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Offline Doc

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Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« on: December 14, 2011, 05:56:51 AM »
My Time at Walmart: Why We Need Serious Welfare Reform

December 13, 2011 By crousselle 379 Comments


During the 2010 and 2011 summers, I was a cashier at Wal-Mart #1788 in Scarborough, Maine. I spent hours upon hours toiling away at a register, scanning, bagging, and dealing with questionable clientele. These were all expected parts of the job, and I was okay with it. What I didnt expect to be part of my job at Wal-Mart was to witness massive amounts of welfare fraud and abuse.
 
I understand that sometimes, people are destitute. They need help, and they accept help from the state in order to feed their families. This is fine. It happens. Im not against temporary aid helping those who truly need it. What I saw at Wal-Mart, however, was not temporary aid. I witnessed generations of families all relying on the state to buy food and other items.  I literally witnessed small children asking their mothers if they could borrow their EBT cards. I once had a man show me his welfare card for an ID to buy alcohol. The man was from Massachusetts. Governor Michael Dukakis signature was on his welfare card. Dukakis last gubernatorial term ended in January of 1991. I was born in June of 1991. The man had been on welfare my entire life. Thats not how welfare was intended, but sadly, it is what it has become.
 
Other things witnessed while working as a cashier included:
 
a) People ignoring me on their iPhones while the state paid for their food. (For those of you keeping score at home, an iPhone is at least $200, and requires a data package of at least $25 a month. If a person can spend $25+ a month so they can watch YouTube 24/7, I dont see why they cant spend that money on food.)
 
b) People using TANF (EBT Cash) money to buy such necessities such as earrings, kitkat bars, beer, WWE figurines, and, my personal favorite, a slip n slide. TANF money does not have restrictions like food stamps on what can be bought with it.
 
c) Extravagant purchases made with food stamps; including, but not limited to: steaks, lobsters, and giant birthday cakes.
 
d) A man who ran a hotdog stand on the pier in Portland, Maine used to come through my line. He would always discuss his hotdog stand and encourage me to come visit him for lunch some day. What would he buy? Hotdogs, buns, mustard, ketchup, etc. How would he pay for it? Food stamps. Either that man really likes hotdogs, or the state is paying for his business. Not okay.
 
The thing that disturbed me more than simple cases of fraud/abuse was the entitled nature of many of my customers. One time, a package of bell peppers did not ring up as food in the computer. After the woman swiped her EBT card, it showed a balance that equaled the cost of the peppers. The woman asked what the charge was, and a quick glance at the register screen showed that the peppers did not ring up as food. (Food items had the letter F next to their description.) The woman immediately began yelling at me, saying that, Its food! You eat it!
 
This wasnt the only time things like this happened: if a persons EBT balance was less than they thought it would be, or if their cards were declined, it was somehow my fault. I understand the situation is stressful, but a person should be knowledgeable about how much money is in their account prior to going grocery shopping. EBT totals are printed on receipts, and every cell phone has a calculator function. Theres no excuse, and theres no reason to yell at the cashier for it.
 
The worst thing I ever saw at Wal-Mart Scarborough was two women and their children. These women each had multiple carts full of items, and each began loading them at the same time (this should have been a tip-off to their intelligence levels). The first woman, henceforth known as Welfare Queen #1, paid for about $400 worth of food with food stamps. The majority of her food was void of any nutritional value. She then pulled out an entire months worth of WIC (Women, Infants, and Children program) checks. I do not mind people paying with WIC, but the woman had virtually none of the correct items. WIC gives each participating mother a book containing actual images of items for which a person can and cannot redeem the voucher. This woman literally failed at image comprehension.
 
