idea to catch on. As an intermediate step, I suggest that rather than local soup kitchens, and social programs cities in fly over country spring for a bus ticket to California or New York. They deserve it.