There are some dirty people out in America. To wit:
The federal Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program gives food assistance to families who cannot afford nourishing food for young children. This assistance comes in the form of a voucher for specific items, such as milk, cheese or formula and looks like a check, thus the term "WIC check." Wal-Mart, as a retailer, made the decision to accept WIC checks. I wish they never had.
Read previous posts from here and here for more on the troubles of WIC.
Women who have nursing infants can get a WHOLE BUNCH of baby formula on WIC. Especially if the child is having trouble with breast milk. As anyone who has ever had a child knows, formula is expensive.
Thus, what some mothers do is to buy the maximum amount of formula they can get on a WIC check for several months and then try to return it all at once so they don't get hit with the "Three returns w/no receipt and that's it for one year" rule.
The problems with this is that it is illegal to return items purchased on WIC. WIC items that are defective or out of date may be exchanged for non-defective products. Nothing else. So then we usually get a mother who's been busted at a scheme who now has a mountain of formula that's no good to her.
This scene played out Saturday.
This woman rolled up with some sisters and about four kids, all under ten. That double-wide must be popping at the seams. She goes "I want to return some formula."
OK. "Do you have your receipt?" "No, but the formula makes him sick." And that has exactly what to do with the current state of having a receipt?
So she starts taking cans and cartons of formula out of this bag. Five. Ten. FIFTEEN. TWENTY. One more. And then one more. She goes "This one was dented. You don't want to put that one back. It might explode under pressure." Just like your uterus?
By the time I total up all this formula, it is $155 and change. I'm real blase about this, because I know that someone has to approve it because she doesn't have a receipt, and I won't have to deal with her. I punch in the driver license, and then a supervisor comes over.
"What's with all this formula?" She starts explaining that she doesn't want it. "OK," he goes, "did you have the receipt?" She answers in the negative.
"Well, we don't take formula back. We only exchange formula for formula."
She looks at him with a dumb look. Obviously, she just proved my theory that she quite school to start having babies before she passed eighth grade English.
"So what are you telling me?" she bleats. I can actually almost see the wheels turning as she tries to figure out what to do with all this formula.
I pick up the conversational ball now. "You said that this formula made him sick. Obviously, you would like to get formula that does not make him sick, right?"
That doesn't go down well. I figure she'd already spent that $155 on beer, ciggies and potato chips. "So you're telling me I have to get $155 worth of formula? What kind of crap is that?"
My supervisor goes "Unless you can provide the receipt for this formula, that's all we can do. Now do you want to take this formula home or do you want to exchange it for some more formula?"
When she came back, she did have more formula, but she didn't go to me, she went to someone else, who TOLD HER THE SAME THING. She argued AGAIN and another supervisor came up, looked at the formula, said "Exchange it or put it in a bag and give it back to her" and walked away.