Bitchy Mom vs. Her Hell Spawn
Rollercoaster Slave: Corporate Bullshit

Food Stamp Rant

Arant2 Hey everyone Hellgreens Slave here with a slight rant about something that has been bothering me for a while now..

This situation today reconfirmed my loath of EBT/food stamps program and makes me wish there was a higher restriction for people who can receive it..

I'm not against it, I just wish the government would revamp the program because there's some people I feel abuse it.

So, let me explain myself before I get hate mail.. lol. 

These two decently dressed young women (early 20s) come in to shop.. I'm off doing my own stuff when the cashier pages for a manager.

So I go up to the register to see what she needs and these girls have like $30 worth of food and are trying to use a Family First card..

ok, no big deal- we accept them and I could care less on any other given day/time but their card was not scanning through the pin pad.. and the cashier had tried a plastic bag over the card and had tried to manually punch it in the register.. three times.. before calling me up.

So I try to have them run it through, then I manually try to enter it and pretty much do the best I can to get their card to go through.. except it was not taking it.

In that case (when your card doesn't freaking scan through the pin pad) it means you need a NEW CARD. So I apologize that we can't accept the card because our machine and register both are refusing it and I have tried 4 times to manually enter it and it's just not going to take it and that it doesn't mean there's no money in the account, it just means she needs a new card.

So the one girl is like ready to bug out (her friend was chatting away on her cellphone) and insisted I run it through as "credit."

I explained it's going to ask for an expiration date and security code and like two other things her EBT card does not have because it's EBT NOT credit or debit or a gift card. So I apologize again and tell her she's just going to have to get a new card but that we'd be more than happy to hold her stuff for her to get when she gets a new card.

So the two leave and I get a customer with a return or whatever so as I'm finishing that up the girls come back in line.. with cash in their hands.

So, I'm thinking, "Ah nice they can get their food and not worry about that and then go handle their card issue after they eat or whatever."

But why would I ever be right? I ask if they wanted to buy the food (since they had milk and some other stuff I was going to put back in the cooler) and the one responds, "No but I need cigarettes!" Arant1

I ID'd them and they're of age so I sell them their cigarettes and they leave.

But one question remains: Uhm.. WTF? Who would forgo food for cigarettes??????

Now granted they could of purchased some of the food and cigarettes, too but in the end they bought NO food and only cigarettes with whatever cash they had on them..

I'm sorry but if you're in a situation where you have to be on food stamps and your card is declined and you have cash wouldn't you buy food first before cigarettes?

I get it, maybe her cigarettes are important, too but why would someone buy that over bread, eggs, milk, etc?!

This is not the first time I've had someone do this, but still.. it bugs me because they just made a poor choice and it's not like I can say anything to them.. but I sometimes wish I could.

--Hellgreens Slave




There have been times in my life when the choice has been food or cigs and I have chosen cigs. I'm not defending the choice, but I just don't think it's quite as black or white as you think.

Cigs are addictive and difficult to live without. If you've not smoked then it's hard to appreciate this. Food can normally be scrounged together from the cans at the back of cupboards or from a kindly parent or friend who will take pity on your sorry smoking ass.

As such at times when I was in this position. It was cigs that sometimes won over food. I'm not proud but when your life is that shitty what's one missed meal, you've probably missed a few already.

At least they're not spending benefits on cigs, or worse have the choice between cigs and booze or baby food and nappies and choose the cigs and booze. I've seen that happen and that really makes you feel sick.


I'm not a smoker, but I'm going to have to agree with Fudge. My family wasn't on food stamps when I was younger but I can clearly remember my mother thinking cigarettes were just as necessary as the milk we were scrounging for change in the couch cushions were. It's an addiction and most people can't help themselves.

Besides, working at a grocery store I saw a much worse use of food stamps. I tend to think if you're on food stamps you don't need to be buying Snow Crab legs. But hey, what do I know?


