Sunday, August 20, 2006

Fraud with formula

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 WIC items that are defective or out of date may be exchanged for non-defective products.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.

Some people...

12 comments:

matt said...

that part about her story that i'm having the hardest time with is that she spent $150 on formula before knowing that it made her baby sick.

"So you're telling me I have to get $155 worth of formula? What kind of crap is that?" she just did, didn't she?

Lindsay said...

Oh, Goodness!!!
Some people and their half ass schemes to try and get extra money.... If they would put that much thought in how to use birth control properly maybe they would not be inthis situation!

Drew said...

Welfare causes future welfare recipients.

libblah said...

this is really sad. WIC is a saving grace for a lot of people, and people are going to abuse it instead of taking financial responsibility. there's a difference between needing a little help, and taking advantage of people. The WIC program is a good program and I can't believe people do stuff like this. Actually, I believe it, I just don't understand it.

Anonymous said...

wow, I used WIC and never behaved like that. I was grateful that I had it, because I never could have afforded that formula on my own. What is wrong with people?

Anonymous said...

I know she wouldn't get $150 for it but she probably got some money for it. This lady in my neighborhood came by one day to see if my sister wanted to buy some formula for half price from her that she couldn't return - my sister couldn't pass it up. We heard a few days later that the woman had gotten the maximum WIC formula and though she didn't get full price it was money she didn't have before. Next time we told her she would need to try someone else. My sister was just above the wage maximum to get WIC and we just knew that if people didn't abuse it she may have gotten the help that would have made all the difference in the world.

end of my rope said...

If she is returning the formula. What is she feeding her baby?

Anonymous said...

I think it's funny you knock her for not passing 8th grade English, yet you don't know how to spell quit!! Lol

Rachel Hickey said...

I have to use WIC and I am working on a Masters degree. I understand that most people see anyone receiving help as uneducated and a welfare case, but some of us struggle to find jobs that pay... Even with several degrees. It is sad that people who don't abuse the system get put in the same bracket a

Rachel Hickey said...

As the situation described above. But not all are dumb or trying to abuse the system that need some help.

Jessica Ontek said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I know this post is almost eleven years old (thanks tangentially related Google search) but you come across so judgmental and downright mean, I can't help but dislike you more than this scammer. Assuming the woman was using the money for cigarettes or beer just because she had several children and was on welfare is terribly rude- should I assume you're an uneducated hick because you work (worked?) at Wal-Mart? She could've needed to use that money for rent or medical bills or clothes for her children or just a multitude of other things your tiny,condemnatory and dare I assume racist mind could just not comprehend.

I write this knowing you've probably long ago abandoned this blog, or maybe gotten a new job, or perhaps died in a fire, but to be honest, I don't care. And I also realize this comment won't change how you feel- or felt- about this person, though maybe, just maybe, it'll encourage you to have a touch more compassion for your fellow man instead of jumping to unfair conclusions.


-a fellow retail employee.