A member of Democratic Underground posted the below message in response to a customer in line behind him at the grocery store as he purchased his food with his SNAP card along with some coupons.
The customer glared in disgust and had “daggers shooting from his eyes” as the SNAP recipient walked away with his groceries. The message writer gets a mere $200 a month in SNAP for his grocery purchases and it was his once-a-month trip to the local Sav-A-Lot.
The glares he received are just part of the mentality of many Americans who believe that being poor enough to receive government benefits of some kind is because of a moral and/or personal shortcoming. The notion that if only the welfare recipient would just get off their lazy arse and get a job, go to college, start a business, etc then they would not need those benefits.
If only life were so simple.
Read this man’s message below and share, because this is the story of the average person who receives welfare benefits, despite the stereotypes that many Conservatives have of them – that most welfare recipients are just lazy people who don’t want to work.
As I enter my 15th month of unemployment, my savings are gone, my 401(k) (or what remained of it, after Wall Street crashed in 2008-2009) is gone and every luxury item I once owned, except for my 3 year-old computer and 7 year-old television have been sold. The only real estate I still own is a single burial plot, deeded to me by my mother shortly before her death from cancer. I haven’t owned a car in years, and couldn’t pay insurance on it or put gas in it if I did. I don’t list these details of my life to elicit sympathy, but simply state them as the economic facts of my life, at present.
Today is the 8th day of the month or, as I call it, ‘Mini Christmas’. It is the day that the State of Illinois places $200 in SNAP benefits on the debit card given to me for the purchase of food. It is the one day every month that I know something good, economically speaking, will happen, and it makes me happy. Thanks to 2 immigrant grandmothers, two well-educated parents and my own knowledge of nutrition and arithmetic, I know that this month I will not go hungry. I can forgo a trip to the Ministerial Alliance’s food bank, even though I am ‘entitled’ to do so, leaving what I could claim as ‘my share’ for someone else who cannot meet their family’s nutritional needs. That makes me happy, too.
You were behind me in line at Sav-a-Lot today, and my cart was loaded to the brim. There were ‘family-sized’ packages of ground beef and pork sausage, marked-down ‘manager’s special’ packages of arm roast, ham chunks and round steak and a ten-pound bag of chicken leg quarters. I also had a 25-pound bag of potatoes, two 2-pound packages of beans, one white Navy and one pinto. I had a 10-pound bag of store-brand flour, a 5-pound bag of corn meal, a box of salt, a box of baking soda and four packages of yeast. Rounding that out, I had several store-brand bags of frozen vegetables (peas, corn, broccoli and Brussel sprouts) and ten large cans of store-brand fruit (packed in juice, not syrup) and three gallons of milk with the latest expiration dates I could find.
The cashier rang up my purchase, took my numerous coupons, and I swiped my SNAP card and entered my pin number on he keypad. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the look of utter contempt on your face, and the daggers shooting from your eyes as you struggled not to say something snarky to either me or the cashier.
I don’t hate you. I’m not even angry with you. I know that you simply don’t understand, very likely because you’ve never been in my situation. Not only do I forgive you, but I thanked God that you’ve never been standing in my shoes.
Would that surprise you, if you knew?