In case you found yourself in an embarrassing situation today, I thought I’d share this little story. So you know you are not alone.
If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that we have been having huge financial difficulties, and you most likely know that we qualify for food stamps and are very grateful to be receiving some help from that each month.
So food stamps aren’t called food stamps anymore. Now it’s called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).
And when you are on SNAP, you get a debit card, and you swipe it just like a credit card at the grocery store.
This card is called an EBT card, which stands for Electronic Benefit Transfer.
Nobody would know you were using a SNAP card unless someone were to say something.
When you use the EBT card at Costco, you have to tell the cashier first, because they have to enter it differently or press a different button or something.
So yesterday I was at Costco with Numbers 3, 4, 5,6, and 7, and I was in the checkout line.
It was Sunday morning, and that place gets pretty crowded on Sundays.
We are at the end of the month, and we didn’t have much money left on our card. I knew I was going to have to pay for some of what I had gotten with cash.
I didn’t keep very close track of the total for what I had gotten in my cart, and I wasn’t sure what the balance left on the card was. I knew approximately, but not exactly.
So after swiping my card, it became evident that I was going to be about $25 short.
I told the cashier that I didn’t have enough money and asked her if I could take a couple things off the total.
She said sure, and proceeded to take the laundry detergent and two gallons of milk off the bill.
But the system wouldn’t let her. Something about how the EBT card works.
I had no idea that would be the case.
So the cashier called over her manager.
At the top of her lungs.
“I NEED SOME HELP. THIS LADY GAVE ME HER SNAP CARD AND IT DOESN’T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY ON IT,” she said to her manager, or whoever he was.
“What’s the problem?” he asked her.
“SHE USED HER EBT CARD,” she told him, loudly enough for everyone in the parking lot to hear.
I looked for a hole to crawl into, but I couldn’t find one.
The lady in line behind me was sandwiched between me and the person behind her.
She gave me the up and down multiple times. She sighed heavily. Repeatedly.
I had a big bag of M&M’s in my cart because we were restocking our trail mix jars.
I tried to return those. And then the kids kind of lost it.
Number 6 and 7 started crying.
“NO MOMMY! DON’T TAKE OUR M&M’s! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!AAAAAAHHHHH”
Number 4 started asking questions.
“MOM! WHAT THE HECK IS A SNAP CARD? WHY DO YOU HAVE A SNAP CARD???”
It was then that Number 5 realized she had a molar coming in through her gums, and she was convinced that her gums were falling apart.
“MOMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYY!!! SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH MY MOUTH! MY GUMS ARE FLAPPING AROUND!! AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!”
So I was the lady on food stamps without enough money to pay for her bill with five out of control kids who were clinging to a bag of M&M’s for dear life, screaming and crying hysterically.
I like to try and dispel the stereotypes.
But yesterday, I think I definitely strengthened them.
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