I was on facebook and I saw this status update from a girl I barely knew from high school. We used to be in girl scouts together, but I don't think I've said two words to her since 2nd grade.
"Still fuming about the lady at the grocery store in front of me who made me late to work because of her food stamps issues.... $200 in groceries (mostly snacks and junk food)..that the state of CT paid for..and she looked pretty damn capable of working. But anyways...back to busting my butt at work and helping sick people. Proud to say that I work hard and earn everything that I have!"
All her fuming has gotten me fuming. Her judgmental attitude and assumptions are really terrible, and I'm getting really sick of this tired argument that people on governmental assistance don't deserve kindness or understanding. I wanted to call her out on this, but the sheer abundance of supportive comments with obama blaming platitudes made me resigned to sighing and coming to write out my response here.
1. You're furious at this lady because she made you late, because she had problems with her food stamps. Do you think she was happy about that? Do you think she wasn't embarrassed by the hold up she was creating, that she wasn't ashamed that she couldn't buy her own food otherwise? If you were rolling your eyes and sighing do you think she didn't notice?
2. So she bought junk food. So what? Are people on SNAP not allowed to eat the same food as the rest of us humans? I think there are 3 reasons people on supplemental food programs buy processed foods.
*Because there isn't a lot of nutritional education in low-income areas, and many people are raised on packaged foods. Most people are not aware that you can use your food stamps to buy fresh produce at farmers markets, and many low income areas do not afford this opportunity.
*Packaged foods have a longer shelf life than fruits and vegetables, so there is a certain guarantee that their food will not be wasted.
*These junk food and snack have the highest calorie density to dollar ratio. Buying junk food simply allows people to get more food for their dollar, thus masking the most of the food stamp money they are allotted. This food isn't nutritionally good for them, but until locally made organic whole grain bread is cheaper than pop tarts, people are still going to make cost effective food choices over healthy ones.
3. Your snide comment about this woman's ability to work is stupid. How do you know she doesn't have a job? Being on food assistance doesn't mean you're unemployed. And PS, the unemployment rate is over 10 percent right now. This woman could want to work with all her heart, but can't find the opportunity, especially if she's a menial laborer.
4. Good for you that you work hard in the medical field, but not everybody can afford to pursue a college degree, for financial or personal reasons. One would think that a person who spends all their time caring for those in need would be a little more compassionate. Earning everything you have is a little bit easier when you start off with the advantage of wealthy parents and ethnic advantages.
I dunno. I understand that it can be frustrating to perceive somebody taking advantage of the system. I used to see it all the time at the CDC. But if this lady is getting $200 worth of food stamps ( the average monthly benefit in CT, where she lives, being $135), she probably has a good reason...