A Conservative on Food Stamps: I Felt Like I Was Two Inches Tall
By Gianna Rae on July 22, 2010
BlogHer Original Post
Mostly in my view of political stuff, I am very conservative. I believe it's OKAY to make a profit (for some people to be rich and others to be poorer), and I believe the government should NOT say it's okay to kill babies or trivialize people's right to life be it young OR old.
Being that I'm so conservative, you might think it's odd that my family uses programs like WIC and Minnesota Medical Assistance.
This is my opinion: I've paid my taxes and I AM paying my taxes. If there is a program out there that can help me and I've paid for it already, I am going to use it. Whether I use it or not, the government is going to take my money, and this way at least, for once, I get to reuse the money I've already paid in.
You may disagree and ultimately, I wish our finances were different, but they are not, and this way my superstars have milk to drink and eggs and bread and cereal to eat, if nothing else.
We aren't destitute, BUT our limited income is stretched (especially now with an unexpected and unfortunate -- yet needed -- car payment.)
We are trying to be good stewards of our money. We want to honor Jesus, and we don't want to frivolously throw our money around at nonessentials like too much pop and chips and candy and ice cream, etc., but it's nice to be able to have a small source of our essential food be provided for.
With all that said, I had a humbling incident happen this morning.
At 6:00 this morning (I had been up to long enough to have gone to the bathroom and put my hat and jacket on), I went to the grocery store to pick up my bread, eggs, cheese, and orange juice with my WIC voucher.
When I got to the check-out, Jimmy T (that's what the meat man called him) asked me why I was up so early. He sneered a little at my voucher, looked at my juice, and said, "Does this juice work? I thought it had to be like Juicy Juice."
I briefly told him that they had made some major changes (through my non-brushed teeth -- I wasn't standing that close to him -- lucky him) and that juice worked.
He just shook his head and said with the state in deficit, you would think they would cut out some things. "If I was in charge, I would take my red pen and cut out a lot of unnecessary items."
I didn't have anything to say. I had been up for a total of 22 minutes now.
But it didn't end there. Oh, no.
After he rang me up, he went to bag my groceries, which they do at ours (because of a nursing home that is right next door), and I told him I could do it. He asked me if I was sure, and after saying that, his meat man buddy said, "He's a really good bagger."
To which Jimmy T said, "Yeah, you should see me on the street corner."
WHAT!?! Are you serious? I believe I was just called a beggar! Rude! Get me out of the store, and I do NOT want to come back.
When we first started using the WIC program, I was mortified that I was dependent on it. I looked for the shortest line and prayed that NO one would come in line behind me.
Now with a few years and kids under my belt, it's not quite so mortifying, but still!
Have you ever heard of human dignity?
Let me tell you. No matter what you believe about the government and people taking advantage of the programs, it is NOT the problem of the person who is using the program. If you feel like you are having your money stolen, it's not the mama's fault in front of you. She may be making POOR choices on how to use her food stamps so she should have a mentor or a guide on how to take care of her family. However, SHE's not taking the money from you! The GOVERNMENT is taking your money. Not ME!
Jimmy T was completely inappropriate and insulting and hurtful. My day STUNK all day because I felt like a second-class person.
I felt like I had no worth.
Ultimately, I'm SO glad that it was ME who was insulted instead of someone else who is struggling and unhappy and more sensitive than me (I'm not saying that I have a thick skin; I'm just saying I'm glad it wasn't someone else). I called the store to get the name of the manager (store director), and I wrote a letter of complaint.
The lesson that I relearned, however, is that EVERYONE has worth. No matter if I like them or not or agree with them or not. I need to treat them as men and women of worth.
Gianna Rae is a busy mom of four with many random thoughts traveling through her head which is why you can find her at A Traveling Thought. http://atravelingthought.blogspot.com
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