Being my brother's keeper makes me hate my brother!

More than once I have been treated to the spectacle of seeing welfare mothers in supermarket check-out lanes, carts full of grape soda and all sorts of cheesy, puffy processed junk foods, like potato chips, pork rinds, etc. I don't know whether such stuff still qualifies legally as "food," but many times I found myself succumbing to fits of stereotypical thinking, and I have wondered, "Why are my tax dollars financing that?"

So now (thanks to the ever-vigilant Sean Kinsell) I have to wonder why they are financing a more healthy, "flexitarian" diet:

In the John Waters-esque sector of northwest Baltimore -- equal parts kitschy, sketchy, artsy and weird -- Gerry Mak and Sarah Magida sauntered through a small ethnic market stocked with Japanese eggplant, mint chutney and fresh turmeric. After gathering ingredients for that evening's dinner, they walked to the cash register and awaited their moments of truth.

"I have $80 bucks left!" Magida said. "I'm so happy!"

"I have $12," Mak said with a frown.

The two friends weren't tabulating the cash in their wallets but what remained of the monthly allotment on their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program debit cards, the official new term for what are still known colloquially as food stamps.

Sean takes note of the inherent smugness of a word ("flexitarian") that allows poseurs to have their burgers and their sanctimony too, and spots an economic issue: these people are both:
(1) on food stamps and (2) not planning their budget.
Why the hell should they care any more than the stereotypical welfare mom? After all, it's other people's money.

The painful part here is that I am trying to figure out which wasteful stereotype I detest more. The trashy potato chip and grape soda victim, or the savvy health-conscious flexitarian?

God, people suck.

The whole thing makes me feel a lot more antisocial than I would if my tax dollars weren't paying for it.

posted by Eric on 03.17.10 at 10:12 AM


And it costs more to buy like these two are doing.

LYNNDH   ·  March 17, 2010 11:17 AM

Years ago, a cousin of mine who qualified for food assistance (some program different from food stamps back then) gave me cheese and peanut butter because they had been given more than they could eat.

What pissed me off the most was that if I had applied, I could have had the same based on income and family size. I was supporting the same number of people on the same salary and we were both paying the same rent.

Somehow, I was making it fine (without the extra cheese and peanut butter) but she was not? I didn't get it then and I don't get it now.

Donna B.   ·  March 17, 2010 9:21 PM

Anti-social attitudes are the only sane response to socialism and socialists.

Brett   ·  March 18, 2010 8:52 AM

If that ticks you off, follow them into the parking lot and note the car they put the groceries in. It's probably better than yours...

Choey   ·  March 18, 2010 10:40 AM

Having recieved food stamps for a year after I was married many many years ago, and as much as I love these ancedotes, there were 3 types of people in the state office waiting room - those in temporary hardship, those old and poor, those who were absolutely crazy. The first will be working soon, the second never made much money, the third couldn't keep a job if it was tied around their waist.Welfare queens make good copy are pretty rare in real life.

bobmark   ·  March 18, 2010 11:45 AM

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