Its easier for an addict to live without food than without cigarettes. For one thing they can go to a food bank/pantry and get food, or they can dumpster dive. And mostly friends or family will take pity on you. And you probably have something in your cupboards to make due (I'm pretty low on food right now as I haven't gone to the place I buy pantry items in over a month and I could still probably manage for 2 weeks without food, though the veggie situation would get dire without my garden).

Nicotene withdrawal is pretty harsh. Headaches, dizziness, pounding chest, fatigue, inability to concentrate, moodiness.

Also, for some reason, people tend to only buy cigarettes when they "need" them right now, whereas you tend to buy food when you're getting low, or when you have the chance.


I think this is less an issue of food-stamp abuse than cigarette addiction. Bookslave, I feel your pain: we had a change jar that we would take to the grocery store to buy food, yet my mom always made sure her cigarettes were the first thing we bought. And that addiction leads us to today: she is dying slowly and painfully from COPD.


I agree the food stamp program is to lenient at times. I reported a person I knew who used her EBT card daily at a nearby gas station for gatorade and chips/candy. While I'm pregnant, my boyfriend and I work full time (he has a full time and a part time job) and we get WIC vouchers and get absolutely glared down at the register, if the cashier knows how to use them at all. It's a sad state of things, I'm afraid.


Referring to the need for "revamping" food stamp programs. I work in Pennsylvania. Yesterday, I had different customers use food stamp cards from New York, Connecticut, South Carolina and New Jersey. All of these had to be hand keyed, becasue they did not slide in the card readers. I was told my cash office (I don't know if its true) that when we hand key out-of-state cards, we do not get reimbursed by that state. This means that every time we hand key an out of state card, we are GIVING AWAY the food.
In PA, food stamps come out on several dates, and one of these is the 10th (sometimes 11th) When I left work last night, my register had $12,319.87 in sales. Of that, $9,620.15 were FOOD STAMPS. That's right- over 3/4 of the sales were paid by food stamps. This sort of thing happens every month. Apparently every gets food stamps...except for me!
Seriously, though I do not live in a "depressed" area, and the unemployment rate here is no higher than the rest of the country. Can anyone tell me- does your store get as much in food stamp sales as we do here? Just wondering.....


You have obviously never been a smoker.


padawannewt, so sorry about your mom. I know what that's like, my mother passed away from lung cancer after smoking for over 50 years.

Katie - wow, why does the store accept cards from out of state if they're not getting reimbursed?

Santa's Bitch

@Katie: I don't know how it is in Pennsylvania, but here in South Carolina, a lot of foster families are given EBT to help with the costs of food in exchange for providing shelter and a loving family for children removed from their own. We're also given ABC vouchers for daycares if the children are young enough. The whole concept of being paid for fostering children is ridiculous. Often times, the state has to step in and provide some relief otherwise the foster parents could get really strapped financially.

Maybe that's what is going on with your store?


i can definitely relate hellgreens. I'm a smoker and i can see where others are coming from as far as choosing cigs and food. of course cigs take priority but i also understand how some people abuse the system. a customer that shops in my store knows a couple of my co workers because her son is friends with them. when they told me what a nice house they live in and what a nice car HER SON drives i was so confused when i rang her up and she used her food stamps card. we all figured out what she's up to and it makes me so angry every time i help her because i know people out there that actually need it and she's using it just to get free food. people exploit the system, which sucks but i hope it eventually catches up to them.


I believe it, my mum works with homeless people and helps put people into hostels and things when they really have nowhere else to go.
One night she comes home and asks me for old clothes and stuff because she has a lady in who has nothing, no clothes, toiletries, money, food etc.
Anyway my mum goes around and gets a few essentials for her, tea, milk, bread, couple of t shirts that kind of thing, turns out later the lady has like 40 cigarettes on her and made sure to buy them when she got into town, the money she spent on those cigarettes could have at least got her some essentials for the night.
I don't say this out of disdain for the homeless I'm just saying people have different kinds of priorities, especially where an addiction is considered. I myself quit smoking in january, had some hiccups since but generally i'm out of it, but quitting was hell.

