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Choosy Beggar

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"Jesus [cured me of leprosy], sir. I was hopping along, minding my own business. All of a sudden, up he comes. Cures me. One minute I'm a leper with a trade, next minute my livelihood's gone. Not so much as a by your leave. 'You're cured mate.' Bloody do-gooder."

A character in a Too Desperate to Be Picky situation is actually quite picky about it. Unlike Even Beggars Won't Choose It where the unwanted object's quality is clearly bad, here the picky character is shown to be in no position to make such demands, yet does so anyway.

Does not need to be an actual beggar, merely someone who subverts the aphorism "Beggars can't be choosers".

Compare Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like, Taking Advantage of Generosity, Ungrateful Bastard and Small Name, Big Ego. See also Skewed Priorities.


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    Comic Books 
  • Monica's Gang: In "Perdidos no Meio do Nada"Translation , Antenor is walking through the desert when he finds a man begging for help. The protagonist immediately offers him some water, though the man complains that the last mirage he saw gave him strawberry milkshakes. Annoyed by the beggar's pickiness, Antenor sarcastically asks if imaginary desserts are better than real water. The man comically ponders for a while before dryly responding "Meh, I guess I'll take this water then".

    Comic Strips 
  • Foxtrot: One arc parodying A Christmas Carol has Jason's mom as a beggarwoman going through his old electronics after the Ghost of Christmas Future takes him away and declaring it's all junk, before wondering if the curtains might be worth something. It's more a Take That! at how quickly electronics become obsolete than her character though.
  • Garfield: In one story arc, a starving Garfield is looking for something to eat. He wanders into a store. He then leaves, still groaning, "Food! I gotta have food!" and it's revealed that he went into a health food store.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Amélie, the heroine wants to give some change to a beggar hanging around at a Paris train station but he declines since he doesn't work on Sundays.
  • Scene 6 of Monty Python's Life of Brian has Brian and his mother pass a group of lepers begging for alms. One (played by Michael Palin) turns out to have been cured of leprosy by Jesus, whom he calls a "bloody do-gooder" and complains about how the cure ruined his livelihood.
  • In the first Scary Movie, a homeless man asks Cindy and her friends if they can spare a dollar. Buffy is utterly repulsed by him, but Cindy gives him a sandwich. The homeless man responds by saying "I said a dollar, bitch!" and throws the sandwich back at Cindy.
  • War, Inc.: Played for Black Comedy. When Hauser is lost in the middle of a war zone, he encounters a bunch of children who offer him directions in exchange for candy. Hauser does not has candy, but he pays each of the kids $100 for the directions and goes on his way. After he arrives to the location and retrieves what he was there to fetch (and fends off someone trying to kill him), he gets back to his Hummer and finds it on fire. He then sees the kids running off with fuel cans and lit torches, and one turns around long enough to yell at him "next time bring some candy, asshole!" before following them.

  • In the poetry collection All that Remains, the poem "Tending the Homeless in Santa Monica'' describes a homeless man being offered leftover pizza and responding "I don't do dairy." (This was based on a real experience the poet once had with a beggar.)
  • Discworld: Her position as the leader of Ankh-Morpork's Guild of Beggars forces Queen Molly to be one of these. As it would be unseemly for her to beg simply for a few pennies, a pallet to sleep on, a crust of bread, or bottle of booze, Molly is compelled to ask for a million dollars, a mansion to sleep in, a full banquet, or bottles of fine champagne exclusively. Of course the Beggar's Guild is also one of the richest guilds in the city, so it's likely their Queen has a stipend to augment her income.
  • Jean de La Fontaine's "The Heron" has a heron looking for food, but every time he sees a fish he thinks he can do better, until he can't find anything to eat at all, and has to make do with a snail.
    Such is the sure result
    Of being too difficult.
    Would you be strong and great,
    Learn to accommodate.
    Get what you can, and trust for the rest;
    The whole is oft lost by seeking the best.
    Above all things beware of disdain;
    Where, at most, you have little to gain.
  • Neverwhere: After being forgotten by the surface world, Richard is failing to use an ATM when he's approached by a vagrant named Iliaster, begging for change. A frustrated Richard hands him his debit card and says there's several hundred pounds on it if he can get to it. Iliaster snorts, "That and fifty pence would get me a nice cup of tea," and tosses the card back to him.
  • In the short story "The Prophet's Hair" by Salman Rushdie, the burglar crushed his sons' legs when they were born so they could be more successful beggars. After they spend one night in a house containing the titular relic, they're healed, causing them to complain that they've lost their livelihood.

