I walked over to the nearby convenience store and ended up in line, right behind a kid buying chips (for a grand total of $2.42).
It took him 15 minutes to pay for them.
Well he was paying with Lone Star (the Tx food stamp system). For some reason people who use Lone Star always take an inordinately long time to pay for their items. See they give you a little plastic card and a pin # so that you don't feel bad that you're actually using food stamps (even though the card is bright white and labelled "Lone Star" and everyone who sees it knows what it is... and usually cringes when they see you paying for something with it because no one who uses lone star seems to know how to use it). Not only does the government want to help people out, but they don't want them to feel bad about not being able to pay for their own food.
Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with accepting assistance when you need it. If someone somewhere is hardup for $$ and they're trying to raise their kids, and they need help, then more power to them.
- Don't send your fat little kid by himself to buy a big bag of potato chips from the local convenience store, feed him something healthy, take careof him and shop somewhere a little bit more economical. The kid couldn't even wait to get out of the convenience store before he ripped into the bag and started munching away as he walked home.
- If you do send him to buy something, make sure he knows the PIN # (that caused most of the delay yesterday).
- Make sure he possesses the manual dexterity needed to punch the PIN # into the keypad (it took him 4 tries to punch it in correctly even after he had it)
- Don't you dare buy your kid a cell phone.
That's right. The kid who was paying with food stamps had a cell phone. Not only that, but he had a fairly nice one too. That's what he used to call his mom and ask her for the PIN number. Apparently she had some trouble figuring out what a PIN number was and he has to ask her for it multiple times.
Oh, and I know, there are probably any number of reasonable explanations why a fat kid buying potato chips with food stamps at the convenience store would have a very nice cell phone on him, but having dealt with more than my share of people on public assistance over the years (most notably through our rental properties) I suspect that the cynical explanation is most likely right.
It's hard not to get down on public assistance programs when you frequently see people scamming them and being proud about it. Forget about being sneaky, people know that it's easy to rip off a lot of these programs and they're happy to do it. Most of the single moms that have ever rented from us and used housing assistance (where the city uses federal funds to pay between X-100% of their rent) have gone to great lenths to claim that the father of their kids left them and doesn't help them at all only to have him conveniently pop up and live with them all the time... except when the inspectors are coming around, and of course in the interest of their privacy, the inspector has to tell them well in advance that he's visiting on a certain day and this conveniently gives them a good chance to hide their boyfriend/husband and his stuff.
Eh, I'll stop, I'm just rambling now. Time to get some work done.