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Today, I saw a well-groomed woman at the grocery store pull food stamps out of her Louis Vuitton purse while using her fake, salon-styled nails to text on her BlackBerry. MMT

#114 (32) - Aug 7, 2009 by Cristina - Sad - Yes, that made me think too! (11361) - No, that made me sleepy. (1524)



If it makes you feel any better, the Louis Vuitton was probably fake. Then again, she might've used her FEMA debit card to purchase it.

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt but that makes me sad. I hope it was fake and the nails were a DIY kit. The Blackberry I can't say a darn thing about. I'm on SSI/disability and am getting foodstamps. However, I got my phone at a very low price, and I desperately needed it because I'm currently trying to get through college and have a 45 minute commute there, and 45 minutes back home every day for school. My cellphone is my freaking lifeline. I'd be screwed without it. And once I finish college, I have no intentions of staying on disability or food stamps. it's a temporary measure so that I can get medical treatment and basically survive until I'm done with college. So....maybe her situation is just...unique...different, maybe not just like mine, but....we don't know what it is. I hope. I hate to think somebody would be abusing the system that badly without regard.

her situation might also be one of fraud. i see people like this all the time! they're on food stamps, but they can somehow afford crazy expensive stuff...i think this could be like that

So, what if just maybe her life has changed for the worse. maybe she possibly bought the phone and her purse before she needed food stamps. Yea now she needs the food stamps, doesnt mean she has to get rid of everything she got before her situation changed. I get annoyed at people who complain about the things I own, I got laid off from a very good job. I bought nice things. I no longer make that money, but Im keeping my truck I bought, Im keeping my clothes, and Im keeping my phone. Why shouldnt I? Just because someone needs foodstamps doesnt mean they have always needed them.

She could be defrauding the government, but it's also entirely possible that she was buying groceries as a favor for an elderly or disabled neighbor or for a relative or friend too busy with work and childcare to run errands.

My husband recently lost a very nice job. He used to buy me all of those things. he works at a grocery store now. we filed divorce last week. I have nice things, but now i'm single with no job and a three year old child to support.

See, but that's the thing though. If you can afford to have those things then you don't really need food stamps. I say this because, these things can be sold for money. Many people do not know what it is to truly be poor and have nothing. When my father was four years old, his father left his him, his mother, and his two year old sister around Christmas time. On Christmas eve, they were evicted. They couldn't take any of their stuff with them, and they literally had nothing, and no place to go. /They/ were poor. /They/ needed food stamps. People who can afford to even /own/ (and make payments on) Blackberries and expensive trucks and jewelery are not poor. Just because the government doesn't count every little thing you own when checking to see if you qualify for food stamps etc. doesn't make it right to get those stamps when you have other things you could be falling back on, like selling you truck, and getting a cheaper one, for example. Or selling your Blackberry, so you don't have to pay for it anymore. If you haven't done those things, you're not poor yet, and you're taking money that is meant for people who really really need it, who have absolutely no other options. People like this make me sick. They steal from the needy and don't think it's wrong because they just see it as stealing from the government.

Also, I feel like I should say, I'm not trying to dis anyone who commented here or anything. I'm just saying, it's kinda hard to justify having nice things and receiving aid from the government. Saying "I had it before" doesn't really do it. I feel like that post was kind-of harsh, but most people who go to these websites seem friendly, so I think you'll get what I'm saying. I just don't like the idea of some kids going hungry while some middle-class yuppies cheat the system.

You said she pulled food stamps out of her purse, but it's 2009 and food stamps are on a debit card, so how could you tell that it was a food stamps card? Or am I wrong about there only being cards now? I'm not trying to say that you're lying; I just don't know what "pulling out food stamps" would look like that would make it obvious what it was.

lol,...this post is cracking me up. We are managers of our resources. Anyway you look at it, it's an abuse. If she needed the food stamps then putting on airs like she was, was wrong. If she didn't need them, then she's hurting others that do need them and go without. If a multi millionaire was to move into an impoverished community and not do anything to help his surroundings, it's an abuse. I'm not a bible beater, nor am I a communist. But we are the human race, if in fact we are the dominating force on this planet, we need to start acting like it.