    Live-Action TV 

  • The prologue ("Tradition") to Fiddler on the Roof shows an interaction between wealthy townsman Lazar Wolf and Nahum the Beggar, in which Lazar offers Nahun a kopek and Nahum protests that Lazar gave him two kopeks the previous week. After Lazar responds that he had a bad week, Nahum retorts, "Because you had a bad week, I should suffer?". The scene basically is a staging of a stock joke about Schnorrers (essentially professional beggars).
  • The Sound of Music: When Maria arrives at the Von Trapp household, the Captain asks if she has any more clothing than the dress she has on. She notes that when she joined the abbey as an initiate, she had to give all her clothing to the poor. This dress is all she has left. Puzzled why this one dress remains with her, she answers, "The poor didn't want it."

    Video Games 
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: In one early mission, CJ and crew are fleeing from enemies, with CJ complaining that all they have to defend themselves is a "fucking antique". He's told to shut up and shoot back.
  • Pharaoh: One of the more difficult and recurring requests is when another city faces a famine and begs you for food (if you ignore it or let the deadline pass, your Kingdom rating takes a severe hit). The problem is that only a single type of food is counted for the request, often in huge quantities (i.e. 2000 figs or 1600 fish or 3200 pomegranates), and it has to be from the food kept in storage yards (for exportation) instead of granaries (for local consumption), leading to supply-chain problems as you shift goods around and keeping entire yards full of food that won't be eaten or sold just in case it's needed later. Fortunately, later games in the City-Building Series simply ask for food without specifying which kind, which is then taken from the total food stocks.
  • In Don't Starve, there are a handful of characters that won't eat certain foods; Wigfrid won't eat fruits or veggies, Wurt won't eat meat, and Warly won't eat anything that wasn't cooked in a crockpot. They will stand by this even as they are literally about to die of starvation.

    Web Original 
  • Reddit has a subreddit dedicated to this topic called /r/ChoosingBeggars/. The subreddit is dedicated to text messages, social media posts, etc. of people who are in clear need of something, but are being incredibly picky or have impossible standards for whatever they want. For instance, a relatively common kind of post in the subreddit is a person who is looking for a potential romantic partner, but had a list of "must-haves" that is either impossible to achieve or self-contradictory.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: Trunks get sent back to the past to give Goku heart medication so he won't die, leaving the androids to destroy the world. Goku doesn't want to take it, as it's grape-flavored. More justified than usual given that it later turns out Goku is violently allergic to grape flavoring.
  • The "2/10 Would Not Bang" meme consists of a picture of an attractive person covered in Expo Labels pointing out their supposed physical flaws (revealing more of the author's prejudices and insecurities than any ugliness) and a low final grade, then showing the picture of the purported author, a pimply overweight nerd who'd be lucky to get the time of day from the person in the picture.

    Western Animation 
  • Classic Disney Shorts: In the Goofy cartoon "Two Weeks Vacation", Goofy comes across a hitchhiker and offers him a lift. The hitchhiker takes a look at Goofy's car, criticizes it, and declines the offer.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In the episode Major Cheese, Grim gives a giant cheese puff to someone who looks like he's been through Hell. As Grim leaves, the guy indignantly shoots 'Hey, these thing's will kill ya!'.
  • Kaeloo: In episode 125, Kaeloo's having a pretty awful Potty Emergency thanks to Stumpy hogging the bathroom, but she's also being quite picky. Quack Quack offers her a diaper, but she refuses because she wants to preserve her dignity. Mr. Cat suggests that she should just go in a bush, but she turns that down as well, being a Nature Lover and all. At the very end, though, she ultimately does relieve herself in a bush.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Patty Hype", a fish crawls into the Krusty Krab, begging for food as he hasn't eaten in three days. But then he's underwhelmed when offered a Krabby Patty and is disapproving of the plain décor. ("What's the theme here? Underwater?") He continues crawling, begging "Food! Water! Atmosphere!"
  • Zip Zip: In "Rained In", Washington's having a bad Potty Emergency and refuses to relieve himself outside because it's too rainy. Suzie and Victoria refuse to let him use their own toilets, so Washington briefly considers using Sam's litter box. He decides he'd rather keep holding it than use that filthy thing, even though it's the only other immediate option.