Author Topic: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"  (Read 12380 times)

lithy

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Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« on: April 16, 2014, 05:57:23 AM »
Maybe a couple "air bunnies" will set this topic off like the "starving" NCAA players.  ;)

I'm sure many of you have seen the following story passed around on facebook and the like, my wife showed it to me a couple weeks ago.  I had an instant reaction, but decided to wait and see if my opinion changed over time.  It hasn't, so I'm submitting it here, for validation or rebuttal.  For the purposes of this argument, I am not making a single statement about EBT/Food Stamps, only that she says she is desperately in need at the grocery store and unable to pay for the groceries she has selected.

https://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/mom-grateful-for-stranger-who-paid-for-family-groceries---you-didn-t-judge-163003709.html

Now, my concern is not with a stranger who kindly offered to pay for a random persons purchase.  I don't know anything about them, and while I generally don't look to make purchases for strangers, I do like to cover a random restaurant bill or something similar for friends or family when I can. 

My strongest reaction was to reading this story, then looking at the grocery receipt. 



It made me understand the people that say they spend 1000 a month on groceries while also eating out a few times a week.  There is so little of any actual nutritional value on the list.  I don't think this is anything more than a one time snack and an expensive snack at that.  I feel as if this woman didn't need $17 and the ability to walk out the door with that junk (bananas excepted).   Stranger should have said, here is $17, now come with me, we're going to get you some actual food, let's start by putting away the Altoids.

Maybe I'm being too harsh.

Fishingmn

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2014, 06:11:06 AM »
"Maybe I'm being too harsh."

The point of the story is that the stranger gave freely without judging her. I don't think that has changed in the past couple weeks and would encourage you to view it in that way.

We are all fallible.

johnintaiwan

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2014, 08:03:46 AM »
I also say this is bullshit. The $17 could have gone to much much better use. I know that it would probably go much farther in other countries, or to those who were truly poor, but come on. It is not even close to a responsible use of the desperately needed food money.

I am fighting the urge to turn this into a rant about food stamps/ebt.

tomsang

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2014, 08:23:08 AM »
I saw that last week and thought the same thing. It is clear that a large portion of the population have not been taught what quality food is by their parents or peers.  I think that this is a case where the government needs to break the cycle by educating kids from kindergarten through high school. I also think that the government needs to teach financial and sex Ed. It is clear that there is a problem and I/we are paying for it so I think it justifies an intrusion in their "upbringing" or family education.

GuitarStv

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2014, 09:00:30 AM »
Hmm . . . original list:

Go-gurt special edition (8x64g tubes = 512g) - 3.19
Sargento String Cheese (340g packages) - 4.99
Snapple Peach Tea - 1.00
Altoids Peppermints - 2.09
Bottled Apple Juice - 3.99
Banana - 1.90

Revised list (using Canadian prices which are usually more expensive):
Yogurt in a tub, 650ml - 1.99
Cheese, 700g - 4.99
Snapple Peach Tea - dumb
Altoids Peppermints - dumb
Apple juice from concentrate (makes about 2L of juice) - 1.50 *
Banana - 1.90

* this is still a frivolous expense . . . if you're broke, you don't need to waste money on juice.  Drink water.

Tallying that up, it comes to about half what was actually spend (10.38$) for considerably more food.  I'd submit this as irrefutable proof that the person who was buying groceries is an idiot.


It's nice to help people in need.  I have no problem with the guy paying for this person's grocery bill.  I just think that the grocery bill is probably indicative of some rather large self inflicted financial problems.

Gin1984

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2014, 09:04:21 AM »
I saw that last week and thought the same thing. It is clear that a large portion of the population have not been taught what quality food is by their parents or peers.  I think that this is a case where the government needs to break the cycle by educating kids from kindergarten through high school. I also think that the government needs to teach financial and sex Ed. It is clear that there is a problem and I/we are paying for it so I think it justifies an intrusion in their "upbringing" or family education.
WIC has a requirement about taking a nutrition class in many states, however, like many things the funding for that class has been cut (at least in my state).   

Cpa Cat

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2014, 09:27:52 AM »
I saw that last week and thought the same thing. It is clear that a large portion of the population have not been taught what quality food is by their parents or peers.  I think that this is a case where the government needs to break the cycle by educating kids from kindergarten through high school. I also think that the government needs to teach financial and sex Ed. It is clear that there is a problem and I/we are paying for it so I think it justifies an intrusion in their "upbringing" or family education.

