“My Food Stamps Clash With My Coach Wallet”

Posted: September 1, 2012 in Random Thoughts, Rantings
Tags: , , , , , , ,

In recent weeks I have seen a lot of debates on welfare programs.  In my opinion I think we waste too much time debating the programs and not enough time debating the people using said programs.  I like living in a country that offers programs that helps people in need, but I hate seeing people abuse the hell out of them.  

I have known many people (my family included) that have had some kind of assistance from the state.  I don’t see anything wrong with someone needing help.  When I was a young boy my family saw many hard times.  At one point we even lived in a car.  Thankfully there were programs out there that, with a lot of hard work and determination, allowed us to get back on our feet.

When I see people out there abusing the system it makes me sick.  If you need help, then by all means ask for it.  But just because you get help doesn’t mean you need to stop helping yourself.  For the last 2 years I have seen a man come to my place of employment just about everyday.  From day one it was quite clear that he was homeless.  The first few months that I saw him he was pretty beat up looking.  Dirty, ripped clothes, messy long hair, scruffy matted beard and shoes that had more holes than leather.  He would pay for everything with an EBT (food stamp) card.

Over time I started to notice a big change in his appearance.  He was clean shaven and wearing nicer clothes.  I also started to see him on the street corner waving a Verizon sign.  Here was a guy that society had probably given up on and  instead of just living on the assistance of the state he worked hard and has now gotten back on his feet.  He still comes in everyday and buys food but instead of of the EBT card he uses cash.  A story like this is what makes me proud to be a human being.  This is what we all should aspire to be.  When we are down and out we should want to fight back and not depend on someone else to take care of us for the rest of our lives.

There will always be people that need help and I hope we as a society will always be there to help them.  But the assholes that are getting help by defrauding the government should be taken out back and beaten.  There was a time before I moved to Florida that my wife and I were in a bad way and tried selling anything we had of value to make ends meet.  When I see people driving Escalades, and pulling their food stamp cards out of their Louis Vuitton purse it tends to bother me.  I try so hard not to pass judgement, but it sucks seeing people struggle while assholes like these are getting a free ride.  They should all be ashamed of themselves.


  1. vanessaksmith says:

    I agree with you. We have been in stiuations where we had to use assistance or else we wouldn’t have made it. It is hard on your pride when you have to get assistance and it’s even worse to have people (who are one-sided d-bags) who have never had to use it, judge you and make you feel like trash. There are some people that definately abuse the system and sadly, all people that use assistance are judged because of it. I think that there needs to be programs like this for people that absolutely need it, but I think that it needs to be re-formed and have limits and expectations.

  2. Charlie says:

    That onr put a tear to my eye.

  3. It is a shame to see people take such advantage of the system.. My parents are currently in the middle of a divorce with my Dad being the provider and sadly we have had to turn to food stamps and such. I find it harder to be someone who needs it even for a temporary reason such as this, than someone who could easily get themselves a job. Yes if you don’t have a job and have crazy circumstances than easing your way back into it and progressing into making some money is better than doing nothing about it. Though when I walked in for the interview I saw all of these people screaming and cursing with their iPhone’s and such ranting on how they had no money to feed their kids and how they don’t have a job.. I mean the three members of my household that can work, do work, but two of us are in college and the other one is my Mother who has to obtain the big house my Dad wanted. So it sucks for people who are stuck in bad situations because the people who are too lazy to help themselves make it impossible for the people who need help to get by for awhile until they can settle everything and be back on their feet.

  4. machinamy says:

    There definitely needs to be some reform of these assistance program. In no way should it be allowed for people to just sit back and collect. In the 70’s my mother worked for the state welfare office in VT, and there was a work program. It used to be that if you collected welfare, you worked for the state, whether that meant on a road crew or whatever. I hate that politicians out there are trying to block passing legislation to bring that sort of thing back. Claiming that it’s demeaning. How is it demeaning to ask someone to work for their income?
    I am like you, Nick. I have passed judgement on people who drive nicer cars than me, have nicer things, and collect welfare. However, someone recently pointed out to me (and I hate to admit that I’m wrong about anything, so you can imagine how well this was received at first) that we don’t know what anyone’s situation is. With the unemployment rate so high, who’s to say that they didn’t have that Escalade or Luis Vuitton purse before they started collecting welfare? That’s not to say that there aren’t people out there who take advantage, because lord knows, I’ve seen it first hand.
    It all goes back to my original point of needing reform. I hope that someone, one day figures out, what most of us seem to see as being common sense.

