Friday, December 12, 2008

I like Starbucks too...but I still can't afford it.

As stated yesterday, I've been in a chemically induced funk the past few days. Even though I really didn't quite feel up to task this morning, I managed to get out of bed, take the kids to school, and trek off to work (at least for a few hours). I typically have one pit stop going to work, and today was no exception. It's a fairly busy convenience store with an enormous fountain drink selection...44 ounces for 49 cents kinda thing.

Today, I'm standing in line with my stinking orange juice listening to my wife's voice echoing around in my head lecturing on about free radicals and vitamin C and drinking too much soda. Realizing the wait was much longer than usual, my focus went to the check out counter. Apparently the hold up was a card processing problem on a purchase. Credit card? No...a welfare benefit card. The PIN was causing some sort of problem. Now I'm really focused. I'm not quite sure why it chaps me so much to see government benefits being used in a convenience store, but my irk was reinforced by what I witnessed. One lady was buying a quart size energy drink on the card. When it finally processed, she passed the card back to another lady who bought a specialty coffee from the fountain section... a separate transaction. The clerk, who obviously knew both ladies, completed the sale and handed the card back.

Did I really just see that? Over $6 on a benefit card for two drinks? Please believe me when I say I'm not a hater. Sometimes, people get down on their luck and need a little help to the next opportunity. But this...this madness...has got to stop. You might say, 'what's the big deal, it's only 6 bucks?' Well, I'm convinced the spending I saw is the pattern of spending for a lot of government supported people. Frivolous spending is not an option at my house when money gets tight. Recently, our dryer broke, and we had to purchase another one. No problem, that's why we have a rainy day fund. But, compromises are made until the money is replaced in the fund, so we drastically cut back on eating out for over a month (drastically cut back = not at all).

Isn't a person on welfare in a constant state compromise? When gas was near $4 a gallon, our household budget saw compromises to make up for the additional expenses. When my oldest daughter needed braces...compromises were made. If you are on welfare, doesn't $6 for two drinks sound a little extravagant?

Of course, letting your friend use your benefit card is a completely different matter/problem, but I have too much to do right now to write on that subject. I'm behind on a few things at work because I've been sick.

Sure hope the $1.39 orange juice helps.


Anonymous said...

Do you believe in miracles?

~ Lori ~ said...

I want to say that I am shocked about misuse on a govt card...unfortunately I can't say that. It is their money to use as they see fit. But to allow others to use it is wrong in so many ways.

Tasha Via said...

That is so true. That government can be such a help and blessing to some people who truly CANNOT make ends meet and who pinch every penny they can. That really sickens me. I really think they should find a way to limit what purchases go on that. Like the government WIC program that only allows you to buy certain things and those things are healthy, proportional sizes.

Anyway, very eye opening. I sure hate to hear of the people taking advantage of that blessing.

Tony C said...

Thanks guys for the get well sentiments.

Lori and Tasha are both right on with people who don't realize the blessings they receive. I agree with Tasha on the WIC program too. Well managed and monitored and a lifesaver for several people I personally know.

God bless and have a great weekend.

Lula! said...

This totally happened in Pennington Gap. You know it did. Admit that you were here.

OK, so was it in Kingsport?

Regardless, this scenario is repeated DAILY in Lee County. And I refuse to say more, lest I come across as "intolerant."