The EBT people

When I was an assistant manager of a super convenience store i saw some pretty ridiculous things. One of my favorite things to hate was a certain type of customer that we had. We were located on a busy highway but there was a low end apartment complex behind us and right around the first of the week we would get a slew of customers who would perform some of the most erroneous transaction that I witnessed.

For those of you who don't know, the "first of the month" is a term used by many who are on welfare or foodstamps. Often, there is an allotment given to those recipients who can also take out physical currency on their "electronic bank transfer" card as well as the purchasing of actual food stuffs. Many of the items in our store were marked "EBT" to promote their selection. Things that could not be purchased on EBT were items like alcohol, cigarettes, lotto and lottery and the like. Strangely you could not purchase fresh made deli or hot restaurant items but you could purchase things like candy bars and soda-pop.

In comes our friends, dirty t-shirts and pajama bottoms with five children each, screaming and running. Wandering around for a while, goods in hand, they approach my counter. Each child with an armful of candy and the parents with cases of soda. All purchased on foodstamps. I weep when the mother scolds a child with a loaf of bread. "We don't need that shit," she tells her three year old. The boy puts the bread by the Little Debbies and I proceed with the sale. "Oh we need lottery tickets." I respond with: "You have to purchase those with Debit or cash only." They proceed to try and pay me with their EBT card. I shrug and run the transaction. It's denied. They curse me and go to the ATM.

Armed with fresh cash, they proceed to buy five different flavors of tobacco, $40 in lottery and lotto and then shuffle out of the door. All told, they've just spent $150 of taxpayer money on garbage. I need a break, so I have someone cover my register and go to the break room to vent to another employee. Samantha is her name. She's young and a mother of a toddler. She doesn't see anything wrong with it. Of course not, I think. You've only been in the workforce for half of a year and are still a little dumb. I tell her my honest opinion of the concept, without telling her my opinion of her as well. "Well, I'd do it," she says, puts out her cigarette and goes back to work.

Mary, the elderly woman who has been on break and just listening in sighs through a mouthful of sandwich. I know she's going to say something so I wait for her to take a drink and swallow. "I think they're a bunch of thieves. I've worked my whole life and never taken a dime from the government."She takes another drink. "You just can't convince people about stuff they don't want to be convinced about."

No. You really can't.