Alas, it won't reach this woman's kids. She homeschools them.

PMG

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2014, 09:30:39 AM »
It's awesome to see kindness among strangers. 

+1 on nutrition education.  WIC and headstart do some classes and in home stuff here. 

I work with low income families and see these kinds of choices every day.  It is so easy to get frustrated and angry, but in my experience that doesn't do anyone any good and we can loose sight of the positive aspects. 

One friend of mine "grew up in the projects."  Got pregnant in high school.  Graduated on time. Second kid now.  Meandering her way through college.  Spending Financial Aid on stupid crap.  All of her family lives government subsidized housing, except for one aunt who is seen as the oddball.  She found religion and married a guy from "outside."  Recently this friend was scraping together loose change in the car to buy a quart of milk at the gas station to go home and mix up the last of the instant mashed potatoes for the 5 year old.  She told her boyfriend.  "Don't worry, I've got $30 saved back to pay the internet tomorrow..." I wanted to scream...  nutrition, planning, priorities.... then she told me, "We made it a month without food stamps.... I just wanted to see if I could do it."

Every one in her family receives food stamps, and she has a goal that someday she won't. 

That is huge. 

So maybe $17 bucks on crap can help someone achieve that? 

I guess my point is that a lot of this is a mental hurdle.  Education.  Peer group.  Some people just lack the ability to think long term.  Even into the next day or next week.  I work with people who have grown up with three generations of welfare recipients.  Maybe a relative or friend has a steady job, but things are often cash, under the table and temporary.  It takes a lot to begin to think differently. 

 
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 09:37:24 AM by PMG »

Frankies Girl

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2014, 09:33:02 AM »
Everything is a brand name except the bananas... WTH? I wouldn't consider myself poor by any stretch of the imagination, and I don't buy brand name anything practically! They're paying extra for stupid marketing and advertising. Store brand stuff is often made at the same factory, just labeled differently and priced less. SMH

It was sweet of the guy to pay for this person's shopping, tho.

Gin1984

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2014, 09:42:56 AM »
It's awesome to see kindness among strangers. 

+1 on nutrition education. WIC and headstart do some classes and in home stuff here. 

I work with low income families and see these kinds of choices every day.  It is so easy to get frustrated and angry, but in my experience that doesn't do anyone any good and we can loose sight of the positive aspects. 

One friend of mine "grew up in the projects."  Got pregnant in high school.  Graduated on time. Second kid now.  Meandering her way through college.  Spending Financial Aid on stupid crap.  All of her family lives government subsidized housing, except for one aunt who is seen as the oddball.  She found religion and married a guy from "outside."  Recently this friend was scraping together loose change in the car to buy a quart of milk at the gas station to go home and mix up the last of the instant mashed potatoes for the 5 year old.  She told her boyfriend.  "Don't worry, I've got $30 saved back to pay the internet tomorrow..." I wanted to scream...  nutrition, planning, priorities.... then she told me, "We made it a month without food stamps.... I just wanted to see if I could do it."

Every one in her family receives food stamps, and she has a goal that someday she won't. 

That is huge. 

So maybe $17 bucks on crap can help someone achieve that? 

I guess my point is that a lot of this is a mental hurdle.  Education.  Peer group.  Some people just lack the ability to think long term.  Even into the next day or next week.  I work with people who have grown up with three generations of welfare recipients.  Maybe a relative or friend has a steady job, but things are often cash, under the table and temporary.  It takes a lot to begin to think differently. 

 
What state are you in, just out of curiosity?

ketchup

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2014, 10:07:32 AM »
Yeah that's pretty bad.  We spent considerably less than that last night to feed four hungry adults a hearty meal.  $4.50 meat, $0.80 rice, $3.5 veggies, $1 seasoning/sauce ingredients, $0.70 butter.  We could have almost doubled it for the cost of that textbook inefficient "grocery" trip.

EDIT: And this is for pastured meat, mostly organic produce, and fancy butter.  If we were on food stamps, there's no way we would have spent this much on groceries.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2014, 11:40:28 AM by ketchup »

Cassie

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2014, 11:02:14 AM »
I was a social worker for about 4 years and I can tell you that people need to be taught these things.  Most do not know how to shop smart.  Also if you decide to give-just give with a pure heart and no judgment.   

horsepoor

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2014, 11:49:32 AM »
I was a social worker for about 4 years and I can tell you that people need to be taught these things.  Most do not know how to shop smart.  Also if you decide to give-just give with a pure heart and no judgment.