Thank you so much for posting this. I used to be a cashier in a grocery store and I saw this all the time. My favorite example was a woman who came through the line with some baby food and a bunch of overpriced food from the deli. She tried to pay for the baby food with a WIC (government program for mothers of young children) but we couldn't take it because it was expired. She ended up putting the baby formula back but paid for all the deli food with cash.

I used to give everyone the benefit of the doubt too, until I started working for a local non-profit credit counseling service. A local church gave us $1500 each quarter to help our clients pay bills like utilities. Somehow it got out on the local grapevine that we had that money. The first couple of days of every quarter we would be inundated with people looking for help. I will say that most of them were legitimate, but I will never forget one woman who came in asking us to pay her mortgage of $275 for that month. She had one of those mortgages that was based on her income and not what the house was worth. She was wearing a designer, silk pantsuit, Nike athletic shoes, carrying a coach bag, had on several gold necklaces, and bracelets and drove up in an almost new Lincoln, and had a very nice manicure. She told me that her purse had been stolen out of her car and that all her money had been in it. She had no police report, and the story had all kinds of details, and the more she told me the less belivable it was. I didn't give her the money, but I did refrain from giveing her the address of the pawn shop up the street with the suggestion that she go pawn some of the jewelry. And yes, the chains were real, I have one real gold chain and I can see the difference between it an my costume jewelry.

I am a full time college student and work two jobs. I also cannot afford to buy food and pay all of my bills. I have been struggling for months now and I have sold nearly everything I own to pay rent over the past year. I own a Blackberry. It's my only phone (no house phone) and because I'm rarely home I need it to keep in touch with my employers. I got it for free when my contract ran out & I renewed. I also own a Coach purse. A friend gave it to me because she had tried to sell it and no one would buy it. I have since tried to sell it, and people offered me ridiculously low amounts for it. I am on food stamps. I thank my lucky stars for them every time I open my fridge and can feed myself. You are not aware of everyone's personal situation. If someone was trying to pay for video games or movies or something of that nature with food stamps, that would be one thing-- but as long as they are using their food stamps for their intended use, is there really a problem here? Maybe she has a job (yes, people on food stamps CAN have jobs.) that requires her to "PUT ON AIRS" as you say. Appearances can be very important in certain lines of work. That's not to say her phone/nails/purse weren't a gift.

@Beezer- I used to see stuff like that when I worked at the local pharmacy. People would scream at us about how they couldn't afford their $1 co-pays on their prescriptions, then come back a few hours later and buy $20 worth of lotto tickets. It was ridiculous.

To Matredlia and Mouse: That's what Student Loans are for. Its really sad that you guys enjoy your luxuries and take from the system just because you probably think you are too good for a student loan. There are children who are starving and cant get food stamps, who don't even know what a Coach purse looks like. They deserve the help more than you guys.

@pendulum: Student Loans need to be paid off at some point, it is not smart to load yourself up with them because they can be difficult to pay off in the future, especially if there is interest added to it. A phone today is not a luxury, but more of a necessity for those living in the real world. People need them because as Mouse said, a cell phone is the only way to contact employers, so that they can hopefully get a job and get out of the bad situation. Go watch The Pursuit of Happyness to get a better understanding of why some poor/underprivileged people need some material things to stay afloat, hopefully it will open your eyes.

I can relate to your feelings but I would not be quick to judge. Her misfortune could be recent which would explain her nice things and perhaps someone who loves her paid to have her nails done to make her day.

Yeah, I thought this MMT's intention was people priorities. Phones are near necessary in today's age, and why not have a Blackberry. Some people with little money, will make sacrifices, to at least look like they don't have little money.

Pendulum: That's ridiculous and completely unfair. Who said I don't have student loans? And what makes you think I'm "too good" for a student loan? They don't pay for rent, bills, gas, a car, and food, you know. And how insulting to imply that one human being deserves food more than another one does. Like I said before, my blackberry was FREE. Why is it sad that I enjoy a FREE luxury? Did you miss the part where I SOLD ALL OF MY BELONGINGS to make ends meet? Or how about the part where I work two jobs?! You're telling me I don't deserve to eat because of a free phone? Either you have a reading comprehension problem or you're just plain slimy. Take a walk in other peoples shoes before you judge them, you have no IDEA what other peoples lives are like.