After redeeming 10+ WIC checks, Welfare Queen #1 had me adjust the prices of several items she was buying (Wal-Marts policy is to just adjust the price of the item without question if its within a dollar or two). She then pulled out a vacuum cleaner, and informed me that the cost of the vacuum was $3.48 because, thats what its labeled as. The vacuum cleaner was next to a stack of crates that were $3.48. Somehow, every other customer was able to discern that the vacuum cleaner was not $3.48, but Welfare Queen #1 and her friend Welfare Queen #2 were fooled. Welfare Queen #2 informed me that she used to work for Wal-Mart, and that the laws of Wal-Mart legally said that I would have to sell her the vacuum for $3.48. After contacting my manager, who went off to find the proper vacuum price, Welfare Queen #1 remarked that it must be tough to stand on a mat all day and be a cashier. I looked at her, smiled, shrugged, and said, Well, its a job. She was speechless. After they finally admitted defeat, (not before Welfare Queen #2 realizing she didnt have enough money to buy all of the food she had picked out, resulting in the waste of about $200 worth of products) the two women left about an hour and a half after they arrived at my register. The next man in line said that the two women reminded him of buying steel drums and cement. I said I was reminded why I vote Republican.
 
Maine has a problem with welfare spending. Maine has some of the highest rates in the nation for food stamp enrollment, Medicaid, and TANF. Nearly 30% of the state is on some form of welfare. Maine is the only state in the nation to rank in the top two for all three categories. This is peculiar, as Maines poverty rate isnt even close to being the highest in the nation. The system in Maine is far easier to get into than in other states, and it encourages dependency. When a person makes over the limit for benefits, they lose all benefits completely. There is no time limit and no motivation to actually get back to work. Furthermore, spending on welfare has increased dramatically, but there has been no reduction of the poverty rate. Something is going terribly wrong, and the things I saw at work were indicators of a much larger problem. Something must change before the state runs out of money funding welfare programs.
 
Christine Rousselle // Providence College // @Crousselle
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong
enough to take everything you have.   -- Thomas Jefferson

Offline Till-Hill

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2011, 07:49:54 AM »
Seen a guy at my local town grocery store buying food and he sent the kid to go grab some dog food but couldn't find any cash and he couldn't buy dog food with food stamps he just got him steaks instead.

Offline vanridge

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2011, 08:22:49 AM »
All the people that abuse the system make it that much harder on the people who really need it, but wish they didn't.
Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you cows... and that's pretty much the same thing.

Offline Big M Show Cattle

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2011, 12:15:38 PM »
Welfare system in the US is a joke, coming from a police officer. I use to work as an officer in St. Louis Missouri prior to moving to Wyoming and still an officer here. I don't know how many times people would offer me food stamps at half cost, $20 worth of food stamps for $10 cash etc and they stand outside the grocery store and do the sales cause of course they can buy the liquor and tobacco with the cash that they can't with the food stamps. Now this was before they went to the food stamp card, now they still do the same for people only they buy the groceries show the receipt to the person and the person gives them half the value in cash, win win situation for dishonest people, the guy gets money to buy alcohol or what ever and the other person gets groceries at half price or less. I have seen this alot.

Then the other part of welfare that is a joke is unemployment. Which they can spend on what ever they want. Why work when you can get unemployment, food stamps plus low income housing, that us tax payers pay for all of this. The more people that start taking advantage of this system, our taxes will go up, like a bumper sticker I read once "Keep working, millions on welfare depend on us". That is sad but so true and just makes me mad, wish these politicians would grow some ..... you know what I mean and do something about it.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2011, 12:24:21 PM by Big M Show Cattle »
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Offline rarebirdz

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2011, 02:07:19 PM »
All the people that abuse the system make it that much harder on the people who really need it, but wish they didn't.

I agree completly those that abuse the system  make it triply hard for some1 in need

Offline outspoken

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2011, 02:16:18 PM »
thoughts on manditory drug testing for these recips???  Would that cut it in half?  Or break the black market?

Offline chambero

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2011, 02:30:48 PM »
You can find any affliction known to mankind at any trip to a Wal Mart.  Elimination of the scooters there would take a big chunk out of adult obesity due to the increase in exercise.

