Friday, October 9, 2009


The following is a true story:

Last night I stopped by Pios, a local old timey meat market to pick up something to make for dinner. While I make my way to the counter I overhead a lady ask "Do you want steak tonight?" I look over and she's asking what appears to be a ten year old girl. "Must be nice," I thought. When I was a kid we rarely got steak and even now steak is a luxury. But I'm all for those who work hard and don't begrudge anyone what they've rightly earned.

Except this lady and her daughter and her twelvish looking son in their baggy clothes and greasy hair didn't exactly look like go-getters.

As it is a small store they have plastic baskets to put your food in instead of the giant Walmart-type carts. "Carry that basket up the front so mamma can pay."

"I can't. It's too heavy!"

By this time I'm by the counter and can see a basket overflowing with bundles wrapped in white butcher paper, capped off with a side of ribs. Again, I loves me some good ribs but it's not something I can afford, opting instead of the more affordable pulled pork.

Somehow the basket gets to the front of the store while Neil gets my order together (two and a half pounds of hamburger which I will stretch to feed a family of seven, if you must know) and I overhear the lady approve of the candy her kids have picked out. I take my solitary purchase and walk to the front of the store in time to see this lady pay for her feast of meat with a food stamp card.

I sure was glad that I could help pay for her $84 of meat. This wasn't the first time I'd been standing in line behind someone buying $50 of meat using food stamps while I pay cash for a pound or two of hamburger, sometimes seeing these same people drive away in nice new cars out in the parking lot while I climb into my 1995 Ford Taurus.

What's wrong with this picture?

6 comments:

C. Ford said...

Emily had a Hoosier Works card all summer long after Taylor laid her off. She didn't use the card since you can transfer the balance to a regular bank account, but we used the money to eat out a lot, buy new furniture for the house, all sorts of stuff. It was pretty cool.

We had second thoughts about even applying for her unemployment benefits since we could have gotten by without them but then Emily learned that Taylor had to pay 100% of her benefit out of pocket since they were a private institution and it became a no brainer.

I suppose I'm just saying you can't always judge a book by its cover - I'm sure Emily and I had greasy hair days of our own during that time...

Uvulapie said...

So Taylor paid 100% of the benefit whether she took it or not? Or if she applied they paid 100%?

It wouldn't bother me so much if it didn't happen frequently... a basket full of meat being paid for by a Hoosier Works card. Plus she had one of those nifty phones you turn sideways with a full keyboard! That's gotta count for something, right?

C. Ford said...

I'm just being a little antagonistic. I'd think the same thing. The Taylor thing meant they had to pay for Emilys unemployment if she applied. After the way they handled the closing and treated the faculty and employees we felt no love lost about taking every cent we could get from them. And we did.

Uvulapie said...

See how they botched the transition from Summit to Taylor and how they shoveled us out the door... well, there's a reason why they have almost no alumni support from the years I went there.

The Rebellious Pastor's Wife said...

Actually, I think they had to pay it in advance. They could've chosen to opt out, and then she could get nothing (like many nonprofits do)...but it was already paid, basically, and it might as well go to who it was intended to go to, as far as I am concerned.

My husband's current pet peeve are the backpacks where we are sending food home to kids on the weekend. John Dewey would be so proud of how well they are making the schools the center of the community...the parents have no responsibility to provide food for their kids for 3/4 of their meals now. Breakfast and lunch all week, and now weekend meals. And if they can't provide these, they usually ARE getting benefits. They just apparently are not going to the kids.

At what point do you lay the responsibility to provide fo the kids at the parents and call it neglect if it doesn't happen? Okay, I guess it is my pet peeve, too.

Big Doofus (Roger) said...

I'll tell you what's wrong, you need a new car. You deserve it. Trade that clunker in for something better. Make sure it has a huge trunk with a built in cooler for all that meat you're going to haul around.