So, I had to see a client out near me today and on the way home I stopped at our local grocery store. A lot of the small towns around here still have at least one small to midsized food store nearby. Most of the staff have been there since time immortal and know everyone, including me. I just had a couple things to pick up and got in line behind a woman with a shopping cart full of soda and bottled flavored water. She swiped her card and then told the cashier she was buying less than $20 with her stamps and should have some left on the card. Stamps? Food Stamps? On soda? I looked down at my phone as I was really getting steamed - I mean here I was buying on sale blueberries and black trash bags - store brand I might add - and that woman was buying SODA with my tax dollars! I was actually surprised at how annoyed I was at what I perceived was Some Nerve.
But - the soda was 4 six packs for $10 and the flavored waters were 6 for $5 - that's not too expensive I suppose and just because you have food stamps doesn't mean you have to drink healthy. Actually, if you were buying skim milk you wouldn't get half of that. And what I bought - I bought the blueberries because they were on sale, not because I needed them. And I always buy the store brand for trash bags, plastic wrap, etc....why spend money on something that I'm actually buying to throw away? So it was a choice, not a have to sort of thing.
And, what did I expect of this woman - that she should hang her head in shame and only buy foods that I and my taxpayer buddies approve of? And then I thought of Mary, a friend of my mother's when I was a kid. Her husband up and left her for his girlfriend - he left her with 3 children, a mortgage and no support. She went on welfare which shocked everyone, but you know what? She did what she had to do to get by - she got a job and got off it in a year or two, paid off the house and raised the kids. And I would have had a fit if anyone had stared at her that way. There are a lot of people that abuse it, I'm not saying there aren't - when I was down in Tennessee I was witness to two men who were completely wasted trying to buy munchies with their EBT cards - it happens. But I guess those are the people that we point to when someone mentions food stamps. Not the person that lost their job or the working poor that are not even making enough to slide by. So as I got into my car I realized it's not my job to decide who deserves and who doesn't - because hopefully, there will never be a time in my life when I'm swiping my EBT card and there's a woman behind me in line judging me.