Shoe Bitch

OMG! Something like that happened at my shoe store. One of my first customers of the day came in. She tried to buy a couple pairs of hooker-looking heels lol. As I was ringing her up, she asked if we took EBT. I said yes (cuz crazy enough, Payless does). But it wouldn't scan through. I put the shoes on hold for her, and she promised she would be back. 4 hours later, loaded down with shopping bags from every designer store in the mall, she comes back and pays cash. Definetly needs some harsher restrictions. lol


How about when people use their ebt cash for cigarettes? It drives me crazy! I'm under the impression you need that money to pay bills and etc. Not to feed your addiction to toxic substances. Grr.

Today I had a customer swipe her cousins ebt card and it had nothing in it. She laughed and pulled out her own card. Is that fishy to anyone else?

I wish I could go on food stamps, half my paycheck goes to my families food. I live at hone with my grandpa, mom and younger brother . My grandpa gets social security and my mom works part time; which means we are rolling in money according to the ebt officials. (Which is far from the truth). I've been told to lie about paying rent or living in the basement. But I don't feel right about it you know?


Fun fact: My wife, who works 4 - 8 hours a week, would qualify for public assistance (food stamps etc.) for her and our two kids if we were to get divorced. I wouldn't even have to move out. How's that for a system in need of a revamp?

Kunoichi Cook

Ugh, to think that's where my tax dollars are going....grrrrr..... =(


Maybe they're using the cigarettes to stave off hunger?


Food grants here (we don't have a food stamp system, but you can get emergency food grant vouchers if the shit totally hits the fan) won't pay for cigarettes or alcohol. They're quite generous, about $150 for a family of four, but you can only get a maximum for three in a year - it's for total emergencies. Anything else, you get sent to the foodbank.

Postal Slave

I am ashamed to admit that I have, in the past, bought heroin and cigarettes over food.

I'm more ashamed that I did it because I knew that I could get food at the food bank.

To this day I think of the food I stole from a mom or dad with children to feed and I am so sorry.


OK I've been a smoker since I was 15.. so that's 8 years. I understand the addiction but as a smoker if it was between food or cigs I would find a way to balance both. She easily could of bought some of her food & cigs but instead chose NO food and $40 worth of cigs. That's unnecessary!

I'm not against the Food Stamp program but seriously I have seen many people like this, and worse, and something needs to be done to stop people from abusing it because they're ruining it for those who truly need the help.

I just graduated college, make decent money, but most of the tax they take out has increased 1. because of goddamn obama's health care crap (I'm Republican and totally against nationalized anything) and 2. because apparently some lazy S.O.B needs MY hard earned money more than me so I can't afford to move out of my parents house just yet. I could very easily go on food stamps by lying but I refuse to take other people's money as I believe paychecks are for workers. With this recession it's a bit different and food stamps I know have been a much needed help to families who have no other option, but I'm so sick and tired of these people who abuse it.


There are abuses in every system. It hurts those that need help most. And you are making assumptions about this girl, her money, and her situation that I couldn't make after a singular encounter with her.


@Mimi...the store I work at accepts the out of state card, knowing they will not get reimbursed, because they say they don't want us to lose customers. I'm not sure why you'd want to keep someone who doesn't pay! This isn't isolated...there have been people who come month after month, knowing their cards do not work. The store allows it because they want to avoid any scene that makes it look like the store is discriminating. ( refusing service based on the fact that the person is from another state)


And he eats babies too!


I have a friend who bitches about nationalized services all the time yet she's a trucker and I've never once heard her moan about all the nice roads she gets to drive on that are paid for out of tax dollars. Classic "it's only bad when it doesn't benefit me" mindset.