  5. Agreed. Same thing with social security. What I don’t understand is how some people can cheat the system so easily. But then people who really need it sometimes can’t get help.

  6. ryoko861 says:

    Makes me sick too! And I see it now and then at the Social Services department where I volunteer. People come in with $100 manicures, Coach purses (real or not they can be pricey) and trendy clothes asking for assistance. They try to weasel their way into the system claiming they need the assistance when really it’s someone else they know that doesn’t even live in the township. I’ll leave it at that. Anything else I say could get me in trouble.

  7. twistedlola says:

    Our country allows that. Go figure.

  8. Systems, regulations, government, business – all these things are necessary tools for living, and where any of these exist, some one will find a way to exploit it. Our job is to audit these systems and ensure that the system works as intended; that no one abuses or exploits it. No different than CEO’s
    who come up with hare-brained schemes of greed to sell mortages to people who they know can’t afford them, and then bundle these worthless assets and resell them to the public. Or arbitragers who play the futures market on gasoline ultimately driving up the price of gas. It will always tbe there and we must watch for it.

  9. Robert Vukan says:

    Corporate welfare is worse

  10. kfitz says:

    I spent a little over 12 years working as a social worker at a homeless shelter. The simple truth about welfare is there is far less abuse than you would imagine. The guidelines are strict and you must show proof of income, etc. The reason we “think” it’s so prevalent that one bad apple that spoils the whole bunch. It wouldn’t be nearly as interesting of a story to talk to the average person struggling on food stamps/welfare. Yawn. It’s far more interesting to hear about the creep abusing the system driving around in a big fat Cadillac with diamonds growing off his/her body. That makes headlines and it’s what people remember. In fact, for some, it’s what they LOVE to remember so they can talk shit about everyone on food stamps and welfare as if they were dirt under their feet. I have some stories of struggle that would make your toes curl and make the story of the man you talked about seem like a picnic on fantasy island.

    Last year I went on medical leave due to harassment and lost my job while on leave. Since I am the main bread winner it was not a pretty situation. We ended up using food stamps for 4-5 months. I just happen to have a genuine Louis Louis Vuitton make up bag that i use as a wallet and a vintage Gucci bag. Both of which I got [while employed] at the Goodwill [Louis for $1.99 and Gucci for $4.99]. I considered selling them but decided it was far more entertaining to watch the reactions of the clerks at the grocery and health food stores when I pulled out my EBT Debit Card. Too bad I didn’t have a cell phone with a camera. . .

    All judgement is a form of abuse. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover. So why judge a person using a EBT Debit card simply b/c of the purse they carry, or the car they drive? Their EBT Debit card is providing revenue to every business they stop and shop at. It’s simply another form of currency, that sadly is used as means to verbally abuse and chastise the card holder. We are all fellow humans, just b/c someone uses a EBT Debit card doesn’t make them any less human or less worthy for basic respect than the peeps standing in front or behind them.

    Years ago I worked for a major retail supermarket so I am well aware of the thoughts some clerks harbor against those who use food stamps. I’ve always been disgusted by it. I wonder how many peeps would be out of work if the food stamp plan was cut across the board?

    • Nick says:

      You made some excellent points here. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my gripes are with the few people that are truly ruining welfare for the rest. My very first, post was about a guy that I see every day playing hundreds of dollars worth of lotto scratch off tickets and then using an EBT card to pay for his groceries. He has even gone as far to comment about how one day the state might catch up with him. I have quite a few run ins with people like him and it always upsets me. The sad thing is there will always be people out there willing to cheat the system. No matter what the system or program people will always find a way to get around the rules. It is just becoming a situation where you have to deal with the few bad people in order to still help the good ones.

  11. BroadBlogs says:

    What great stories. Hope you don’t mind if I repeat them w/link back.