Isn't giving always done with judgement?  Every time there is an opportunity to give, the person weighing the decision is judging whether it is a worthy cause or not.  What if the person was buying beer and cigarettes instead of "groceries"?  I know if I was in line behind someone who was not able to pay their grocery bill, I'd be more inclined to pay if they were attempting to buy real food, and not Altoids and Gogurt. 

galliver

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2014, 12:43:37 PM »
 She's really a lot closer in ideology to the clientele of this site than she's being made out to be.

According to this, her normal food budget is *less* than $2.77/pp/meal (I'm not counting the baby). This with a mind-blowing number of food restrictions due to allergies and celiac in the family (which would rule out some cheap/cheaper options). http://truestoriesofamidwestyankee.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/menu-planning-and-homeschool-2/ That's pretty good for most US families. And they *never* eat out which is more than many on this forum can say.

Maybe she got gogurt and string cheese because you could just throw them in a bag when taking 4 kids and a baby to the park without bothering with prep, spoons, etc. Maybe it made sense as a use of resources she (thought she) had. Because remember, she thought she could pay for it until the machine was down.

Which, for various reasons, could happen to anyone. My bf's mom recently posted that she went to the store and realized at the register she didn't have her wallet. She was going to walk home (5min) and grab it, but the person behind her picked up her bill. It was a nice thing to do in both people's cases. We should appreciate that.

johnintaiwan

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2014, 07:42:40 PM »
I saw that last week and thought the same thing. It is clear that a large portion of the population have not been taught what quality food is by their parents or peers.  I think that this is a case where the government needs to break the cycle by educating kids from kindergarten through high school. I also think that the government needs to teach financial and sex Ed. It is clear that there is a problem and I/we are paying for it so I think it justifies an intrusion in their "upbringing" or family education.
WIC has a requirement about taking a nutrition class in many states, however, like many things the funding for that class has been cut (at least in my state).   

WIC is a great program (at least in oregon) you get a list of exactly what you are allowed to purchase with brand restrictions. Basically it is milk, eggs, wheat bread, rice, beans, tuna, fruit, vegetables and cereal (whole grain, no sugary stuff). It is what food stamps should be, instead of giving them a set amount of money an letting people buy whatever they want, which in my opinion is soda and chips and candy and processed foods.

OldDogNewTrick

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2014, 12:15:44 PM »
Well, if the Frito-Lay lobby wasn't calling the shots in DC, maybe common sense would rule that EBT money should be used for staples and basics only. Eggs, milk, veggies, fruit, meat, beans, rice etc. If someone wants to feed themselves or their kids highly processed, nutritionally empty, high fructose corn syrup laden junk, they should finance that hobby personally, not ask the public to provide stuff that will lead to public health issues like obesity, type II diabetes, ADD, etc.

Stepping off soap box....

annann

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2014, 01:41:15 PM »
Some food stamps are sold so the money can be used "for whatever they want."  Making rules on the use of food stamps will not change what someone buys.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2014, 12:03:05 PM »
Wasn't there an article recently about how living in poverty produces the same stress and poor judgment-making than being chronically sleep deprived?  When I am tired, I buy shit at the grocery store too.  Yeah obviously this is not ideal but this is not the individual's fault, it's the failure of a system.  </end socialist rant>

Gin1984

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2014, 03:24:50 PM »
Some food stamps are sold so the money can be used "for whatever they want."  Making rules on the use of food stamps will not change what someone buys.
How exactly do you sell a EBT card?

Wolf_Stache

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2014, 03:42:46 PM »
Some food stamps are sold so the money can be used "for whatever they want."  Making rules on the use of food stamps will not change what someone buys.
How exactly do you sell a EBT card?

You don't sell the card - here is what I've seen happen:

You go to the grocery store with friend x, who has cash. You use your EBT card to buy the friend's groceries, and then once out of the store, friend X gives the EBT card owner they money they would have used for the groceries.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2014, 03:58:08 PM »
Some food stamps are sold so the money can be used "for whatever they want."  Making rules on the use of food stamps will not change what someone buys.
How exactly do you sell a EBT card?

