Food Stamps, Shopping Carts, Really Big Noses, and You

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-31-2011
Food Stamps, Shopping Carts, Really Big Noses, and You
10
Mon, 05-05-2014 - 10:17am

This piece from The Onion prompted the Huffington Post to form a discussion about judging food stamp purchases. (Read here.) 

Excerpt:

Quote:
“There’s no reason she should be loading up on those pricey TV dinners if she’s getting the government to pay for it,” Gaither told reporters at a local Super Stop and Shop, training her prodigious faculties on a welfare recipient using a benefit card in front of her in the checkout line. “If I were on food stamps, I’d just buy two whole chickens and a bag of potatoes—you could feed a family for a week on that and still have money left over.”

What do you think? Is Carol Gaither a nosy busybody? Or does she have a point?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009

Givng people the knowledge they need to make their food stamp dollar go farther is a good thing.  When I was co-ordinater of a food bank few would take whole chickens because they did not know how to cut them up.   So most of the chicken I bought was in pieces but I also had some flyers made with directions on how to cut up a chicken to give out for those who wanted to take a whole one.  If they learned that skill it would help them save money in their own shopping.

So teaching them skills they may not have, giving them easy inexpensive recipes,  pointing  the cost savings of buying fewer convenience foods I think are a good thing.  That would help them stretch their food budget whether it comes from food stamps or out of their own pocket (as I do not think  for most people FS are not enough to fully take care of their food needs).  But when it comes down to it they have the same right to make shopping  choices just like everyone else. 

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998

Nosy busybody. We don't know anything about the SNAP recipient's living situation and cooking facilities. I know a recipient who lives alone in a SRO hotel with no kitchen, only a small microwave in his room. A whole chicken and bag of potatoes would be useless to him, but he could have a hot meal with a single-serve prepared entree.

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001

elc11 wrote:
<p>Nosy busybody. We don't know anything about the SNAP recipient's living situation and cooking facilities. I know a recipient who lives alone in a SRO hotel with no kitchen, only a small microwave in his room. A whole chicken and bag of potatoes would be useless to him, but he could have a hot meal with a single-serve prepared entree.</p>

Really good point. 

I worked in a lower SES/title I school area and it wasn't even the kind of food but the quantity that poor kids weren't getting enough of.  Kids came to school hungry, some hadn't had anything to eat since the last school day.   I remember this little boy telling me he couldn't focus in class b/c he was hungry for two tacos the night before but only got one as there were too many mouths to feed. 

Living arrangements, family size, accessibility to enough food, etc are factors in helping the poor too. 

To Just_another_marla, What is your answer to your own questions?  What is your experience? 

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-22-2013

elc11 wrote:
<p>Nosy busybody. We don't know anything about the SNAP recipient's living situation and cooking facilities. I know a recipient who lives alone in a SRO hotel with no kitchen, only a small microwave in his room. A whole chicken and bag of potatoes would be useless to him, but he could have a hot meal with a single-serve prepared entree.</p>

That's a good point.  When we started hosting a food pantry for our county at church, we learned quickly that many of our clients didn't have functioning kitchens, for many varied reasons.  Some were living in weekly hotels without anything but a microwave or a coffee pot.  Some had kitchens, but were without electricity, or the appliances were in disrepair.  If you can't afford food, you likely can't afford to get major appliances repairs or replaced or always keep the electric on, so the food choices we offered had to be in keeping with what they could actually use.

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001

I find this statement odd,

There’s no reason she should be loading up on those pricey TV dinners if she’s getting the government to pay for it

Just another stink about the chosen article about the poor, smh.  Is it the poor that are really buying pricey frozen dinners or people stuck in a rut and just too busy to cook?  I have to wonder how educated and how healthy the woman ragging on the poor is about her own choices...

