Beg - Stick - Share

At one service this year Rev Jane asked for 6 volunteers to play a game called Beg, Stick or Share. She explained that we would each receive a sealed envelope which contained money totalling £300. (Monopoly £10 notes were used!!) The amounts were £120; £70; £50; £30; £30; or nothing. All the envelopes were identical so we didnít know how much each person had. We could look inside our own envelope but not tell how much we had received.

We had to decide whether to stick with what we had, to beg or ask for more or to share what we had with each other. We had a minute to role play this game and do what we each personally decided.

One person decided to stick; two people decided to share; one decided to ask for more for various wants and needs they had; one decided to do a bit of asking, but more gently and I had no choice really but to beg as my envelope was the empty one. I wasnít allowed to say I had nothing, so at first I didnít say anything, just looked bewildered by the noisy requests for money to buy new cars etc. It was very difficult to ask for money when others were more vociferous. I felt very small and ignored. I was surprised, but pleased when I was given £10 by one of the sharers without me actually asking them. However I didnít know what to do then. I still felt a bit intimidated in this situation so instead of keeping the money I gave it to the person who had actually decided to stick, but Iíd no idea if theyíd had a lot or a little to start with. They took my offering eventually, but very reluctantly.

I canít remember the actual amounts everyone started or ended up with, except I started with nothing and ended up with nothing. The person who decided to stick had actually started with £120 and ended up with £130 so I think they had the most both at the start and the end. I think the ones who shared had the £30 each at the start, but Iím not sure what they ended up with.

If we had shared the money equally we would each have had £50, which would have been enough for our needs, but we might have had to curtail our wants a little.

It made me think about the beggars on the streets of our city. If I could feel intimidated in that role play how must they feel every hour of every day? If we have enough to live on should we want more? Couldnít we be satisfied with what weíve got and make the most of it? Is it those who shout loudest get the most? I may choose to alter the way I treat beggars in future. When I give anything, itís usually food or a hot drink if itís practical for me to do so, but I do occasionally give money too. I think it would be good to stop and speak and at least acknowledge they are there. I could make a bigger contribution to Methodist Action as homelessness and the need to beg can happen to anyone very quickly when the dominoes start to tumble.

Veronica Frost