However, the amount of money we spend on welfare programs in this country isn't that much compared to the cost of Medicare and Social Security programs.  When we got it right in this country was during the Depression when our welfare programs involved employment of people through programs such as the WPA and the Civilian Conservation Corps.  I wish we could get back to those kinds of programs to help people.  It would make them feel better about themselves to be doing something useful vs. sitting home poor, depressed, and hopeless.

Offline oakview

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2011, 03:01:24 PM »
The crap described in earlier posts is unfortunately not isolated.  When you have generations of politicians relying on the welfare state they have created to stay in office, this is what happens.  It won't be too long before the demands of the leaches will surpass the ability of the taxpayers to subsidize them, if it hasn't happened already.  By the way, I heard on the radio earlier today that when Blago goes to prison next spring, he will be the fourth Illinois governor in jail.  What an accomplishment!  Makes me happy when I think that our President came from there, too.  I guess I should be thankful I don't live in Chicago.  I'm sure their new mayor will add to the illustrious tradition of Illinois politicians.

Offline nate53

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2011, 05:42:53 PM »
( I think?) Welfare started out with good intentions (helping people that actually wanted to or were working that could not afford neccessities of life - food, water, etc.).  But this program started with a few bad apples and has been snow balling for years and years and still getting bigger.  Generations of people  have been taught to work (take advantage) of the system, its always someone elses fault, they are always the victim (taught my mommy and daddy etc.).  THey can't pay their heating bills or buy food but have cable, nice vehicle, internet, cell phones, plenty of facebook time, multiple kids,etc.  Then you got all of these non profit organizations advertising year around accepting donations of money, etc. ( they get massive amounts of money) all supposedly for the poor, innocent, disabled, elderly.   But it seem a huge percentage of it goes to non working and has no desire to work (why should they when everybody else will supply for them).  Most of the people taking advantage of this and other systems are families (if you can't take care of yourself and spouse why keep having kids-tax breaks?).   Don't get me wrong there are people out there that need help and I would be happy to help where I could (but want them to genuinely need help).  Most of us do get and need help at some point in life, (family, friends).  We need to encourage working not the opposite! ???  A one size fits all welfare program by the government  just does not work.
My post are just my opinion.

Offline hamburgman

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2011, 08:08:13 PM »
I have never seen data that proves that mandatory drug testing for welfare saves the state any money.  Also why draw the line at welfare checks? Shouldn't people who get government contracts be subjected to the same rules? It would still be my tax dollars going to support a habit that is illegal right?

Offline dare3324

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2011, 08:26:12 PM »
I truly believe that charity needs to be left to Family, friends, and the church. Anything else seperates the donator and the recipient which makes for a lack of gratitude and the donator also loses out on the good feeling of helping someone in need. Both are equally important I think to a good life.

Offline knabe

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2011, 08:38:13 PM »
i know of a test that can tell if people smoke.

what would you do with it.

Offline Doc

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2011, 08:42:44 PM »
I have never seen data that proves that mandatory drug testing for welfare saves the state any money.  Also why draw the line at welfare checks? Shouldn't people who get government contracts be subjected to the same rules? It would still be my tax dollars going to support a habit that is illegal right?

I didn't realize there were any states that required drug testing for welfare. I would be for it 100%. Like people have said before , most people have to take a drug test to get a job to earn their pay so why shouldn't someone have to take one to get free money & food.
A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong
enough to take everything you have.   -- Thomas Jefferson

Offline Freddy

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2011, 09:14:18 PM »
We are teaching our people that they are entitled to a good life from the governmwent and it is depleting the supply of people whio work to pay for it ...

Offline hamburgman

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Re: Welfare Aid Abuse!! A Good Read. N/C
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2011, 10:04:39 PM »
States have tried it in the past, usually got shot down in the courts over time though.  Florida, Kentucky I believe and another state enacted laws along those lines this year.  It is fine if you want to have mandatory testing, but you have to be willing to take children away, and be honest about it costing the state money to do the testing and not saving the state any money.

 

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