 

 

Avatar for savcal2011
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2010

just_another_marla wrote:
<p><strong><a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/woman-a-leading-authority-on-what-shouldnt-be-in-p,35922/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">This piece</a></strong> from The Onion prompted the Huffington Post to form a discussion about judging food stamp purchases. (<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/02/onion-article-food-stamps_n_5254036.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Read here</a></strong>.) </p><p>Excerpt:</p><p><span style="color:#1a1a1a; font-family:Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size:15px; background-color:#fefefe"><blockquote class="quote-msg quote-nest-1 odd"><div class="quote-author">Quote:</div>“There’s no reason she should be loading up on those pricey TV dinners if she’s getting the government to pay for it,” Gaither told reporters at a local Super Stop and Shop, training her prodigious faculties on a welfare recipient using a benefit card in front of her in the checkout line. “If I were on food stamps, I’d just buy two whole chickens and a bag of potatoes—you could feed a family for a week on that and still have money left over.”</blockquote></span></p><p><span style="color:#1a1a1a; font-family:arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:small; background-color:#fefefe">What do you think? Is Carol Gaither a nosy busybody? Or does she have a point?</span></p>

I tend to instinctively be Judgy McJudgerson in grocery stores.  From many angles.  My first thought is something like Carol's first thought.  But then the reasonable, human side of me steps in and says "Now, Hollie, maybe her stove doesn't work and all she has is a microwave. Maybe she works 2 jobs and has to take her meals with her to heat up at work ... there are many reasons why this may be her best choice."  And then I realize too that judging her does nothing.  Education, access to programs, etc is what would help.

And I don't vocalize those instinctive judgments either. And would never publish them.

"I don’t mind a banshee, that’s fine. 2 banshees? I HATE you. I actually wish bad things upon you." -- Day[9] Daily #459 P1

Avatar for rollmops2009
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2009
"I have to wonder how educated and how healthy the woman ragging on the poor is about her own choices..." ------------ Indeed, although it was intended as satire, you find people like that IRL, and your point is a good one.
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2010

just_another_marla wrote:
<p><strong><a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/woman-a-leading-authority-on-what-shouldnt-be-in-p,35922/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">This piece</a></strong> from The Onion prompted the Huffington Post to form a discussion about judging food stamp purchases. (<strong><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/02/onion-article-food-stamps_n_5254036.html" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Read here</a></strong>.) </p><p>Excerpt:</p><p><span style="color:#1a1a1a; font-family:Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size:15px; background-color:#fefefe"><blockquote class="quote-msg quote-nest-1 odd"><div class="quote-author">Quote:</div>“There’s no reason she should be loading up on those pricey TV dinners if she’s getting the government to pay for it,” Gaither told reporters at a local Super Stop and Shop, training her prodigious faculties on a welfare recipient using a benefit card in front of her in the checkout line. “If I were on food stamps, I’d just buy two whole chickens and a bag of potatoes—you could feed a family for a week on that and still have money left over.”</blockquote></span></p><p><span style="color:#1a1a1a; font-family:arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:small; background-color:#fefefe">What do you think? Is Carol Gaither a nosy busybody? Or does she have a point?</span></p>

I have judgey thoughts going through my head when I am bored standing in a long line at the Commissary-there is one long bank-teller type line & then you go up to the casher when a spot opens.  I catch myself thinking about why one person's cart has all junk food, yadda yadda.  But then I also think--people can be judging your cart, you have plenty of junk food and hardly and produce--because I get a produce shipment weekly and inbetween buy from another store.  

And I would rarely notice who is paying with some kind of govt program checks--don't they have cards now too, so they just swipe those?  When I'm in a grocery line I see the person in front of me hand the cashier something, but I'm not right on them up there looking to see what kind of credit card/check/money they are using.  

I do think education is important-the point about many people not having the facilities to cook from scratch I can see being very valid.  I was on WIC many years ago and several times a year you were required to sit through nutrition classes.  I think it's important--it was very boring to me as I know plenty about nutrition and how to cook--but many people don't.  

“Clearly," said Arthur,"you're an idiot- but you're our kind of idiot. Come on.” 
― Markus ZusakThe Book Thief

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009

  I have sometimes wondered what people seeing my cart may think of my purchases.  Sometimes there are few or no fresh fruits and vegetables in my cart  because I buy them at some place other than my regular grocery store. . 

  Since I have the space in both freezer and pantry I often stock up on things when I see a good deal, that may occasionally mean buying a lot of processed things but those are not for that week but for a few weeks or even months. 

 

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
I think of this board and old debates about frozen entrees when I see carts piled up with frozen meals, Lol but generally, I don't study up carts or what people are buying unless I am asking where they found something or if what they are buying is good. That's a great conversation starter too, I love to grocery shop but not when I'm pressed for time.