I've probably ranted about WIC here before. Worst program ever. I have a few friends who are currently using it or they've used it in the past. One was told she was underweight and they'd only give her whole milk which she couldn't drink. 1% she could have tolerated but they told her just to water down the whole milk if she couldn't drink it straight. Another is on the program because she's fostering a toddler and she needs to go nutrition classes all the time despite the fact she's been a mom for over 20 years and she's a teacher. I just found out the other day that one of the moms from my sons preschool is on WIC too and she gets more free food than she can use (she gives the canned juice concentrates to friends and buy capri-sun for her kids because it's easier) plus she got a new fridge from the government yet she drives a SUV and has her kids enrolled in various expensive classes most days. I can't think of a single program more in need of a major overhaul. Oh yes, one more thing. Our local farmers market is sponsored by a community organization, the kind of place that gives people suits for job interviews and runs food pantries. They give a table to WIC and promote the vouchers. I've had several different people there push me to apply for the program and they're always giving my kid stickers and coloring books and such. We don't qualify, not by a long shot, and even if we did my son will be 5 in a few weeks and he'll age out of the program anyway. It drives me nuts that I have to tell them over and over that I don't want or need their help because they seem so intent on giving me resources that I don't need.

Michael Chandra

Let's avoid the healthcare debate, shall we? Before you know it, the term communist will be tossed around and I'll get offended by people declaring systems far less progressed than ours to already be communist, making me wonder why on earth the US wants European help in their wars if they hate our guts and consider every single Western European a dirty communist who's in league with Castro.

See? I started ranting. Healthcare debate -> baaaaad rants and heated emotions.

Please think of the poor puppies. :(

Christine Beres

I'm a smoker, and on foodstamps. And let me tell you, I would DEFINITELY but the cigarettes. You can beg food, you can go to soup kitchens, you can go to friend's... But without that nicotine, you become A BITCH, and quick. Smokes > Food (I've gone days without food just so I could have my smokes... literally, days.)


LOL I actually went to private school my entire life and a private college as well. I'm just not a fan of Obama but I'm not going to go into it- I have my opinions, other people have theirs. I respect other people's opinions on the matter but that's not the issue at hand here.

It just bothers me when people make poor choices. Maybe I making assumptions about this girl just like almost everyone on here has made about me making no one better than me just because I think this way. I'm giving my opinion on the matter, never said anyone had to agree. Everyone has their pet peeves and this just happens to be one of mine- someone trying to buy food, their EBT card refuses and then they pay cash just for their cigarettes. I know if it was me I would still try to buy some of the food. As a smoker I do understand the importance of needing cigarettes but I just don't agree with the decision this person made.. and I don't have to. And no one has to agree with me, geez now get off my dick. k thanks.


Heads up, in some places if you are in foodstamps the state requires that your childsupport payments (if you get them) be sent to them and then the money is placed on the EBT card.

So please don't just ASSume that they're using government money on that. When it could be child support.. or in some cases even spousal support of their divorce or whatever required it *shrug*.


I didn't assume anything other than it was a poor decision to buy cigarettes over food. I never said I was against them but people like them overall because its not the first time I've had someone do this nor the last and I know there are many people who abuse the system. But my biggest problem was that the girl's card was denied and she came back with cash but bought cigarettes over her food. That is what I have a problem with.. I don't have an issue as to why she has the card in the first place, maybe she does need the help, but I have a problem with someone choosing cigarettes over food like duh she easily could of afforded SOME of her food and cigarettes but she chose only cigarettes over all the food she could of bought.


Yeah I don't have time to go through all that, lol it's not the focus of what I originally posted about. I'm just annoyed over people who make poor decisions like this girl that chose cigarettes over food when she could have afforded both. I mean she didn't have enough cash to cover all the food she originally wanted to purchase but I don't get why she had to buy 8 packs of cigarettes instead of maybe 4 and some of the food. Even as a smoker I would of thought more logically.

nate grey

This is the stupidest rant ever. I am: 30 years old, and had 4 successful businesses. I wear designer clothes, and made well over 6 figures for years. Now - my businesses failed, I've run out of savings, and have started to sell my possessions for basic needs. With ZERO income for over a year, I recently - after MONTHS of stalling, went and got food stamps.

I get shitty looks from people, and this teenage bagger kept looking at me up and down on purpose, noting that I have a designer wallet.

Screw you all who scorn others that "look" like they have it together. Little does anyone know I'm near homeless, getting into my fancy car, with my Gucci shoes.

I hope it all happens to you.

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