  12. B says:

    I couldn’t agree more, we need programs that help people in need. That should never be the question, the question is what can we do to monitor the programs so that people don’t abuse it. I hate to say it, but at the moment we do not have enough resouces to review and monitor all the cases. There isn’t enough money in the system to provide for the assistance and for the monitoring of cases. Frankly I don’t know that we will ever be able to have both.

  13. Janelle says:

    I agree with you, but I will chip in and add one thing–you never know where these people were before they needed the assistance. For example, there’s a chance they bought all those nice things they had before they lost a good job, or items were received as gifts. In my case, I believe I qualify for some form of government assistance. I have an iPhone that my mom paid for when I was still in college, and she still pays the bill. The money someone may or may not be making now doesn’t reflect what they may have been making previously.

    • Nick says:

      Its not really about the possessions people have that irk me. Like you said, they could have acquired them before they ran into financial problems. This is a post about my feeling towards the people that blatantly abuse the system. Not everyone fits into this post. There are a lot of great people out there that are working hard trying to keep their head above water. I would offer those people anything I could to help them. Its the others I have an issue with. The ones that refuse to put forth effort and just expect society to take care of them.

      Thank you very much for the read and comment!

  14. kfitz says:

    Hey Nick. . . help me understand how these peeps are ruining it for everyone else? Truth, if someone QUALIFIES for assistance then they will get it regardless of any nefarious activities by others. As a former social worker I’ve seen many who “believed” they qualified simply b/c of their stripped down circumstances. However, once the math was done there was no way they would qualify. It had nothing to do with anything other than they had too much money. Even though it wasn’t enough to cover their expenses. The problem is what the state considers luxuries; a car, insurance, charge card payments,landline, cell phone and internet. Where I live a single person gets up to $249 a month for food. They base it on the total expense for rent/mortgage, gas, water and electric. Any funds you have left over from those is subtracted from the $249. They also factor in what’s in your checking, and savings accounts. Basically you have to be down to the nubs to qualify. As for the man buying lottery tickets, compared to the banking scandals, what he’s doing is chump change. Isn’t it interesting that if caught he’ll likely be penalized more than the bankers?

  15. Thanks for another great post Nick and for the great conversations your posts create. My parents and I emigrated from the former Soviet Union to the states when I was 7. Within a year of being here my dad was gone. He was 36 and died from a cancer he got working around radio active materials while still in the USSR (we had no idea how sick he was until a few months after we arrived in the US). We hadn’t been here long enough for my parents to have gotten any real insurance or social security, or enough time to accumulate any savings. Everything my parents had they had used to get here. My mom worked two jobs but still we needed help and I thank god every day that we lived in a country that not only took us in, but helped us get on our feet. We had food stamps, and section 8 housing and she got assistance to take accounting and english classes at an adult learning program.

    After a few years, she was able to get a job as a payroll clerk at Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and we were able to make it on our own. I was able to go to a good public school and then college because of student loan programs and she was able to retire because between the pension she earned at BCBS and her social security, she could afford to live comfortably. And me, because of this amazing country of ours, I was able to get the education I needed to get to a point in my life where I am able to take time off from work and travel and blog about how awesome it is not to have to work for a bit.

    That’s how this system works, or did, thirty years ago. I am so grateful that the community was able to help my mom when I was too little to. None of us can accomplish it all on our own. I’m proud to live in a country that doesn’t turn its back when someone struggles.

    Again, thanks so much for your great posts!

  16. Patricia says:

    Well I guess my mom giving me a coach purse once but refuses to give me help with food is a shame? She has helped us with beds, blankets,rent,utilities any even fixed my broken car. I need her help to survive and the stamps to feed my children. I work as a CNA…so yeah I am poor. I had never had a nice purse and she bought it now everyone stares at me. Maybe it makes me not look poor enough. I wear clothes strictly from thrift stores…it’s the only nice thing I have. I sold all my jewelry from my marriage to pay bills. I think if I am judged by carrying it then that is fine. Honestly you don’t know me or my kids. Christmas this year is impossible for my family…but we are not begging for help. If I can’t provide any then my kids deal. They best be great full for full bellies and a roof over their heads. Please judge those if u wish with hands full of diamonds or expensive cars. But leave me alone my car has zip ties holding the bumper on…I am ring free and I carry a coach purse..,so what I deserve one nice thing in this world. I do not need to be judged for it.

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