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JUDGING FOOD STAMPS


A grocery store check-out clerk once wrote to advice-columnist Ann Landers to complain that she had seen people buy "luxury" food items--like birthday cakes and bags of shrimp--with their food stamps. The writer went on to say that she thought all those people on welfare who treated themselves to such non-necessities were "lazy and wasteful." A few weeks later Landers' column was devoted entirely to people who had responded to the grocery clerk. One woman wrote: "I didn’t buy a cake, but I did buy a big bag of shrimp with food stamps. So what? My husband had been working at a plant for fifteen years when it shut down. The shrimp casserole I made was for our wedding anniversary dinner and lasted three days. Perhaps the grocery clerk who criticized that woman would have a different view of life after walking a mile in my shoes." Another woman wrote: "I’m the woman who bought the $17 cake and paid for it with food stamps. I thought the check-out woman in the store would burn a hole through me with her eyes. What she didn’t know is the cake was for my little girl’s birthday. It will be her last. She has bone cancer and will probably be gone within six to eight months."

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