You don't sell the card - here is what I've seen happen:

You go to the grocery store with friend x, who has cash. You use your EBT card to buy the friend's groceries, and then once out of the store, friend X gives the EBT card owner they money they would have used for the groceries.
I've seen people advertising their EBT cards at gas stations in some less affluent parts of NC. What do they do if the owner lies about the balance? I'm afraid to find out, because those ads are usually between "trade gun for motorcycle" and "we buy roadkill" classifieds.

warfreak2

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2014, 03:59:18 PM »
You go to the grocery store with friend x, who has cash. You use your EBT card to buy the friend's groceries, and then once out of the store, friend X gives the EBT card owner they money they would have used for the groceries.
The free market at work! (-:

Personally I think it's silly (and infantilising) to give people money and dictate what they can spend it on. If you want to make sure they have food, give them food. If you want to make sure they will spend money sensibly, teach them personal finance.

OldDogNewTrick

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2014, 07:42:42 AM »
Some food stamps are sold so the money can be used "for whatever they want."  Making rules on the use of food stamps will not change what someone buys.

I disagree. I'm a huge fan of the WIC program. This provides supplemental nutrition for pregnant and nursing moms and kids at risk. The food packages are based upon current guidelines provided by American Academy of Pediatrics with an emphasis on fresh veg and fruit, dairy, and fish.

Whatever you incentivize you get more of. Incentivize healthy eating vs incentivizing Dorritos.

warfreak2

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2014, 12:49:24 PM »
There's quite a bit of evidence that, if you have money and you want to use it to help people, the most effective way is often to just give it to them.

Gin1984

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #24 on: April 24, 2014, 01:24:24 PM »
There's quite a bit of evidence that, if you have money and you want to use it to help people, the most effective way is often to just give it to them.
That is a very interesting article.

LowER

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #25 on: April 24, 2014, 04:14:07 PM »
Who owns the granite countertop that the receipt is sitting on in the photo?

galliver

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #26 on: April 24, 2014, 04:47:07 PM »
Who owns the granite countertop that the receipt is sitting on in the photo?

Doesn't look shiny enough in the photo to be granite; might be granite-printed linoleum. Also the family is renting. Sometimes you get these luxury perks when you rent a place big enough for your 5 kids, I guess.

Threshkin

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2014, 04:38:18 PM »
The people in front of me at the grocery store had purchased some meat that was on sale, buy 2 get 1 free.  They had two.  The cashier told them about the sale and asked if she could go get them the free item.

"But I only want 2, do I have to get 3? I don't want 3." was the response.........

bc0833

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #28 on: May 12, 2014, 11:43:35 PM »
I saw that last week and thought the same thing. It is clear that a large portion of the population have not been taught what quality food is by their parents or peers.  I think that this is a case where the government needs to break the cycle by educating kids from kindergarten through high school. I also think that the government needs to teach financial and sex Ed. It is clear that there is a problem and I/we are paying for it so I think it justifies an intrusion in their "upbringing" or family education.
WIC has a requirement about taking a nutrition class in many states, however, like many things the funding for that class has been cut (at least in my state).   

WIC is a great program (at least in oregon) you get a list of exactly what you are allowed to purchase with brand restrictions. Basically it is milk, eggs, wheat bread, rice, beans, tuna, fruit, vegetables and cereal (whole grain, no sugary stuff). It is what food stamps should be, instead of giving them a set amount of money an letting people buy whatever they want, which in my opinion is soda and chips and candy and processed foods.

In my state it only recently became "against the rules" to buy tobacco with food stamps, and it is 100% legal to use welfare at the casinos.  That said, I'd much rather have someone buying Gogurt with their food stamps than playing blackjack with their government check.  I'm not against welfare or food stamps, but I think more people are receiving them than actually need them.

dragoncar

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Re: Stranger Buys Groceries for Someone in "Need"
« Reply #29 on: May 13, 2014, 11:24:46 AM »
Who owns the granite countertop that the receipt is sitting on in the photo?

Doesn't look shiny enough in the photo to be granite; might be granite-printed linoleum. Also the family is renting. Sometimes you get these luxury perks when you rent a place big enough for your 5 kids, I guess.

Also, granite is cheap as hell these days and it's hard to sell used countertops on craigslist.

There's quite a bit of evidence that, if you have money and you want to use it to help people, the most effective way is often to just give it to them.

Really interesting article -- I wanted to be convinced but I remain skeptical.  I only skimmed it, but didn't see if they prescreened these homeless people for drug problems or what?  Because where I am, the vast majority of visible homeless* are either straight up mentally ill and would probably just poop on your money (and in need of actual care by the city) or drug addicts.  Most will straight up admit they need money for crack.

*of course, these are the ones you see on the street corner -- the ones you meet at the soup kitchen are different, but again how do you decide who to give money to?  Giving $3k to a crack addict is just funding drug dealers.