I'm going to play devil's advocate. Did anyone think for a second that the people who have these luxury items, are more likely the one's who are paying the taxes that contribute to the government's fund to afford food stamps for the indigent. Because of this reasoning, i think it's probably more fair for the people who have initially contributed to this fund to receive it's benefits before having to sell their "luxury" items. Also, the confidence that lady must have to pay with food stamps while rocking LV monogram and chirpin at her babygurl cross town wif her acrylics is beyond hilarious! Honestly i would pay to see that! hahah On a side note, coach is NOT a luxury item.

And the crowds asked, 'What then should we do?' In reply he said to them, 'Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.' (Luke 3:10-11) I don't blame people like Mouse because they're the ones who just need a little help to get by, who need it as they try to better themselves. I doubt Pendulum has ever tried to sell or trade in a vehicle - a car is a lifeline. Sometimes you don't get anywhere near its actual value back, and you need several thousand dollars still to replace it for something cheaper and probably unreliable. A car would be the last thing I'd sell if I knew my situation was a momentary upset.

How many nice things should poor people be allowed?

It's sad what emphasis is put on in our lives.

I just really wanted to add in my 2 cents here because in about 7 months i will be receiving food stamps. Before you judge though, I will also be working for Americorps. I will still have the nice things that I have now and that have worked my butt off for (working 3 jobs and being a full time student on scholarship because thats the only way I could even imagine going to school), but I will be receiving a living stipend to pay my rent and utilities during my time with Americorps along with food stamps for groceries since I will be working around 50 hours a week and will be unable to get another job. So, yes, I will probably go into a grocery store with my nice clothes and shoes with my nice purse that I have worked extra jobs to afford and pull out my food stamps to pay for groceries because I am spending my time working a government program to help improve our country. So, before anyone judges and assumes that someone is abusing the system, perhaps think that maybe they arent. Ignorance and judgement are two very ugly things to use as weapons guys.

Sometimes, there are people a described in these comments who just happen to still have nice things. The sad thing is, this isn't always the case. My friend's mother is an active volunteer in a program that will pay one bill of your choice for the month. She will pay off someone's heating bill for the month, and that person will then pull out their iPhone and their keys to their brand new Escalade. I don't live in the best neighborhood, and a lot of my neighbors have really nice phones and expensive cars. I don't assume they are abusing the system, I assume that they don't have their priorities straight. My friend's mother runs into so many people who feel entitled and aren't even grateful for her generosity. Once again, this is not everyone who is this way. There are people who work very hard for what they have, and need a little help making ends meet. I just know that if I were having money troubles, I would not buy a brand new car.

I have nice things because my parents paid for them. I was (rightly) cut off after dropping out of college. I live pay check to pay check now and still wear my nice clothes because I have to dress up for my job. I work in a men's clothing store where we're paid minimum wage+a commission-like bonus that isn't very much. Her LV is probably fake. I've had assistance to pay for my electric bill. Think before you Judge.

I have nice things because my parents paid for them. I was (rightly) cut off after dropping out of college. I live pay check to pay check now and still wear my nice clothes because I have to dress up for my job. I work in a men's clothing store where we're paid minimum wage+a commission-like bonus that isn't very much. Her LV is probably fake. I've had assistance to pay for my electric bill. Think before you Judge.

that's so unfair to judge someone, there could have been so many explanations for that, they may have been presents, the purse may have been fake, the nails could have been done by a friend of family member. just because people appear to have material things may not mean they've gone out and spent their money on them.

my guess is that her fake nails were cheap & her bag was a knockoff, & does her best to look nice to blend in with the world. she probably just doesn't want to look poor, & tries to play the part of looking rich. but who knows.

Heard this fable way too many times to keep taking the insinuation seriously. This only makes me think of how superficial people can be.

Some people, are just a waste.

I just wanted to add, that some people do not qualify for student loans or fafsa. For instance if your parents are wealthy and refuse to help pay for school or to even cosign a loan with you. You're outta luck. Like its been stated many times, every situation is different and we can give some peole the benefit of the doubt even while the vast majority do not deserve it because they feed off the system. It seem's like everyone is basing their opinions off of what they think is "normal" or what should be done and are not looking at the extreme cases which are very hard to see. On the other hand, most cases are not extreme and deserve to scrutinized. Take your pick, its your choice based on who you are.

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