Friday, June 29, 2007

Dear Food Stamp Lady

Hi. Yes, you remind me a lot of my grandmother. And all the sweet precious old ladies who worked at the cafeteria where I went to elementary school. But really? Somebody need to mail you a clue.

Yes, I know it is a tragedy that you didn't get your $1.37 bottle of Lipton Iced Tea that you said you paid for. Yes, I'm sorry for giving you an "I don't quite believe you look." Old lady scammers are the oldest game in the book. Even for $1.37.

You see ma'am, these bottles of tea are sold in the coolers right next to the checkouts. So the journey from cooler to checkout was about 10 feet. Most people grab a tea and then drink it on the way out. I still don't understand how you managed to "loose" a bottle of iced tea in six minutes.

Also, you paid for the tea using your EBT card (Food Stamps). So you see, if you want a refund, I can't give you cash. Right here, this was your opportunity to say "Can I go get another tea?" I also explained "Ma'am, because you used EBT, I have to put this back on your EBT card." Again, the phrase "back on the card" should have tripped something in that bird-figurine-collecting brain and made you utter something about your wants/needs/intentions.

So I do your refund. I thank you and hand your card back. "Where's my money?" is not generally a socially acceptable response. Especially as we went through this already about how you weren't going to get cash.

Another thing. Picking right now -- when I've finished the transaction and hand you the refund slip to sign -- to tell me "I just wanted another tea" is a bad plan. Really. This is what you should have started the conversation with. Do you really need all that cat food too?

I don't have a crystal ball. I am not possessing of the mind-reader skills. And I sure can't divine what tiny old women in black shawls and orthopedic shoes want when they thrust a bony hand and a receipt into my face and then don't say three words for the next four minutes. Do you really need all that cat food too?

Really. Old people. They talk too much when you don't want them to and won't speak when you need background music.


Anonymous said...

Hahahaha, OMG that is soooo true. I hate then when it happens at my Service Desk at the Tar-J too. Great posts!

Anonymous said...

i used to have people pay for crap all the time with EBT cards. one would think that if they didn't have enough money, and have to get money from the gocernment to help pay for their food, they'd buy something sensible. not 20 bags of chips for that party they're throwing.

Anonymous said...

I've worked in grocery stores a very long time. In the old days (I was just a lil' bagger then) when food stamps came in actual booklets of paper monopoly money, we use to get kids in buying a 25¢ bag of chips or pack of wriggles gum, they would pay with a $1 food stamp there was no food stamp change, so they got 75¢ in change back. I would see the same kids 4 and 5 times a day some times more! then in the evenings there parents would come in and buy there smokes(newports) and a 40oz. of some malt liquor. I would get tips in food stamps to for loading cars too!

Anonymous said...

The government switched to the card to avoid the change gathering and transfer between people for cash (among other reasons) but for the most addicted of users it mande things worse for the kids. I speak from semi-personal experience here; I had a friend with two kids offer to buy me $60 in food with their card if I gave them $30 for cigarettes -- I said no. I'm not fooling myself, I know she got what she wanted and the kids went with a little less food but I won't have to live with the knowledge I took it from them.

luckycanucky said...

Sorry, gotta play a "grammar snob" card. You meant "lose" not "loose". Although perhaps her tea got loose and ran away from her without her realizing it until later...

I'm familiar with the mind reading expectation, though. I help out at the fitting room when it's frantic and have often hung or put away the jumble left on the counter because no one bothered to tell me that bundle of rags we call 725 merchandise was somebody's "keeper pile".

Best was the day I found a cart on the floor filled with infants stuff and house goods and fish in a baggy. The cart was there unattended for a while before I thought to see what was in it. When I discovered the fish, I quickly rolled the whole thing to the courtesy desk and then called a pet person to get the fish. Who knew how long they'd been in the bag already? 10 minutes after this, irate customer comes looking for her cart. I told what I did with it and she wandered off - to complain to management. The Assistant Manager made me go get the woman's fish back. Like I'd somehow recognize that pair among their 40 friends. We picked a couple and got them bagged and the Ass.Man. came for the bag personally.

yoyo said...

Old people!
*flings arms in air*

Back when I worked at a health store (herbal laxaties and creatine) the number of time I'd get lip from some old baggage just because I'd ask her if she wanted a bag for her things (it was company policy to allways ask). One old cow once said "Well what do YOU think? I'll just break my arms carrying this stuff, shall I?" and I responded "well you'd be a terrible drain on the NHS no doubt, so I'll get you a bag.:)"

Cantankerous old people really ruin it for the nice oldies you occaisionaly get. It's a shame.

The Crutnacker said...

I remember being behind a rather attractive woman in line who was wearing really expensive looking clothes. She had baby formula and other items and was trying to pay with some sort of check. I assumed it was one of those checks that the baby formula companies send out, so I said, "Oh, are those the checks from the formula company?"

No, they were from WIC. I felt embarrassed for asking until I realized that this woman's outfit cost more an entire week's worthy of my clothes and I wasn't on public assistance.

Anonymous said...

Those WIC coupons are the worst. I went to apply when I had my first...I did it for three weeks, and I needed it! But it was such a pain and so embarassing. I will tell you that the parking lot for WIC is filled with Mercedes, Lexus and other expensive cars. I won't generalize here, because I really hate when people make generalizations, but honestly the white people were the minority and those people that rhyme with the work "bohemians" are the minority. It starts with an A. and yes they were the ones in the expensive cars and all this crappy, but probably real, gold jewelry all over them. And yes this is terrible to say, but damn it is so true.

High-Maintenance & Hostile Heidi said...

tI don't mind old people or disabled people who are on food stamps, but I despise the young, able-bodied ones! If you're able to have kid after kid out-of-wedlock, you're probably able to work and shouldn't be depending on government EBT cards and WIC!

In my area, there's an equal amount of white people and minorities on welfare. And they always think they're so gosh-darned important! I apologize for the tirade, but it really makes me irritated, especially since some people work two or three jobs -- some people even have to work at WAL-MART part-time! -- just to make ends meet.

DolfanDad said...

All you need is Michael Moore to make a documentary just sitting outside the WIC offices. That would definately be a movie I'd like to see! When he shoves a camera in his face and asks how can you afford a Lexus but not forumula and watch these people stumble for answers. it'd be great!