An American EBT (Food Stamp) Narrative...
You have a great job, you make a good living...you can even afford a pretty decent car, and an iPhone on a cell plan (even though iPhones are basically expensive pieces of shit)...you have a nice purse because you splurged, your best friend gave you a gift card to a Guess store, and so, because you were making money, you paid the difference and got yourself a nice Guess purse.
You're doing well.
But then, an unforeseen circumstance befalls you...your company has a massive layoff...the country's economy tanks...you fall ill...and you lose your job.
The job market is shit, you are over-qualified...under-qualified...the job market is saturated with people; you struggle...but you need food.
You get food stamps...begrudgingly...but you need nutrition just to survive.
You drive the car you bought from when you were employed, that you're now struggling to make payments on, to the grocery store. Hoping you'll get a great paying job soon, you're keeping the car, because trading it in is a crap shoot. You put some food in your cart, a bag of chips maybe...because it's a treat. You get to the register and you pull your wallet out of your Guess purse and extract your EBT card...and you can feel the judging eyes...your phone rings and you pull out your iPhone and answer it, you hear scoffs of those judging you further, you walk out to your can get into it...and you can feel the people who know you're "on the dole" watching you, hateful, angry.
This happens for months while you apply for job after job.
Even getting a job at WalMart would be fine, but it would keep you below the poverty limit; you wouldn't make much, but at least your income would be augmented by your EBT "food stamps"(1).
You're the working poor.
maybe you got a great job and now you don't need your EBT, and so as a final blow-out you use the rest of the funds on your EBT card to buy lobster and steak...after all, as a single person, in most states, you're only getting about $130 month for food, but it's early in the month, and your new job is great, so why not celebrate and use it all up.
But now some asshole found the receipt on the ground, was appalled at how you spent HIS tax contributions...and he posted it all over the internet (and it's now been trending nicely there for over two and a half years as an example)...making the ignorant public into a bunch of giant douchebags who don't think anyone should require this (often) much needed government assistance.
Welcome to America. It's God's country.
Maybe some people need to remember the "Great Recession" brought on by the Bush Jr. Administration, and recall how the economy tanked, what the word "recovery" means and understand that it's not an instantaneous occurrence...and gain some fucking perspective.
And before you pull out your bag of assumptions. NO we are NOT on ANY government assistance.
We have been on food stamps (EBT) two times over the past fifteen years, but not for long (no longer than a year and a half), and it was only when we needed it.
Perhaps the majority of the 14.3%(2) of Americans on Food Stamps (most of which are the elderly, families with children, and the disabled) actually need the help they are asking for...and the (rare) exceptions to the rule shouldn't be the reason you hate on those people.
What a novel concept.
Sources and Citation:
(1) Walmart: America's real 'Welfare Queen', Daily Kos, Paddy Ryan, October 10, 2012 http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/10/10/1141724/-Walmart-fuels-inequality-epidemic-taking-advantage-of-our-safety-net#
(2) Americans Significantly Overestimate The Percent Of People On Food Stamps, Business Insider, Walter Hickley, October 11, 2013, http://www.businessinsider.com/americans-really-overestimate-the-percent-of-people-on-food-stamps-2013-10